The Big Smoke is rife with creative talent, but what happens when they're priced out and can't afford to live there?
Well, according to a new initiative, they can move here, become inspired by the cultural hub of Stoke-on-Trent, and continue their creative projects, enjoying the benefits of new local developments, an accommodating atmosphere and an affordable cost of living.
The project has involved transforming an arts centre in London's trendy Stoke Newington into an estate agents to promote a host of Stoke-on-Trent-based properties.
Anna Francis director of Hanley's Airspace Gallery and Fine Art course leader at Staffordshire University is the driving force behind the project; speaking to The Sentinel, she had this to say about the initiative…
“This initiative is designed to begin a conversation around what happens to London if the creative workers and artists can no longer afford to live there and what this means for the places that these artists begin to move to. Stoke-on-Trent is a Midlands city with abundant empty spaces and vacant properties, with relatively low sale and rental values.
The project advocates relocation to Stoke-on-Trent to achieve a better quality of life and aims to change the way that the city is viewed. There is a huge amount of creativity and culture in the area, and we want to showcase it as a viable, vibrant place to live."
The project is called Estate Agency, and it's picking up momentum. In fact, it's now being backed by the Arts Council as well as a research support grant from the University – and of course, it's tied in with Stoke-on-Trent's bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.
So far, there is a broad range of arty types from Stoke Newington (the Stokey of the south) who’ve commited coming up to look at homes or art spaces in the area with a view to commute or permanently relocate to the area. Exciting times indeed.
There’s no doubt about it, Stoke is on the up and as more people see the value of living and working in the area, the area will only go from strength to strength. Tired of the housing market in London and the South East and it’s jaw-dropping price tag? Perhaps it’s time to head northbound.