Published on February 5, 2014 | by Beau Bass


Exciting opportunities at Camden Collective

Outside of the camden collective pop up shop in Camden

Camden Collective helps to give creatives a path to employment. [Mary Sommer]

The thought of putting on your own exhibition or breaking into the creative industry, either while at university or once you have graduated, can seem like a daunting task.

However, at some point you are going to want to start exhibiting your work publicly, whether it’s just for show or for selling.

Situated in Camden, amidst the fast food stores and charity outlets, lies the Camden Collective – a new initiative aiming to help launch creative people into employment and assisting them in setting up their own businesses by providing work-space and a range of other facilities.

An essential part of the group’s success lies with three integral elements:

  • hubs that provide space for creative people to work and grow their business;
  • fellowships that join some top creative talent;
  • pop-ups that improve the quality of retailers on the high street.

Adam Richards, the project support manager, says: “Our pop-up shops are free of charge. We refurbish them to create a brand new retail unit with white walls and new lighting systems that are suitable for all types of creative industries, from fashion and art, to music, media and live performances. We also have a marketplace at 159 Camden High Street where there are 10-12 pop-up occupiers at any one time, where the stalls are generally smaller than the more conventional shops we offer.”

Richards warns that the selection process is quite competitive, which is not surprising considering the exceptional facilities they provide: “As you can imagine we receive a lot of applications because the hub space and shops provide such a great opportunity. Keep your application clear and concise and explain how the opportunity will benefit you.”


Although it is not feasible for every aspiring creative to be selected for this, it is important to remember a few basic rules about exhibiting your work.

Having confidence in your work and self-promotion is key when it comes to a successful exhibition. Richard states: “In relation to the Collective project and the occupiers using our pop up shops, the most common regret they have is not publicising their event. It is a unique opportunity to have a shop on Camden High Street and making sure they promote it well in advance is important.”

Edwina Fitzpatrick, course director for MFA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art, reminds students to be persistent and to have confidence in their ability. She says: “Go for it! Be clear about what you want to achieve from the exhibition and work together as a team using the expertise that you already have to make it happen.”

Any aspiring artist must remember that they need to approach galleries and businesses that are suited to their art type. You should always do your research in order to understand the kind of work they want and what they usually showcase.

“We get a lot of applications that are not suited to the High Street. If you’re an artist selling high value pieces, a shop on Camden High Street, despite the high footfall, is unlikely to yield many sales. It is also likely to prove quite challenging to manage,” Richards said.


T-Shirts made by Clime-it Brothers on sale at Camden Collective

Camden Collective gives graduates the chance to improve their portfolios. [Mary Sommer]

Previous success stories include graphic design student Nathan Gotlib, an LCC alumnus, who has exhibited work at the the Camden Collective in the past.

Talking about his time working there, he said: “We got access to a great space – for a week – free of charge. We had to do everything ourselves, but that was a small price to pay for the flexibility and opportunity that it gave us. The staff were really friendly and helpful with the setting up.”

In addition to this, Imogen Houldsworth, who has studied at UAL’s Chelsea College of Art and Design as well as Central St Martins, has used the facilities that the Camden Collective provides in order to improve her portfolio, as working from home can often be challenging for an aspiring artist.

The Camden Collective, which is funded by the Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund, Camden Council and Camden Town Unlimited offers a lot of promise to young people and the area of Camden.

For more information about the Camden Collective project or to make an application, go to


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