Creative Works’ Justyna Michalik-Minken speaks at Urban Design London Young Practitioners Network

The event took place at Karakusevic Carson Architects offices, situated in the Biscuit Factory – a former factory that used to be one of the largest employers in South East London.

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The Creative Works team had a fantastic time at the Urban Design London Young Practitioners Network event earlier this month, where nine industry experts took to the stage to talk about how the workplace has evolved and what it might look like in the future.

Among the esteemed list of speakers was our very own Justyna Michalik-Minken, Head of Operations and Communications at Creative Works.

The event took place at Karakusevic Carson Architects offices, situated in the Biscuit Factory – a former factory that used to be one of the largest employers in South East London.

Like Creative Works (which began its life as a factory for the WW1 Gnome Engine), the Biscuit Factory has been transformed into a open-plan workspace fit for the 21st Century.

…It was interesting to find out that we were sitting in what was once the factory oven and packing space!

Other speakers included Clare Bailey, Associate Director at Savills, Ben Channon, Associate & Mental Wellbeing Ambassador at Assael Architecture and Jacqueline Bleicher, Founder at Global Urban Design.

Justyna Michalik-Minken speaking about how Creative Works is enabling local businesses to grow.

Let’s take a look at some of the evening’s main topics of discussion:

Principles of inclusivity 

The event kicked off with a conversation around the responsibility of decision makers and developers to invest and build areas that are in need of infrastructure improvements, and how it’s vital that these spaces are both accessible and inclusive.

Ignoring inclusivity in workspace planning and design can result in the creation of social vacuums that cater to a narrow demographic — spaces that the local community can’t access or feel excluded from.

In her talk, Justyna spoke about the many things Creative Works is doing to promote access and inclusivity in the community, including:

  • Apprenticeship opportunities for local young people through local training and skills provider, Big Creative Education.
  • Inviting the community into the space through projects like the E17 Art Trail and networking events that are open to non-members.
  • Flexible rental agreements that enable lower-turnover businesses to access the space without having to pay for a full-time desk membership.

 

Creating a community

The concept of the coworking space as a microcosmic community isn’t new. Societal structures have shifted in a such a way that people are seeking community in other contexts, such as the workplace.

 Justyna explored how ‘Community’ is one of the key pillars of Creative Works’ philosophy. Rather than just providing a physical space in which to work, her aim is to enable members to forge meaningful relationships within the space.

This is facilitated through a calendar of social events such as yoga Mondays and film nights, and also through useful business networking sessions. The open plan design of the coworking space has also enabled a community to grow organically.

Bolstering local economies

Another topic for discussion centred around how workspaces can encourage circular economy. As Justyna explained in her talk, Creative Works is on a mission to forge and grow relationships with local businesses.

One way it does this is by running free talent incubator workshops for local businesses in practical matters like accounting as well as more specialised digital subjects like VFX.

Members also have the opportunity to work with digital creative apprentices from Big Creative Education (BCE) in an initiative designed to help local young people into the creative industries. Wherever and whenever possible, the spaces uses local suppliers.

Local coffee shop, Wood St Coffee, keeps members running on full.

Other examples of circular-economy spaces in London include:

Pop Brixton

A temporary community initiative delivered in partnership with Lambeth Council that has turned disused land into a creative space for local, independent businesses. It accommodates a number of startups working in food, retail, design and social enterprise.

Peckham Levels

Another temporary project designed to provide affordable and inspiring workspace for independent businesses, artists and local entrepreneurs. The previously underused space sits inside the town centre car park and is designed to connect members with the community.

Mountview Academy

This is a pioneering initiative that merges workspace with education. As well as containing space for performing arts businesses, Mountview acts primarily as a performing arts school and a community space for people in Peckham and the surrounding areas.

 

Wellbeing in the workspace

According to one of the speakers, businesses lose £40 billion per year due to poor wellbeing, so the fact that this remains a hot topic for discussion and debate is no surprise.

Coworking spaces like Creative Works are doing their bit to encourage better employee wellbeing. Our large windows, ergonomic furniture, quiet breakout areas and eye-friendly lighting are just a handful of design details intended to promote wellbeing.

We look forward to attending future Urban Design London events!

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Find Us

Only a minute walk from Blackhorse Road station and 13 minutes from King's Cross with the Victoria Line. There are plenty of buses and overground too. Check out the map and connections

Creative Works, Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow E17 6DS

Find Us

Only a minute walk from Blackhorse Road station and 13 minutes from King's Cross with the Victoria Line. There are plenty of buses and overground too. Check out the map and connections

Creative Works, Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow E17 6DS




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