The first Creative Hub in Jamaica will open its doors on Monday, July 27, 2020, in Downtown Kingston at the old Swiss Stores Building at 107 Harbour Street. The restaurant, wine bar, retail and gallery space is downstairs, and upstairs is the new Hub space, a partnership between the Hub Coworking Ltd. and arts and culture charity, Kingston Creative.
A Creative Hub is defined as ‘a space that brings together people who work in the creative and cultural industries’. There is estimated to be 2.2 million people working from coworking spaces globally. These people are generally self-employed, MSME’s and freelancers, who now represent 70% of global employment. Creative Hubs are critical to the development of a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem as they encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration through an active programme of workshops, seminars, hackathons, accelerators and fun networking events. In Jamaica, although there is a wealth of creative talent, there has historically not been a focus on developing the entrepreneurial skills to grow these businesses.
The goal of the Creative Hub is to promote collaboration across the creative sector, catalyse growth in the creative economy and to explore “Createch”; what happens at the intersection of creativity and technology. The hub will focus on the impact that augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain and other emerging digital technologies can have on the arts, cultural and musical talent that exists in Jamaica.
There are six different types of Hubs:
Studio – a small group of individuals/small businesses in a co-working space
Centre – A large building which may have other assets like a cafe, bar, or gallery
Network – A dispersed group of individuals or businesses, physical or virtual
Cluster – Co-located creative individuals and business in a geographic area
Online platform – Uses online methods, website/social media to engage globally
Alternative – Experiments with new financial models, communities and sectors
Located in the heart of the Art District, the Kingston Creative Hub plans to deliver elements of all six models over the next three years. It opens in July 2020 with a variety of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and private offices for creatives and creative industry service providers.
It offers a podcast studio with the option of rented equipment, a digital studio and a bar, restaurant and gallery space are available on the ground floor at chic eatery F&B Downtown. Other spaces across Downtown Kingston can also be leased through the Hub, including a dance studio, theatre and animation studio. This venture will also leverage some of the unused spaces in Downtown so that they can be utilised by the creative sector. Inclusion is a key success factor and residents of the Downtown area can access the Hub services at a 50% discount, in order to encourage use by residents of the surrounding communities.
The Kingston Creative Hub challenges the norm and provides an opportunity for increased collaboration, experimentation and creativity across social and industry divides. This new location offers more than a physical workspace, it is a network and a community that provides support for business development and community engagement within the creative, cultural and technology sectors.
The Kingston Creative Hub is funded by grants from the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) and the Tourism Enhancement Fund (a Division of the Ministry of Tourism)
Kingston Creative was founded in February 2017 and is a registered charity that is working to empower creatives and catalyze the transformation of Downtown Kingston. Within ten years we aim to develop a vibrant Art District, a thriving Creative Entrepreneur Hub and promote the growth of the creative economy in order to achieve sustainable national development.
PHOTO CREDIT: Shauna-Kaye Campbell (building); Stuart Reeves (people at Mural)