Launch of Collective

May 1, 2013

Launch of Collective initiative: Industry leaders, Camden Council and Mayor of London back Camden Town as hub of UK’s creative economy

The Mayor of London has joined Camden Council and industry leaders in backing a major development initiative that will position Camden Town as the hub of the UK’s Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) helping to create jobs in the local area.

The project will draw on Camden’s high concentration of CCI businesses and rich cultural heritage to establish the central London location as a focal point for the nation’s creative economy.

The initiative will comprise the development of an integrated network of bespoke-designed creative business start-up incubators, a progressive CCI sector career development scheme and a unique programme of ‘test trading’ pop up retail opportunities.

Camden’s Collective project will be supported by a £1.77 million streetscape redevelopment project focusing on Camden High Street.

The Collective project is funded by the Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund (MRF), Camden Council and businesses in Camden through Camden Town Unlimited, the local business representative body, and will be delivered by a team at CTU.

London is teeming with talented people with the potential to grow successful businesses and Camden is home to one of the city’s most creative, dynamic communities. I have pledged over £2million to support innovative regeneration projects in the area such as Collective. This is an impressive initiative which is set to become a crucible of cultural entrepreneurism offering practical support for ambitious Londoners.’

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London

Camden Council is delighted to be a leading funder and partner of Collective in Camden Town. One of our key priorities is to create an entrepreneurial environment that develops new business opportunities for local firms and improves access to jobs and training for local residents. This is exactly what Collective is doing in Camden Town, providing the platform to turn ideas into new businesses and launch careers in the cultural and creative industries.’

 Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council

Creative Camden

‘By the end of 2013, the CCI sector is expected to employ 1.3 million people, likely to be more than the financial sector and is expected to contribute as much as £85 billion to UK value added.’

- National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts 

The Borough of Camden is the UK’s most significant hub for the Cultural and Creative industries. 3,700 CCIs in Camden provide over 40,600 direct employment opportunities, with a further 23,300 creative or cultural sector jobs providing a total CCI workforce in excess of 60,000.

CCI businesses in Camden have an estimated gross turnover of between £995 and £1,166 million.

The borough is home to the head offices of major creative businesses in the fields of Digital (Google), Publishing (Macmillan, HBauer, Guardian Group), Fashion (Hugo Boss, French Connection, ASOS), Design (Conran Design, Arup), Broadcast (MTV Europe, Associated Press Television News), Advertising (CBS Outdoor), Music (Emap) and the Visual Arts (Getty Images).

The Collective Project: Delivering a creative vision

The Collective initiative will develop Camden Town as a hothouse of creative industry talent, contributing to the wider economic regeneration and creative reputation of the area.

The project is unique in the way it weaves together sector-specific professional training, start-up incubation, commercial testing and public realm regeneration into an integrated CCI development programme.

The ambitious Collective scheme will work in partnership with Camden’s sector-leading CCI businesses to attract the brightest new creative talent and nurture the next generation of CCI entrepreneurs and start-ups in order to affirm Camden Town’s position at the heart of the UK’s creative economy.

The Creative project is built around three key elements, Collective Hubs, Collective Pop Ups and Collective Fellowships.

COLLECTIVE HUBS: A network of high-specification, intelligently designed CCI business incubators hothousing the very best of the UK’s creative talent.

The flagship Collective Hub comprises 3,000 square feet of versatile office and event space for up to 50 individuals.

Open 24/7 and rent and rates free, it offers new CCI businesses the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment where they can build contact networks, share knowledge and nurture new talent.

The award-winning ‘wireless and wall-less’ design by Dexter Moren Associates focuses on flexibility, with moveable internal structures enabling the space to be reconfigured into a open plan office, a meeting room, a studio and a catwalk in the same day.

Two further Collective Hubs will be developed in Camden Town throughout 2013, providing up to 7000 square foot of additional flexible and affordable workspace.

