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Live+Work FAQ

There is no charge to register with us, as with our studios we do not operate a 'waiting list' for the LiveWork flats, instead we have a register of artists looking for space and assess each artist on suitability for the space and best fit within our active community of artists.

This is a fairly unique scheme. It will not suit everyone and we don't claim it to be a solution to every artist's housing needs. You will need to be practical, resourceful, responsible, community minded, and with enough income to afford the monthly rent and other outgoings without reliance on benefits. It is for professional artists and makers and not open to students. It is first and foremost designed to be an extension of our creative workspace provision - that is, its a place where you can live and work, not just residential accommodation.

Before applying we suggest you read carefully the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below,

Demand for places on the LiveWork scheme can be high, and registering with us does not guarantee you an offer of a place.

In order to ensure we allocate properties both fairly and appropriately we have a scoring system for all applicants.

Priority will be given to artists who:

  1. Can demonstrate that they can afford the monthly fee, without reliance on benefits.
  2. Are actively engaged in art / making as a professional practice.
  3. Are able to move quickly once offered a flat
  4. Are practical, confident, and understand that our scheme requires artists taking a responsibility for the flats.
  5. Have a studio practice that will work within the residential nature of the premises
  6. Understand and support our community aims

All successful applicants will have to be committed to supporting the arts, arts events and arts education in the local area.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I see one of the live work flats available?

Do I need to pay to register with you?

How long will I have to wait to get a live work flat?

How do you select artists for the spaces? What criteria are used to allocate the flats?

Who can have a Bow Arts live work flat?

Are students eligible to apply for the scheme?

There are questions about noisy work on the application form. What does this mean?

Can I just use the flat as a studio? Is it OK if I don’t live there?

How accessible are the live work flats?

What happens after I have viewed a live work flats and been told it can be allocated to me?

Can I pay in cash?

How secure are the live work flats?

How long can I keep the live work flat? 

What is the notice period?

How does the deposit work?

What does the monthly fee include? What doesn’t it include?

Does it include insurance?

Can I share the live work flat?

Can I sublet the live work flat?

What about Open Studios?

 

How can I see one of the live work flats available?

You need to register with us first, (see the ‘apply for LiveWork’ section ) then we can arrange for you to see the currently available and soon to be available flats.
Once you have registered we will contact you with what is available. After that you need to get in touch with us to make a viewing appointment.

Do I need to pay to register with you?

No, unlike some other publicly funded studio organisations we do not charge a fee to register with us. We do charge a small admin fee of twenty pounds when you take on a flat with us.

How long will I have to wait to get a LiveWork flat?

You need to be proactive in contacting us if you need a space. We won’t necessarily contact you each time a space becomes available – as we believe those who need a space most will be those artists who are proactive in searching.
Availability can be hard to predict and demand can be high.
Having said all that, because this scheme is short-life housing, we do find that provided you can flexible about the sort of space you take on, and are prepared and able to move quickly, we can usually house you fairly soon.

How do you select artists for the spaces? What criteria are used to allocate the studios?

In order to ensure we allocate properties both fairly and appropriately we have a scoring system for all applicants.
Priority will be given to artists who:
    1. Can demonstrate that they can afford the monthly fee
       2. Are actively engaged in art as a professional practice
       3. Are able to move quickly once offered a flat
       4. Have a studio practice that will work within the residential nature of the premises
       5. Understand and support our community aims

Full time students are not eligible to apply, the scheme is designed to support emerging professional artists and creative and cultural practitioners, to enable them to have the time and space to be more creatively active in this area. Part time MA and PHD students may be considered, on a case by case basis. See below.
For the same reason we do not house people who are relying on benefits to pay their monthly fee: the scheme is designed to support active professional artists through access to more affordable live and work space, allowing them more time to focus on the creative output – we do need to know you
can pay the monthly fee , and are sufficiently economically stable to be a positive contributor to the local community. The low monthly fee is to support artists and makers have more time to devote to their practice.
All successful applicants will have to be committed to supporting the arts, arts events and arts education in the local area.
We use the application process to ensure all those registered with us are active professional artists/ creative practitioners. We try and make sure we place artists in flats where their practice will not cause problems due to noise etc. All other things being equal, preference will be given to those who have been registered for longest.

Who can have a Bow Arts Live Work flat?

Some organisations restrict the use of their studios to ‘non commercial fine artists only’.We think this is an outmoded definition, and within our buildings we accommodate a range of practices, including painters, printmakers, photographers, performance artists, sculptors, those working in digital media, video, film, craft, applied arts, design etc.

