Acme Studios — Work/Live FAQ

Supporting Artists since 1972


Here are some of the questions we are commonly asked about our Work/Live Studios. If you can’t find something, or have further queries please get in touch.

How do I become a Work/Live tenant?

The studios are allocated to selected artists for five years at a time. Split across three sites in London applications open a building at a time. Eligible artists will be UK based and have been making work for five years or more. Artists must demonstrate both a financial and practical need, and a potentially transformative impact on their career.

When do applications open?

Upcoming work/live applications:

Fire Station (2020-2025): August 2019

Glassyard (2022-2027): April 2022

High House (2023-2028): April 2023

To keep up to date with the latest open opportunities please join our mailing list.

Can I view the studios before applying?

Yes and we strongly recommend you attend a viewing, research the local area and try out the transport connections before deciding if you would like to make an application. Details of viewing times will be listed in the application guidelines when opportunities open.

I am co-habiting / living with dependants. Can I apply?

Yes, however we strongly advise that you book to view the work/live studios before applying as you will need to decide whether the space will be adequate for your needs.

Both myself and my partner (whom I live with) are artists, how should we apply?

You should both complete a separate application form and email worklive@acme.org.uk to clarify that you would be applying for one work/live studio together, we will consider your applications jointly.

What do you mean by UK-based?

You are a resident in the United Kingdom.

My income varies as I'm self-employed, what should I put down as my annual income?

Put the actual figure for the last twelve months and, if you think it might be helpful for those shortlisting, you can give further details about your financial circumstances in the box provided on the form. For instance if your income is particularly low, lower than your average, you can explain further here. Or if it’s below the annual income needed to pay the rent, it would be useful to explain how you intend to afford the studio.

Can Acme support visa applications to remain for the five years of the programme?

No, unfortunately we are unable to support visa applications.

I am a current Acme long-term studio tenant – can I apply?

Yes, however, applicants with a demonstrated need for studio space will be prioritised.

Can I send visual materials related to my practice?

No, we cannot accept any supporting documentation. If you are shortlisted you will be asked to bring documentation of your practice to present to the interview panel.

Why do you allocate by need/hardship firstly and not by quality of work?

It is a core aspect of Acme’s ethos that we are democratic and non-subjective. This means we are open to supporting all fine artists in financial need who can demonstrate a professional practice. This has been our approach since Acme’s formation in 1972. It continues with the allocation process of our studio spaces for which we operate a waiting list open to anyone who can demonstrate they are a non-commercial fine artist.

We are including an assessment of the applicant’s body of work once they are shortlisted to interview to allow the panel to make final decisions where we anticipate significantly greater demand for the studios than we will be able to accommodate.

Can I apply for more than one building?

Yes, the studios open for applications one building at a time so you will need to make a new application for each. Applications will open around six months before the move in date for each building.

Can I re-apply once my tenancy finishes?

Once you have been successfully housed in an Acme work/live studio you will not be eligible to apply again.

How much deposit do I need to pay?

One month's rent.

Are there any extra fees or costs I may not have considered?

On top of your monthly rent you will be required to pay electricity and council tax. You may also choose to pay for contents insurance, internet costs and a television licence. The studios are not furnished so you may need to budget for furniture. There are no administration fees.

Do I have to live in it?

Yes, applicants with a demonstrated need for combined work/live space will be prioritised and therefore it is the expectation of Acme that the studio will be the work/live address of the artist tenant.

Why is the tenancy offered for five years?

We wish to offer as many artists as possible this opportunity. This means limiting tenancies to a defined period. Building on Acme’s experience of running the Fire Station Award over the last 20 years, we have determined that five years is the optimum length of tenancy. This gives artists the stability and financial predictability to make mid-term plans for their practice.

Can I apply for a shorter length of time?

No, our aim is that artists plan for how they would build their practice over the five-year time-frame and commit to these intentions. There are also costs to Acme associated with renovating between tenancies which would increase the level of rents we would need to charge all artist tenants at each location. We want to avoid this. However we recognise that exceptional circumstances may arise which prevent an individual from remaining for the full five years and artists may contact Acme to discuss leaving earlier. A minimum of four months’ notice will be required if you need to leave.

Can I remain beyond the five years?

No, the tenancy is fixed at five years. This is so Acme can offer the resource to as many artists as possible.

Can I move in at a later date?

No, we expect artists within a building to start and finish the programme at the same time.

Can I sub-let or share?

This will depend on individual circumstances. Any sublet will need to be agreed with and managed by Acme and cannot be organised directly by the artist-tenant. Sharing with established partners or dependents is anticipated and should be stated in your application.

What outcomes do I need to deliver during the course of the programme?

There are no defined outcomes other than the commitment to further your practice.

What will the mentoring scheme and programme of professional development support consist of?

It is a framework of support which will respond to the practice types and needs of the artists selected. It will aim to draw on the shared requirements of the group as well as those of the visiting international artists. For example the mentoring make take the form of studio visits, gallery tours and social events. You will be actively involved in choosing the visiting artists and curators who make studio visits and, as far as possible, studio visits will take place at mutually convenient times. We ask that you prioritise the studio visits as they are an important part of the programme and therefore your attendance is expected.

Will I be required to open my unit up for events or Acme visitors during the course of the programme?

No. The only visits to your unit that may be essential are for repairs and maintenance if something needs fixing and we would always contact you first. Occasionally Acme may have visitors we would like to show around the units in order to further our goal of creating more in future. In this case we would always seek your permission first: these visits would never be obligatory.

Can I bring my pet?

Unfortunately we cannot have pets in the studios.

I am a sound artist, can I apply?

Yes, however the studios are not soundproofed so you would need to use headphones when working.

I have a noisy practice and use power tools when working, can I apply?

All tenants have the right to ‘Quiet Enjoyment’ of their premises, if your practice is likely to cause disturbance or disruption to other tenants then we would ask you take precautions to prevent this. This could mean using an alternative workshop for noisy work, headphones for music or limits on the hours you work. If you think this will hinder your working practice we would not recommend you apply.