CSKX Studios offers collaborative arts and education workshops to promote creativity, self-esteem and interactions among individuals in communities where such activities are lacking.
Established in 1990 by the designer, Hedi Raikamo and artist LEO (Leo Smith), CSKX Studios was created to offer affordable studio spaces in Kings Cross. The organisations work developed to include exhibitions, performances, public art projects, commissions and residencies. In 1998, it was registered as a charity. CSKX was home to performers, musicians, designers, filmmakers, a theatre company, writers and many artists from 1990 to 2001, when the studios were demolished due to the redevelopment of Kings Cross.
While pursuing his masters degree in Artist Teachers & Contemporary Practices at Goldsmiths College, CSKX creative director Leo Smith conducted research into the role and impact of creative learning, as well as the consequences of funding cuts and government directives in the arts and education in England. In response to his findings, and particularly in view of the long-term impact of budget cuts in arts education, he has redeployed CSKX in north London as a way to engage the community in creative activities. An installation artist who has held numerous residencies and exhibited internationally, Smith builds on more than 15 years’ experience teaching art workshops in schools, colleges and universities, galleries, care homes and a hospital.
CSKX offers creative, collaborative, education- and community-based workshops, in partnership with local groups and organisations. The workshops are facilitated by artists whose practices are socially engaged and project-centred. They are developed in collaboration with partners and participants, and held in a range of education centres and community sites. In focusing on arts, education, social inclusion and well-being, CSKX aims to be responsive to social needs and demographic changes; to facilitate useful and empowering learning experiences that are relevant to all participants; and to foster connections and conversations, both within and beyond the workshops.
CSKX activities are especially tailored to the needs of young and older people—in an effort to partly offset the impact of cutbacks in arts education on the former and the deleterious effects of increasing isolation among the latter. In recognition of the decreasing availability of employment in arts education, CSKX also offers training and jobs for artist teachers.
The following aims and objectives have been developed through discussions with artists and representatives of partner organisations, art galleries, community centres, local councils and educational facilities, these include: Jim Chynoweth and Cherrelle Salmon, Winch, Camden; Paul Monks and Giuliana Molinari, Core Arts, Hackney; Janice McClaren, Photographers Gallery, London; Kirsty Magahy, Axis @ the Hive, Camden; Nazrul Islam, Kentish Town Community Centre; Suzanne Rider, Stevenage Council Education Dept., Melisa Hardwick, Free Space Gallery, Kentish Town; and Dimity Nicholls, Cubitt Gallery, Islington. CSKX gratefully acknowledges the Arts Councils objectives and the European Unions Culture Guides project, which have served to guide the formulation of these goals. Thanks are also due to Tania Inowlocki, who has helped to frame and edit the texts.