A survey will be carried out every six months to monitor the progress of Eastleigh’s newest creative industries hub The Sorting Office.
Converted from the town’s 1920s former Royal Mail sorting office this new creative workspace has been specially adapted to support arts and creative businesses and is home to 16 talented artists and designer-makers. The new survey will monitor the impacts of this new facility which is the latest addition to Eastleigh’s growing portfolio of creative industries hubs.
The building was officially launched on Friday 10th May 2013 by the internationally acclaimed British designer Wayne Hemingway MBE.
The Sorting Office is part of Recreate, a €2million cross-Channel economic regeneration and development programme backed by the European funding agency Interreg which aims to nurture and grow creative businesses. Recreate is made up of 16 French and English partners, one of which is Eastleigh Borough Council, which received £120,000 from the fund as well as £79,426 funding from Arts Council England and last year received £150,000 from the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) to convert the building.
The new residents at The Sorting Office will receive specialist business development advice and support and include a children’s illustrator, textile artists, costumiers, a leather accessories designer and a stained glass and mixed media artist. The first survey of the residents was completed in July 2013 and a follow up survey will take place every six months over the next two years. All of the residents have now completed the first questionnaire which asked them for information about their creative work, their reasons for applying for a studio space and their business development goals for the future.
This research is part of a PhD programme at the University of Winchester to investigate local initiatives and public sector interventions to boost the creative economy of South Hampshire. Eastleigh Borough Council provide funding and support to researcher Paul Spencer as part of a residency with the local authority.
The initial findings from this research will be released after the first follow-up survey which will be completed in January 2014. The final transcript for the PhD programme, which will also include findings from case study research in Portsmouth and Southampton, is expected to be completed in 2016.