London Borough Hackney: Hackney Live

Hackney Live is a Hackney Council Cultural Development team project designed to explore the online opportunities for the arts and creative sector in Hackney, and to bring the arts, creative industries and technology sector closer together.

Having run two programmes across 2013 and 2014, there was widespread appetite – internally and amongst creative organisations and individuals across the borough – for Hackney Live to return and continue as a more long term initiative. So, in 2015, the Cultural Development Team invited the hub to develop a comprehensive strategy and programme plan for Hackney Live’s development. Our brief ended up being twofold: to initially explore the platform’s potential and make recommendations re: programme policy, scope and timetable; partnerships and external relationships, and working practices for 2015/16, contextualising these in terms of Council policy, wider developments in the borough and other relevant parts of London (eg. Silicon Roundabout) and the wider technology landscape; secondly, to work up a viable business model for the programme/platform.

To deliver to this brief we did a lot of early stage desk research, reviewing what had happened before and the evaluation done around it, doing a landscape review and identifying potential sources of investment. Next up, we did a lot of consultation, with key individuals from the local arts scene, potential investors and members of the Council staff team. Next up, we locked ourselves away, did A LOT of pacing, chatting, supping of tea and drawing on big sheets of paper and finally came up with a draft programme policy and plan, and a couple of business model scenarios for testing with our Council colleagues. Having workshopped these with our friends at the town hall, we then beavered away some more, creating more detailed financial models, action plans and job descriptions.

 Our final report for the Council included detailed commentary on the recommended business model for Hackney Live over the next phase of its development, and associated commentary, analysis and financial information. The appendices detailed two key elements of our early research – consultations with individuals and organisations in Hackney or with a strong existing relationship with Hackney Live, plus research into potential sources of public and private funding.