Drop-in tours available from 9 February 2023
Kingston Upon Thames will soon have a new home for creativity as FUSEBOX opens next month. This newly converted 750m2 space on the Thames riverside features areas for performance, exhibitions, creative practice, socialising, co-creation and more.
Situated underneath the John Lewis department store in an extraordinary space which houses the footings of the original 12th century Kingston Bridge and the remains of a medieval cellar, FUSEBOX will provide a vibrant new cultural centre for the area, its young people and communities, support the regeneration of the area and drive employment and training opportunities.
After a 7-month renovation project led by charity Creative Youth and supported by Kingston Council, John Lewis and the Mayor of London, the space will now open to the public for a pilot season of activities and drop-in tours of the space. FUSEBOX was named by Creative Youth’s board of Young Creatives and wider team to capture its dynamic multifunctional purpose and echoes the name of FUSE International, Creative Youth’s annual festival of performance (formerly the International Youth Arts Festival).
The pilot season includes Creative Sparks scratch nights, held every Friday from 3 February from 7-9:30pm, offering a chance to see a selection of new performance in its early stages of creation. Full details and booking can be found at fuseboxkingston.org
There will also be two free exhibitions by past and current Creative Talent Programme artists, Chiyana Ankhrah and Tanvi Ranjan.
Former Creative Talent Programme artist Chiyana Ankhrah’s thought-provoking exhibition returns to Creative Youth following its debut at FUSE International 2023. LABELS: Black Mental Health and Me is a photographic documentary that focuses on anecdotal experiences of 4 Black British men and women who are currently dealing with or have dealt with mental illness. This project uses their stories to explore the impact of situational and intergenerational trauma as well as racial bias within mental health services and how these elements can negatively impact Black people’s mental health.
Current Creative Talent Programme artist, Tanvi Ranjan, exhibits four pieces from her studio. Ranjan’s work explores subjects of the human-machine relationship while elaborating on the techniques of textile making and the role of women in sculpting the future of digital and information age. By highlighting the intersections between textile and digital information, the artist makes visible the complexity of modern technology and internet that is often obscured by the high-speed electronic transmission of data in the form of bits.
Speaking on the opening, Creative Youth’s Chair, Robin Hutchinson MBE said:
“It has been a dream for Creative Youth to have a home to support young talent to explore and develop their cultural ideas and practices. FUSEBOX gives us that opportunity in a remarkable new space that will be a playground for the imagination. Through our valued partnerships with Kingston University, Kingston College, Kingston Council and other groups and organisations we can bring together our communities to explore and realise ideas. FUSEBOX will bring a positive energy to this part of Kingston’s riverside and throughout the town, and we are extremely grateful to the Mayor of London, John Lewis, Kingston Council and many other local partners for their support and help.”
Andreas Kirsch, leader of Kingston Council said:
“Kingston Council has been working with partners to regenerate this area under John Lewis as part of its heritage-led Transform Kingston programme, to bring new opportunities for the borough’s young people and entrepreneurs. I am thrilled to see FUSEBOX opening. This is an amazing project, which will bring people together, giving them a space to be creative, to explore, and to enjoy. It will be a wonderful addition to Kingston’s great cultural offer, filling the historic place it will be located with new life.”
Artist Tanvi Ranjin said:
“FUSEBOX is one-of-a-kind space in the heart of Kingston for young creatives from all disciplines. As this year’s Creative Talent Artist, I am excited to use FUSEBOX for my creative practice and to connect with other artists. Its heritage backing would elevate the experience of the art that is produced, performed, and exhibited here. It is not only a platform for artistic expression but also for collaboration and co-creation. I am confident that FUSEBOX will bring together many artists and build a community that can grow within various art forms.”
Creative Youth is a charity based in Kingston-upon-Thames that exists to enable young people to realise their potential through the arts, involving them in innovative, original and ambitious projects. Projects include FUSE International festival and heritage project AMP Kingston; Art, Music and Pop Fashion.
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