Hub stats: 27 start-ups supported – 130% growth rate in employment – 309% average turnover growth – 11 month average tenancy

Hub story: Hub tenant Ashley Mark Hovelle launched his fashion line AMH at the Collective hub, and his collection is now sold through major UK retailers including ASOS and Top Man, with international distribution in Germany, Denmark and Japan.

‘The essential nature and benefit of the Collective space is that it gives start-up entrepreneurs a great base to work from. Ultimately it enables me to showcase my clothing in a cool yet professional environment to current and potential customers, whilst enabling me to have staff working with me at an office, keep overheads down and network with fellow Collective members to help bounce ideas off one another.’

- Ashley Marc Hovelle, Creative Director, AMH

‘We believe that traditional office space has not adapted to the realities of the new creative office requirements and we want to provide an office environment which actively fosters the growth of young creative businesses through collaboration.’

Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited

COLLECTIVE POP UPS: A unique programme of ‘test trading’ retail and promotion opportunities for Camden’s CCI entrepreneurs.

Camden’s Collective Pop Up programme is the only one of its kind currently operating in a UK Business Improvement District.

Working with the Conran Design Group, a number of low-quality retail units on Camden High Street will be acquired, refurbished and repurposed to enable a diverse portfolio of CCI entrepreneurs to deliver a rolling programme of ‘test trading’ retail  opportunities.

The Collective Pop Up units will also serve as as street-level exhibition space for a broad range of cultural events and visual art installations.

The scheme will nurture local enterprise by providing Collective Hub tenants, Camden residents and creative sector students access to shop front space to test business ideas, market their products and develop customer networks.

Reframing the potential of these redundant spaces as vibrant, flexible retail developments will enhance the commercial value of the units and the surrounding area whilst providing valuable commercial opportunities to the fledgling creative sector businesses that they support.

Ultimately the Collective Pop Up units will be returned to the market for sale, with leases prioritised for high-quality retailers, thereby creating a sustainable economic future for Camden Town. 

COLLECTIVE FELLOWSHIPS: The UK’s best young creatives training alongside Camden’s sector-leading CCI businesses.

‘The Fellowship scheme is just what is needed to help support young people during these challenging economic times. It also brings huge benefit to businesses in Camden by matching talented individuals to creative roles.’

- David Lynn, Managing Director, Viacom International

The Collective Fellowship is a dynamic professional development programme that brings together the brightest creative talent with the best creative businesses. Dedicated ‘creativity brokers’ scout the most promising creative sector entrepreneurs to work within Camden’s established CCI businesses. The Collective Fellows are able to develop their skills, contacts, knowledge and experience within a professional CCI environment, while the participating businesses are able to identify and nurture the next generation of creative talent.

The Fellowship programme’s paid, short-term contracts have been specifically designed to replicate the ‘portfolio’ career path of the CCI sector and help Collective Fellows kick-start their creative careers.

‘The Collective Fellowship programme has been specifically designed to enable London’s brightest creative talent to develop new businesses and access work opportunities within Camden’s CCI companies. It is a direct response to growing youth unemployment and the widespread use of unpaid interns within the CCI sector. We feel it fills a gap where no fit-for-purpose model currently exists to support talented young people coming into the job market and looking for positions within the creative sector.’

Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited


Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited, representatives from the GLA, Camden Council and leading creative businesses in Camden including MTV, Elsevier, The Roundhouse and Dexter Moren are all available for interview and comment.

About the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund:

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has pledged £2.2million to support regeneration projects in Camden Town with £1.38m of this money going to the Collective initiative. This is part of a £200m programme to support town centres and high streets across the capital, helping to create jobs for Londoners and enable local economies to thrive.

For press enquiries please contact Lucy Dundas on 0203 463 2085 or



Collective Journal. Reflecting the global industry, focusing on the creative community in Camden. Art, business, entrepreneurship, regeneration, growth, events.