Here at whitefox, we know how difficult it can be, as a publishing freelancer, to find a comfortable place to work which encourages productivity and wellbeing. So we decided to investigate the best work spaces for freelancers on offer. First up is Duke Studios…
Duke Studios, situated in the heart of Leeds, is a multi-disciplinary creative space. Described as a “hub of collaboration and creativity” it is an ideal base for freelancers looking for a place to work and network outside of the capital. We interviewed James Abbott-Donnelly, one of the co-founders of Duke Studios, to find out more about the space.
What was your idea behind Duke Studios?
Duke Studios was created to provide an inspirational creative work space in the heart of Leeds. We basically “scratched our own itch.” Myself and Laura Wellington founded Duke; I’m a photographer and Laura is a furniture and lighting designer. We couldn’t find an appropriate place in Leeds to house our businesses in so we decided we would create it. The idea was to create a fun and different-looking place with different levels of workspace to meet diverse needs and varying budgets. The space would also provide affordable facilities to the creative industries and general public.
What facilities and services does Duke Studios have and what is the security like?
Duke currently provides three levels of workspace, drop in co-working, permanent desks and varying sizes of studio spaces. We also have a variety of on site services including laser cutting, vinyl cutting, meeting rooms, a photography studio, a workshop, and event space.
We deliberately run open plan space in order to facilitate networks and collaboration. We very carefully manage the users of the space and craft the community. Physical security is tight with several layers of key card and code access required to come and go.
What kind of people work at Duke Studios and what sort of work do they generally do?
Our residents are makers and doers in their field, including: designers, photographers, bloggers, social media experts, copywriters, interior designers, brand consultants, community managers, retail designers, makers, event planners, web designers, architects, digital consultants, illustrators, graphic designers, fashion writers, landscape architects, film makers, talent agencies, coders, software engineers, product designers, typographers, writers and editors.
These talented individuals and teams socialise, share, collaborate and grow together. Duke Studios built the space but the people make it.
What are the prices for using Duke Studios?
Co-working: £85 per month (including VAT) Permanent Desks: £210 per month (including VAT) Studios: £360-595 per month (including VAT)
What do you think the benefits are for freelancers working in a space like yours, rather than just in a café or a library?
Collaboration is king; we provide a specifically designed space to encourage and enable connections and growth. Duke makes meeting people easy and hassle free. One of our pillars was to network without “networking” (we hate quick intro, business card swapping network events) whether its bouncing around ideas, going for beers at the end of a long day, combining companies to create a bigger team to bid on projects, outsourcing work or simply getting advice on whatever it is that you need. Duke provides a space to work and socialise without name badges, business cards or pull up banners.