Interview: Green Rooms Founder Nick Hartright

On 6th December, somewhereto_ brings together some of the most innovative creative projects we’ve supported this year for a celebration. The event takes place at essential north London arts hotel, Green Rooms. We caught up with founder Nick Hartright to hear some pearls of wisdom. His answers chime beautifully with the way we operate at somewhereto_, and with the way we encourage you all to operate too. Enjoy & we’ll see you on the 6th December.     

 

Green Rooms is a wonderful thing & we can’t wait to make some somewhereto_ noise there on 6th December. How do you picture the place being used in 5 years time?      

I want burgeoning creative people from all over the UK, and the world, checking in, staying with us, enjoying the facilities, making great work, and conceiving new ideas. All of that, with each other. What pleases me most is when I see like-minded people throwing ideas around in the communal spaces and developing projects. Some of them won’t come to anything but some of them will.

The creative young people somewhereto_ works with want to know how to make a living from their creativity. Go!

It’s not easy for young people to make their way in the arts. The best advice I can give is to be tenacious. Sure, you’ll face roadblocks and get knock backs, but you’ve got to figure out how to circumvent them and keep getting back up again. Get yourself out there, network, meet people. Sooner or later it’ll pay off. There are good people out there that are willing to help.

Can you explain how your company The Mill Co. Project delivers enterprises like Green Rooms?

At The Mill Co. Project we’re flexible. We have blended rents across all of our sites which means some tenants with established businesses pay more compared to the smaller more embryonic enterprises. And everyone buys into the model. Sometimes we see real potential in people and so we cut them a deal on rent in the beginning. But it comes full circle. Five years down the line when they’re flying, they remember how you helped them out when they were getting started. 

“Art and artists enhance commGreen Rooms Founderunities. The politicians know it, developers know it … and having creative, progressive people live and spend down time in communities only enhances them.”

 

 

With young people in mind, how can we shift things up in terms of their access to jobs and opportunity? Training and apprentice programmes are useful, but what else can be done?

In a lot of ways it comes down to money. If there’s more investment in the arts ecosystem there’s more jobs available – simple. But then I think we need to look at our education system too. It seems like we’re setting everyone up to get office based jobs. It’s like art and design, and music, has been forgotten in schools. What’s wrong with being a maker and working with your hands? I’d have much more practical programming. Heck, I’d have more practical schools. And things are changing, progress is being made. Look at the Global Radio Academy in Hayes that opened this year, and the National College for Digital Skills in Tottenham.

What are your hopes for London under a new mayor moving into 2017?

I’ve got high hopes. The Mayor has said the creative economy and the arts are as important to him as the housing crisis and the economy. And the early signs are positive.

What piece of creative work that you’ve seen recently has left you speechless?

We’ve had some pretty mind blowing stuff at Green Rooms. But one thing stands out – the secret gig by Khruangbin. They played in the top floor gallery space before heading off on their first US tour. They’re an American three-piece band that play Thai Funk. And they’re absolutely brilliant.

We can’t wait to bring the somewhereto_ noise to Green Rooms on 6th December.

Looking forward to seeing you all there to celebrate some of the fantastic creative outputs we’ve supported over the last year or so. Sign up now – one not to be missed.