Fundraiser to create art and recording studios for young people in Cliftonville

Arts Education Exchange wants to open a creative school

A crowdfunding campaign is being launched at 2pm today (April 19) in a bid to convert a disused property in Cliftonville into a creative school for disadvantaged young people.

The campaign, which has a target of £37,634, aims to convert a Cumberland Road house into a fully equipped recording studio, three multi-purpose art studios, a video editing suite, a lounge/meeting space and two offices. There will also be a project/exhibition space.

The campaign is being led by Arts Education Exchange CIC, founded in 2017 by photography, art and design teacher Ollie Briggs.

Ollie (pictured) has already worked on arts programmes with Turner Contemporary, University for the Creative Arts, local schools and youth centres as well as commissioning various artists to run workshops with young people. He has been teaching in secondary schools for the past six years.

He said: “Cliftonville West has the highest level of child poverty in Kent and the South East, equating to more than 52% of under 18s living in poverty. Located in the heart of this area, xChange Studios will be a community space offering a range of creative education programmes for young people.

“Despite such high levels of deprivation, Margate is currently undergoing a cultural revolution with an influx of new residents and businesses, many relating to the creative industries. XChange Studios will facilitate a cultural and educational exchange between these two worlds and actively tackle the lack of opportunity for young people in the area.”

The campaign is being supported by Turner Contemporary, Dreamland and local businesses. If the target is reached the studio will specialise in education through visual arts, music and lens-based media by working directly with industry professionals. The new design includes a fully equipped recording studio, three multi-purpose art studios, a video editing suite, a lounge/meeting space and two offices.

Plans to establish an in-house record company to provide a platform for young people to gain skills and opportunities to access the music industry, as well as a specific job training scheme are underway with Margate-based  Moshi Moshi Records.

It is hoped the project will provide skills, training and employment and increase access to the arts. It is aimed at youngsters aged 13 to 25.

Rebecca Ellis, Senior Creative Producer at Dreamland, said: This is a great initiative and will provide exciting opportunities for young people in Thanet. We are looking forward to working with Arts Education Exchange to deliver their creative education projects’.”

Hartsdown Academy is one of the schools which has previously worked with ArtsEdX. The project is being backed by academy head teacher Matthew Tate, who said: “The collaboration with ArtsEdX has been extremely successful. We sent some of our most disengaged students to the project and saw an increase in engagement in lessons and a corresponding decrease in poor behaviour.

“We also had positive feedback from parents who saw the difference in their children. I am looking forward to further collaboration.”

The redesign of the property is to be drawn up by architects Studio Octopi. Chris Romer-Lee and his business partner James Lowe, founded Studio Octopi in 2003.

The practice works across many sectors, including the arts, schools, leisure, commercial and private residential.

In 2014, the directors established Thames Baths Community Interest Company to deliver London’s first floating lido since 1875. In 2014 the practice completed the refurbishment and extension of London based artist residency Delfina Foundation. In June 2018 the practice’s much anticipated collaboration with Turner Prize winning artist Mark Wallinger opens on the National Trust’s Runnymede estate.

The fundraiser runs from 2pm today until July 19. The top ten donors will be added to a plaque to be displayed in the building.

Find the donation page and video about the project from 2pm at

What will the cash be spent on?

Recording studio £10,000

Lighting £4,000

Decorating £2,500

Furnishings £2,000

External landscaping £1,000

Flooring £5,500

Contingency £2,500

Architects £2,000

Administrators £1,500

Concept design £800

Other (fees) £5,833