Title page of the More Than Cheap Space Value booklet

In 2012, England implemented ‘The Social Value Act’ demanding positive social, economic and environmental impact for public schemes. In Wales there was no such policy until 2015, when the ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations Act’ was implemented. It emphasises the need for value to be defined beyond monetary measures, but by the qualitative benefits to all communities and the environment, empowering the impoverished and the marginalised. The organisation acts as a facilitator for collaboration between public bodies.

With this idea of evidencing the less physical definition of value, our booklet aims to act as a means of documenting the less tangible qualities represented strongly by The Sustainable Studio, a creative collective on the brink of being relocated from their home in Butetown, in the midst of the wider economic regeneration of Cardiff. 

This is not an isolated experience. There is widespread removal and relocation of creative spaces in Cardiff – sometimes swiftly replaced with clean maker spaces that do not cater to the characteristic messiness of many creators. Other times replaced with student accommodation, hotels or residences that eradicate the evidence of creative economies. This trajectory for Cardiff is concerning. It became critical to evidence the overlooked richness represented by its people and places, embodied in the Sustainable Studio.

In documenting value within The Sustainable Studio, we questioned what was valuable to them as well as the values they represented as individuals, collectives and wider communities. As such, the booklet is structured in a way which discusses the struggle between creative communities, the council and developers. It introduces The Sustainable Studio and then, through policy and practice, evidences the values they represent at all scales. We distilled our narrative to focus on three key values which were nuanced enough to represent the social, physical and economic strengths of the organisation. These are Adaptability, Reuse and Inclusion.  

2 page spread. First page showing a picture of the kitchen at the sustainable studios illustrating community. The second depicts the etymology of the word cheap illustrating that at its root cheap is not a pejorative word.
2 page spread talking about creativity and culture within wales and specifically Cardiff. How creativity and culture are intertwined going back to policy documents from 1998, 2006 and 2016, thus illustrating the evolution of how we view creativity and culture in the past two decades.
Infographic showing the creative industry in Cardiff followed with the quote “ Cardiff is the UK’s largest media centre outside of London and is one of Britain’s fastest growing cities”.
Image of the Sustainable Studio from the outside showing a lack of visibility to the creative practices going on inside the industrial building.
Two page spread illustrating the presence of Creative Companies in Butetown.
2 page spread talking about existing co-working spaces in Butetown
The city desired. The long established industrial zone around Dumballs road shows little change: there are still light engineering businesses, metal workers, builders’ merchants and similar enterprises. The corporation took a deliberate decision not to revamp the area. The purpose was to retain cheap building stock for the kind of industries which any city needs, but which might be unable to afford the higher rentals likely to follow redevelopment. This is followed by the following quote from the Sustainable Studios Founders “ we’ve invested in this area and have created a supportive creative community. Being moved to the outskirts would finish us off.”
Value 1: Adaptability
Followed with the etymology of the word adapt
Image of Pod City
Squeezing Value from Mud
Set of maps and historical images showing the development of Butetown from 1880 to today.
Value 2: Reuse
Followed by the etymology of the word use
Image of Pod City with the pods open showing use and activity by the creatives in Sustainable Studio
Page juxtaposing policy and sustainable studio practices. Highlighting that the TSS (the sustainable studios) are embodying governmental policies.
Value 3: Networks / Inclusion
Followed by the etymology of the words inclusion and networks
Graphical tree showing the links between creatives, educational, charitable and other bodies, thus illustrating the reach the this single creative studio has within Cardiff.
Second graphical tree highlighting TSS networks with a citation from the Policy Paper of Creative Industries (published 28 March 2018). The quote is as follows: The key sector deal policies support creative centres across the country [...] so that local partnerships can bid for investments in culture and creative industries with industry contributing funding, networks and leadership.
Map illustrating the global reach of the TSS, and highlighting diversity.
Photos of community congregating in the kitchen space of the TSS
Photo on every single page of the booklet being pinned to the wall for the February crit of the Value Unit.

ACCESS TO THE VALUE BOOKLET: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63041582/final-value-booklet