testbeds arts enterprise zone will provide Luton-based artists at all stages of their careers the opportunity to access a needs-driven hub for knowledge-exchange and creative enterprise development


© R. Cherry


upcoming events

We encourage you, no matter where you are on your fundraising journey, to attend all sessions. The programme is as follows thus far; more events will be added soon for September - December 2018: 

Thursday 11th October 2018

Roundtable: Creative Case for Diversity
P107, Postgraduate & CPD Centre
Time: 4.30pm-6pm
RSVP by emailing: Matthew.Baker@beds.ac.uk

Themed around the Creative Case for Diversity, Essex Cultural Diversity Project and TestBeds host this round table discussion. For artist practitioners, arts organisations, local NPO organisations, libraries, museums, and creative industries to come together and have a critical debate around the cultural sector regarding issues related to diversity, funding, opportunities, commissions, audiences, partnerships and collaborations. Led by TestBeds Arts Elevator artists.

Thursday 18th October 2018

Spotlight Session: Spotlight on Imrana Mahmood
P202, Postgraduate & CPD Centre
Time: 4.30pm-6pm
RSVP by emailing: Matthew.Baker@beds.ac.uk

Imrana Mahmood is an emerging Creative Producer who is committed to redefining the arts scene by increasing participation, collaboration and inclusivity. She is also passionate about educational grassroots activities to enable self-empowerment through arts engagement. The focus of Imrana's work is to enable people to share their experiences and stories through artistic expression, with a particular focus on ethnically diverse artists and audiences. As a poet, Imrana’s creative work focuses on notions of identity and belonging as a means of exploring the spiritual self.

Thursday 1st November 2018

Self-Employment for Creative Freelancers
P205, Postgraduate & CPD Centre
Time: 4.30pm-6pm
RSVP by emailing: Matthew.Baker@beds.ac.uk

An invaluable workshop for all creatives, whether you are self-employed or thinking about going it alone.

Haiders accountants, led by Ali, will be here to discuss the tax advantages and pitfalls you should be aware of. Learn about how to get started, what your legal obligations are for HMRC and your clients. Find out how to keep records and prepare accounts and tax returns, along with your other legal obligations. The session will be followed by a Q&A session.

Haiders are accountants based in Luton, St Albans & Harpenden who believe in solid business support and commercial insight far beyond the spread sheet.

Thursday 29th November 2018

What can the Arts teach us about leadership and teamwork?
Room TBC
Time: 4.30pm-6pm
RSVP by emailing: Matthew.Baker@beds.ac.uk

David Murphy presents “Listening Leaders – Listening Teams”, an interactive session using music to explore primal issues of leadership and teamwork. During the session the notions of timing, awareness, influencing a team and enabling creativity are playfully explored without the use of words.

A conductor of leading orchestras internationally, for two decades David Murphy has been bringing together the music of the Indian Subcontinent and the West. He has premiered many new works in venues including Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Festival Hall, London.




The testbeds arts enterprise zone is a needs-driven programme of training and skills-development opportunities designed to help people that work or volunteer in Luton in the arts, culture or creative sectors to increase their capacity to thrive in whatever they do.

We recently asked the Luton creative community to tell us what they wanted from the arts enterprise zone. A summary of what was said and what we will offer is below. If you would like to contribute to the enterprise zone programme, contact us and tell us what you would like to see offered. 


you told us what you wanted

We asked the Luton arts community to tell us what was needed from our training programme.  Here is what you said: 

  • You want practical help with completing funding bids and approaching funders.

  • You want development in strategic thinking, leadership skills and business planning.

  • You want help with professional resilience, particularly in sustaining outreach work and partnerships.

  • You want to build networks across different artistic and creative disciplines.

this is what we will deliver:

7th June 2018: Practical help with completing funding bids
Access to specialised help in completing funding bids, outlining the changes to ACE funding with arts funding experts.

21st June 2018: Diversify your income sources
A workshop in diversifying income, delivered by sector experts.

28th June 2018:  Understanding diverse groups and meaningful networks
Presentation from industry experts on the understanding of both working with and creating meaningful networks.

19th July 2018: Introduction to evaluation processes
University of Bedfordshire Arts & Culture Team deliver an introduction into understanding evaluation processes. 

30th July 2018: Network building
Delivered by Royal Opera House Bridge, information about building connections and collaborative partnerships. 

16th August 2018: Reviewing unsuccessful funding bids
Testbeds offered applicants to the recent round of the Luton Arts Fund, the opportunity to understand the criteria of the fund in detail and workshop their unsuccessful applications.

30th August 2018: Digital Presence and Social Media Management
Rae Leaver delivered a workshop and opened a discussion about what to put online, what networks might be useful to you and how best to utilise them. We learned how to generate and manage content as an independent creative practitioner or small organisation.

6th September 2018: Successful Bid Writing
The University of Bedfordshire's Innovation and Enterprise Team delivered an invaluable workshop on understanding how to write successful bids. Sharing bid writing skills and the key elements to be aware of that exist throughout all bids.

13th September 2018: Branding - Breaking down your brand into bite size chunks
This workshop covered the most important elements you need to think about to get everything moving forward, so you can start building reputation… and most importantly… profit!

20th September 2018: The Luton Creative Forum
The Luton Creative Forum is a network of artists and arts workers that meet every two-three months to share opportunities, discuss best practice and form working groups to address the goals of Luton’s 10-year strategy for the arts, cultural and creative industries 2017-2027.

We will be sharing more events soon for September - December 2018


testbeds arts enterprise zone is a flexible programme that will respond to the needs of the creative community in Luton

If you have suggestions for training, resources or opportunities that would enhance your creative capacity, please get in touch. This programme is for, by and with the people of Luton, so make it your own.

Name *