But we generally don’t provide accommodation or studio space for musicians, or practices unrelated to visual arts.We also don’t provide LiveWork accommodation to more strictly commercially oriented individuals.

Are students eligible to apply for the scheme?

We don't allocate studios or live work studios to students. The LiveWork scheme is set up to support professional artists in the emerging stages of their careers - being a student is an important precursor to being a professional artist, but we recognise the particular support that students require both financially and otherwise, and the time constraints on them, may not be appropriate for this scheme. You are welcome to apply in the final months of your course, and then let us know when you have graduated.

There are questions about noisy work on the application form. What does this mean?

We need to know about your studio practice so we can help find you a place that will be suitable for you and others around you. The flats are in residential blocks and therefore noisy, dusty or certain other practices wouldn’t be suitable in those spaces. If your practice is noisy etc but you have a studio for this elsewhere, then of course that is not a problem.

Can I just use the flat as a studio? Is it OK if I don’t live there?

No, you have to live there. This scheme is about occupying empty flats to enliven and enrich communities, so we want and need you to be a resident, and work there.

How accessible are the flats?

All the buildings have different in terms of physical accessibility. While some have lifts, please bear in mind these are ex local authority blocks built some time ago and do not meet current standards of accessibility

What happens after I have viewed a flat and been told it can be allocated to me?

We will contact you and arrange time and date for you to come to our office to sign a licence agreement for the flat. Where time permits we will email you the agreement prior to the appointment so you have plenty of time to read the agreement before the meeting. But we will also take you through the licence agreement be able to explain the documents to you, prior to you signing.
You will need to pay a one month deposit at this stage, the initial first month (or part of month) rent, and be asked to set up a direct debit for your future payments.
Please be aware you must have a UK bank account and be able to set up a direct debit in order to take a flat.
We will also ask for some ID, passport, drivers licence etc
 

Can I pay in cash?

No, you will need to make the initial payment by cheque, card, or bank transfer. The only method we accept for regular monthly payments is by direct debit. There are no exceptions to this.

How secure are the flats?

The flats have suffered from very few burglaries over the years. The safety of the flats does differ from estate to estate - most problems are minor and around some antisocial behaviour or the sort of crime one would encounter in most inner city parts of London. We work closely with all our tenants, landlords and the local police to ensure all such incidents are reported and made aware to others. Where we feel certain flats or blocks represent too much of a crime risk to our tenants we will not take these on.

How long can I keep the flat? 

These are all short life properties and the length of time in each property varies accordingly. We regularly update occupants on the ‘decant’  timescales for each property, and will give you at least a months notice of any notice to leave. In practice you are likely to have much longer prior warning.

What is the notice period?

Under our licence agreement you are required to give 28 days notice (this must be from the 1st of the month). We are required to give you 28 days notice. For the initial six months neither party can give notice.

How does the deposit work?

The deposit is designed to protect us against the rare instances where occupants default on their rent or leave the flat in a state where it costs us money to clear it.

What does the monthly fee include? What doesn’t it include?

The monthly fee includes  management costs, service charges including water rates    
It does not include: council tax, electricity or gas costs, phone bills or other utilities you may take on.
In some flats the fee includes communal heating costs. We will tell you whether this is included or not when we view the property.

Does the monthly fee cover insurance?

No, you are responsible for your own contents insurance.

Can I share the Live Work flat?

As with our studios, we are happy for artists to share spaces to keep costs down. This must be done through by Bow Arts by formal agreement with us though – we do not permit adhoc sharing, even for short periods.
Let us know when you apply if you wish to share the studio, all artists wishing to share must be registered with us, it helps if you indicate when applying that you want to be together.
You will be placed on a joint agreement, and each be jointly and solely liable for all the terms and costs. If one of you leaves you must both give notice, and we can then discuss whether the remaining individual wishes to stay on under a new agreement or not.

Can I sublet the studio?

We don’t allow artists to sublet the flats under our agreements .
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What about Open Studios?

We run an extremely successful and popular Open Studios programme. We support this actively in all our studio sites.
As the flats are in situations where it is not practical to have visitors coming in to see your work in the scale that Open Studios would need, we make where we can other arrangements to support our Live Work artists in participating in Open Studios. I past years we have supported a group exhibition in Mile End Pavilion, and with artists will be looking at other initiatives for future years.