The University is thrilled to be delivering testbeds, an  exciting new arts incubator for artists and creative practitioners. testbeds is an innovative arts impact accelerator that will significantly develop the arts & culture landscape in Luton. 

The University was awarded £375,000 by Arts Council England to support artists and cultural organisations develop the skills to thrive economically, creatively and socially within Luton. It is part of £1.5m investment by Arts Council England to enhance the arts and cultural infrastructure of Luton. You can read about the Luton Investment Programme here

testbeds has been informed by current thinking and practices in the commercial start-up and entrepreneurship contexts.It will immerse theatre-makers, dancers, game designers, public artists, fashion designers, milliners, visual artists, designers, film-makers, circus artists and writers in a collaborative hothouse for ideas incubation and career development. It will enhance local artists' capacity to live, work and thrive locally as well as spearhead innovative, cross-disciplinary research into the employment of arts & culture as catalysts for change.

By enhancing entrepreneurial skills, collaborative partnership working and fundraising ability, the project focuses on developing artists from diverse backgrounds as placemakers - enhancing their capacity to make a lasting difference to Luton.


“testbeds has been developed with funding through Arts Council England’s Luton Investment Programme. We wanted to find a way to support artists and arts organisations develop the skills to create a thriving business. The Artist Accelerator will do this by providing local artists with access to resources, space, knowledge and skills development to establish a lasting legacy of art and culture in Luton, whilst the Catalyst Co-lab will place artists within the University as visiting artists, leading to exciting cross-disciplinary research projects.”

Professor Helen Bailey, Executive Dean of Academic Partnerships, University of Bedfordshire.