The district of Kensington is located in west central London within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Regarded as an affluent district, it is home to several highly-regarded performance venues including; the Royal Albert Hall, Earls Court, and the Royal College of Music, highlighting strong links with the cultural and creative industries.
The cultural and creative industries are clearly entwined in the DNA of Kensington – this is evidenced by the holding of the annual Creative Quarter event in the district. In 2016, it will take place on Friday 18th November – it is a day of free events offering 13-19 year old students the chance to explore work in the creative and cultural industries. Several events are organised by the aforementioned institutions as well as many others that are clustered within the district. There will also be other events hosted by a range of guests including; the organisers of Glastonbury festival and make-up artists from West-End musicals, amongst many others.
The Royal Albert Hall is located in South Kensington and opened in 1941, it hosts the Proms annually as well as up to 400 other concerts from a range of genres.
Earls Court opened in the 1880s and was refurbished to its more familiar art-deco styling in 1937. It is an exhibition centre hosting diverse events ranging from Crufts to the Brit Awards, was a venue for certain sporting events during the 2012 London Olympics, and is also a music venue that has hosted performers ranging from David Bowie to Oasis.
This study will examine the health of the creative and cultural industries within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, any changes in direction and any new developments or pivots. It will also study the support framework and toolkits available to both existing and new companies looking to be a part of the CCI sector within the borough. It will look at the existence of creative co-working hubs such as Kensington Creates and other forms of flexible workspace such as that found on Kensington High Street such as that at No. 239, opposite Holland Park. For more information on locating property in the regions, take a look at The Kensington Office Providers website here. There will be continued research into grants and funding available as well as scholarships to assist with tuition in the borough. It will also examine the current and future economics of the CCI sector in the borough.
The Royal College of Music provides education and training at all levels up to doctorate level in all areas of Western Art including performance, composition, music theory as well as history. The college also undertakes research, with a particular strength in performance practice and performance science. The Royal College of Music is located directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall on Prince Consort road in an area known colloquially as ‘Albertopolis’ – an area centred on Exhibition Road and named after Prince Albert – it is home to a large number of both educational and cultural intuitions, and is split in governance between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and the City of Westminster.
The Royal College of Music has three performance venues, the largest of which being the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall – a 468-seat hall that was built in 1901 and extensively restored in 2009.
A more recent addition to Kensington’s cultural institutions will be the Design Museum. The original museum was opened in 1989 on the banks of the River Thames close to Tower Bridge. Thanks to a £17.5 million donation by Sir Terence Conran, the museum will move from Tower Bridge to a purpose-built building on Kensington’s High Street – this is due to happen in November of 2016. The museum will display pieces including the first laptop and the AK47, amongst many others – it is hoped to attract up to 600,000 visitors per year.
Although far from Fleet Street, Kensington also has strong links with the newspaper sector – Northcliffe House on Derry Street, is the headquarters of several newspapers including; The Independent, I, and others.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has commissioned several reports onto the creative and cultural sectors within the borough, the most recent being the 2012, ‘Cultural Placemaking in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’ produced in partnership with BOP Consulting and Future City. The report discusses the borough as a whole which incorporates other major cultural events including the Notting Hill Carnival and the Chelsea Flower Show, amongst others.
It highlights the many creative businesses located within the borough including; Monsoon and Cath Kidston from the world of fashion; Granta Books from journalism and publishing; and EMI,
Sony and Universal Music representing the music and entertainment industry. The full report can be found here