Sarabande Is Taking Over Tottenham

by Joshua Graham on 2 August 2022

We toured Sarabande High Road and spoke to two alumni about how the foundation continues to foster emerging talent.

We toured Sarabande High Road and spoke to two alumni about how the foundation continues to foster emerging talent.

Since the Sarabande Foundation first opened its doors in 2015 the program has mentored more than 130 creatives providing not only subsidised studio space but also business and practical advice. Among the esteemed alumni include Craig Green and Bianca Saunders, and artists like Michaela Stark and Daisy May Collingridge. With the artists-in-residence becoming a who's-who of London's emerging artists and designers it's no wonder that expansion would be on the horizon. While the Hertford Road studios in Haggerston continue to operate as the foundation’s headquarters, come October two Grade II listed buildings will open their doors for 15 new artists to call home.

‘Tottenham is recognised as an economically deprived area, but one field where it is flourishing is within the creative industries,' explains Founding trustee of the Sarabande Foundation Trino Verkade. Sarabande High Road will be a big part of creating a new cultural hub.’

Sarabande High Road © Sarabande Foundation

Last week we toured the converted townhouses, which were revealed to only be a temporary location. For three years the space will function as studios for a new batch of creatives while a permanent home just down the road, at 808 High Road, is being restored and converted into studios. More than just a working space, the building will be a creative destination that will host exhibitions, workshops, events, as well as inspirational and practical talks from some of the art and fashion industries leading voices. The expansion and future plans highlight the foundation's continued growth and support for London’s ever-growing creative industries.

As the space continues to be renovated, two studios were currently being occupied by Sarabande alumni to demonstrate how the four-story building will be shared among artists. In preparation for a star-studded soiree later that evening, Irish visual artist Camilla Hanney was working on a site-specific installation by sifting bone ash over handmade stencils. A mandala of sorts, the completed work was made to be destroyed as party-goers explore the new studios. ‘It’s a way of seeing ceramics condensed into something flat’, the artist explains.

Bone dust rug by Camilla Hanney © Sarabande Foundation

When asked about how being a Sarabande artist has benefitted her practice Hanney explains, ‘I had just completed my degrees so it gave me that springboard to meet people in the art world, connect with collectors, and have constant mentoring while also being able to exhibit in the space. It’s been amazing.’

Sarabande was founded by the late designer Lee Alexander McQueen in 2006, but that doesn't mean the charitable endeavour is only championing design talent. ‘The really nice thing about Sarabande is the diversity,' Hanney states. ‘I’ve been through a lot of different studios, but Sarabande is unique because it takes in artists, fashion designers, shoemakers, and animators. There are people that you can always learn from, and there's definitely room for cross-pollination and collaboration.’

Daisy May Collingridge © Sarabande Foundation

In an adjacent studio is textile artist Daisy May Collingridge whose fleshy creations sit aptly among the candy-coloured walls showcasing the possibilities of personal expression each artist can have in the space. Collingridge echoes her fellow artist's sentiments on the collaborative nature of Sarabande. ‘There's an energy about it when you’re working among other people. Especially when everyone is doing different practices, but you realise there are a lot of similarities.’ In truth, it's difficult not to imagine continuous collaboration in the new building that has a homely quality to it. ‘If you’re a bit stuck you can chat an idea through because their practice is slightly different, they can help you think of something you haven't thought of,' says Collingridge.

Sarabande High Road © Sarabande Foundation.

With the cost of studio space in London continuing to rise, subsidised rates for the artists might be the primary allure of the foundation's support, but it isn’t the most important. Both Hanney and Collingridge mention how mentoring from Trino and the Sarabande team has pushed their practices both artistically and practically. ‘They’ve pushed the performance side of my work which has been interesting and challenging,’ says Collingridge who previously travelled to New York to perform in her other-worldly suits, as well as collaborating with another artist-in-residence on creating a film. 'She's an animator, so a very different practice to what I do, but our worlds collide. Sarabande helped us get funding for the film.' she recalls.

When the doors open this autumn, Sarabande will expand its number of studios to 30 providing twice as much support to young creatives. For emerging artists looking to join the artist-in-residence program at Sarabande High Road or Haggerston, you can apply now at



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