Please read our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information on applying, and using the studios.
Step 1: You will first need to complete our application form. After that, we will review your application. If approved, you will be added onto our mailing list. We send regular newsletters detailing our available spaces, where you can also book an online interview. If your application is not approved, we will contact you to inform you of this or ask for further details. We aim to respond to all applications within ten working days.
Step 2: Next please book an online interview via our regular newsletter. The online interview helps us assess the suitability of the studio for your practice. We will also provide further details of the studio.
Step 3: If suitable, we will invite you to a one-to-one viewing.
No, we do not charge a fee to register with us. We charge an admin fee (between £20 & £30 depending on the site) when you sign the licence agreement to take on a studio with us.
Availability can be hard to predict, and demand is generally high. You need to be proactive in contacting us if you need a space. If you can be flexible about location, size, and sort of space you are willing to take on you will find a space sooner.
We use the application process to ensure all those registered with us are active professional artists, designers and makers. We try to place artists in spaces where their practice will complement those around them and not cause problems due to noise, etc. All other things being equal, preference will be given to those registered with us for longest. Still, there may well be further individual criteria for different sites. Artists currently with a Bow Arts studio licence who wish to move to another space within our buildings may be given preference.
Within our studios, we accommodate various studio practices from artists, designers and makers. These include painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, filmmakers, fashion designers, theatre designers, graphic designers and more!
We charge a different (but still affordable) licence fee to individuals or organisations operating on a more commercial basis, for example, limited companies or those employing staff.
We need to know about your studio practice to help find you a place that will be suitable for you and others around you. Some of the studios are semi-open plan, therefore, practices that are noisy, dusty or cause fumes, wouldn't be suitable in those spaces.
Unfortunately, we do not allow kilns in our studios as they go against our health & safety policy and risk assessments. Please find further details on our Health & Safety rules.
Any use of the studios for sleeping or residential use is strictly forbidden. There are clear health and safety reasons for this. Please see our 'Low-Cost Accommodation' section if you need a place to live in.
All our buildings are different in terms of physical accessibility. A number of our studios are accessible. These are Canada Street Studios (ground floor only), IceHouse Court, Lakeside Centre, P1 Studios, RAW Studios (ground floor only). These are the sites with studios which are accessible for wheelchair users. However, some of our other studios are situated in very old buildings which are unfortunately not viable to be adapted for full accessibility.
If you are the best fit for the studio space, we will send you a studio offer with a seven-day holding period to complete the signing. The signing will be online via Microsoft Teams. We will take you through the license agreement and explain it to you during the signing.
At this stage, you will need to pay a two-month deposit, key deposit, initial first monthly fees and admin fee (between £20 & £30 depending on the site). You will be asked to set up a direct debit for your future payments via our online artist platform. Please be aware you must have a UK bank account and set up a direct debit to take a studio with us. We will also ask for some ID, passport, drivers license, etc.
No, you will need to make the initial payment by card payment. The only method we accept for regular monthly payments is by direct debit. There are no exceptions to this.
We carry out regular health and safety checks at each of our studio sites. These inform our Fire Risk Assessments and General Risk Assessments for each of our buildings. Our studio occupants' safety is something we take very seriously. You will be asked to complete a short assessment so we can see that your practice will fit safely into our sites. There is a health & safety code of practice which all artists must abide by and we conduct regular checks to ensure these rules are being followed. We will induct you into each site, so you are aware of all emergency procedures. Our sites have suffered from very few break-ins over the years. The studios' security does rely mainly on our occupants' vigilance and cooperation in ensuring doors and windows are securely locked.
We cannot guarantee a period longer than our leases. These vary for each site. We also conduct annual reviews of how every studio is being used to ensure best use is made of our spaces. There is no set maximum time we restrict you to, provided you are complying with the terms of the agreement with us, and our annual review is satisfactory.
The minimum license period is 3 months from signing, then you must give 2 calendar months' notice (this must be from the 1st of the month).
We use licences rather than leases for our agreements with artists. This offers both you and us more flexibility and keeps the administration costs down, a saving which we can pass onto you. Under the tenancy, you pay rent, under a licence you pay a fee, in return for which we licence you to use a space in the building, under the terms set out in the licence agreement.
The monthly charges are made of the Licence Fees, Donations and Utility fees. There will never be any hidden costs that we haven't told you about and all fees will be made clear at viewings.
We use licences rather than tenancies for our agreements with artists. This offers both you and us more flexibility and keeps the administration costs down, a saving which we can pass onto you. Under a tenancy, you pay rent, under a licence you pay a fee, in return for which we licence you to use a space in the building, under the terms set out in the licence agreement.
The licence fee includes all our management costs, including business rates. It does not usually include electricity or gas heating. There are different arrangements for recharging utilities (electric, gas,) at different sites. There will never be any hidden costs that we haven’t told you about and all the costs will be made clear at the viewing.
Bow Arts cover the public liability insurance for all its studio sites. Licence holders are responsible for their own contents cover insurance - which we recommend you have to cover equipment and your work. It is an expense you may be able to reclaim as a business cost but please double-check with your provider. Bow Arts takes no liability for loss or damage of studio holders' possessions. If you employ assistants or use volunteers or students to assist you in your studio, you are responsible for arranging Employers Liability Insurance, and we may ask for evidence of this.
The donation is the contribution studio members make towards the Bow Arts model as part of their monthly fees. The donation goes towards the work we do for public benefit such as in Arts Education and opportunities for our artists to get paid work. Our public benefit work qualifies our organisation for charitable status and some of the benefits of this are we able to provide affordable workspaces for our artists and opportunities for them to find paid work. More information about the Bow Arts model can be found here.
- Canada Street Studios have central heating and air-conditioning.
- Catford Dek Studios have central heating.
- P1 Studios each studio is fitted with electric heaters which are paid for through the individually metered bill.
- Old Manor Park Library has central heating to most but not all areas
- Leegate Studios have central heating.
- RAW Studios have central heating and air-conditioning.
- Lakeside Centre Studios have central heated.
- All other sites are unheated, and you will need to supply your own PAT tested electric heater with no exposed heating elements. For more information on this please see our Health & Safety rules.
It is possible to hold workshops and events in your studio, but before announcing or holding the event you will first need to gain written permission from Bow Arts. To assess the suitability of the event, we would typically ask that you provide us with an event brief, a risk assessment, and proof that you have the relevant insurance cover (e.g., Public liabilities insurance) to safely hold the event. No event or workshop can go ahead without our written permission. Please speak to your building manager for further details.
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 ad-hoc 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. We can easily add another artist to a new licence agreement at a later date too, so please contact us should your circumstances change and you wish to share (or vice versa).
All sublets must be done formally through Bow Arts. If you need to take a break from the space for a fixed period, i.e., 6 months, you will need to find the prospective sublessee who will need to register and be approved by us. Please get in touch with your building manager if this is something you would like to explore. Please note this isn’t common practice in our studios but we do consider potential sublets in exceptional circumstances.
We run an extremely successful and popular Open Studios programme. Where staffing capacities permit, we hold annual open studios. It is a requirement of the licence agreement that each artist must participate in the Open Studios. We are keen to hear from our studio occupants what they'd like to see happen at each site and how we might support it. We send regular mail out of other opportunities such as our annual Bow Open exhibition, and career & skills development workshops (Bow Skills).