Crowdfunding success for The Sustainable Studio

Profile picture for user Kayleigh Mcleod

Posted by: Kayleigh Mcleod

Date: 4 May 2017

The Sustainable Studio has succeeded in raising more than £10,000 to turn the second floor of their co-working Cardiff warehouse into a community space.

Sisters Julia Harris and Sarah Valentin opened the hub in the summer of 2016 following months of renovation of the former munitions factory on Dumballs Road. Since then, The Sustainable Studio has gone from strength to strength; becoming a workspace for almost 20 small businesses and freelancers as well as hosting creative activities, workshops and classes including Trade School Cardiff.

The demand co-working spaces in Cardiff has been on the increase for a number of years now and as a result we have seen the development of a several hubs and co-working spaces across the city. We have explored these developments in our Guide to Hubs resource, the Creative Cardiff Hub Crawl, our space-themed Show & Tell (which featured The Sustainable Studio) and the Creative Cardiff pop-up hub at Wales Millennium Centre.

It was this demand led Julia and Sarah to realise that the arts and makers’ community was lacking inspirational and inclusive space to work, so they embarked upon Phase 2 of their vision - to transform the existing top floor in to a community events space for dance, theatre, music, workshops and exhibitions.

Work would involve making the exit routes and building safe, fit a new fire alarm system, new electrics and plumb toilets. They launched their Crowdfunder on 1 April with a target of £10,000.


The Sustainable Studio community events space from The Sustainable Studio on Vimeo.

In their story, they said: Cardiff is a cultural city, small enough to make strong relationships and big enough to make a difference for the next generation of creative makers and thinkers! It will be impossible without you. With you, it could be incredible!”

And, with incredible backing on 29 April The Sustainable Studio hit their target – raising £10,272 in just 28 days with the help of 120 supporters. Here's how they celebrated: 

Speaking about reaching their target, Julia and Sarah said:

"We are ecstatic and humbled with the support and reaction we've had, not just during the Crowdfunder but over the last year. We've had so many incredible people come on board and believe in our vision, it's exceeded all expectation and it's been an exciting journey. All the work we've done all over the years in the area it'll be great to expand our space and give something back to the community and young people. 

"We want to keep building links with the education sector, including local colleges and graduates and it’s our passion to give them a platform to start their creative enterprise and business. Our studio is in a diverse community and we want to encourage people who would never normally engage with the arts to come and visit us, we believe our space can break down barriers. We plan to have more open days in June and more studios upstairs in July so please visit our website if you're interested.

"We'd like to invite networks we already have in Butetown and Grangetown to visit us and get different artists and creatives from different backgrounds and cultures to use the space and collaborate with us." 

The newly opened space is currently hosting a Diffusion exhibition and upcoming events include a University of South Wales photography graduate exhibition. There will be more open days in June and more studio space from July. 

This month, the Creative Economy team will continue their work in and around hubs and co-working spaces by leading a new project. Titled Networking Creative Hubs in the Cardiff Capital Region, this project seeks to add value to existing partnerships, and to create new ones, by networking creative hubs – co-working spaces for small companies and freelancers – from across the Cardiff Capital Region.

The project will connect creatives, entrepreneurs and digital innovators to share best practice, and provide peer support. The networking creative hubs project will be an opportunity for those already working in hubs to connect with others and establish new partnerships. For more information, contact Dr Johann Gregory.