Turner Works

Related Project:

Tim Crocker

1. Is it possible for a performing arts college to be based on a truly sustainable business model?

This question really got us scratching our heads and asking questions. We drew on everything we’d learnt at Pop Brixton and Peckham Levels. We stopped thinking of Mountview as an institution and started thinking of it as a start-up space. That’s why it’s included here, among these more temporary transformations.

2. Often, it’s by putting together unlikely combinations – here, a performing arts college with our intimate knowledge of start-up spaces – that you get a flash of inspiration.

The students – just like fledgling businesses, entrepreneurs and creatives – are ‘start-ups’. They are at the very beginning of their careers, and this is their launch pad. But there are parallels in other ways, too. Mountview opens its arms to the community, and professional actors, performers and broadcasters have a very good reason to come here too. We knew there was a lack of professional rehearsal space in Southwark and the West End, and the college plugs that gap with a West End stage-sized rehearsal facility, TV studios, recording studios and other facilities for hire. Mountview is most definitely open for business.

3. Even if the idea of making space for ‘commerce’ doesn’t immediately sit well with you, think about how it might help drive what you’re trying to achieve.

Most cultural and educational institutions look in upon themselves, but Mountview breaks the mould. The rewards are obviously financial – the revenue from ‘extra-curricular’ activities brings down the capital costs of the build – but also educational and professional. If young people in the area get a glimpse into the performing arts, it could show them other possible futures. And, for Mountview’s current students, the connections they make here could lead them on to bigger and better things. Breaking the mould, as we’ve learnt, is almost always a good thing for everyone involved. And it opens a lot of doors.

4. What about for us, then?

We enjoyed rising to the challenge – of the tight budget, the punishing timescale, and everyone’s expectations – and focusing our minds on what really mattered. And it’s opening doors for us, too.

Something to think about:

Are there things you’ve learnt in one sector that you could put to good use in another? If you’re worried something seems far-fetched but you’re tempted to go for it, feel free to run it by us.