WERKS GROUP - HISTORY
1992 – CEO Ian Elwick starts Brighton Media Centre (BMC) in the middle of the worst recession ever to hit Brighton. It rapidly becomes the first digital hub in the world, initially based at Jew Street Brighton.
1993 – BMC moves to Middle Street Brighton refurbishing another 15,000 sq ft of derelict space with offices, studios, conference facilities, gallery, cinematheque (60 capacity small cinema), cyber 2-floor café/bar (first cyber café outside London), Lighthouse training, Film South (film support), MDA (digital media support).
1996 – Gallery hosts international exhibition of robotics and art with University of Sussex, ACE and Stellarc.
1997 – Gallery hosts ‘Man in a Box’ installation with international coverage in 1997.
1998 – BMC wins a national award for ‘Regeneration Through Partnership’ from Government and BURA. BMC hosts the DTI ‘Interaction 2’ international digital conference and webcast leading to the formation of the Digital Content Forum (DCF). BMC expands by 8500 sq ft.
1999 – BMC designs and produces 20:20 Media Education magazine for BFI and Arts Council.
2000 – BMC adds a further 30,000 sq ft of workspace and studios with an intensive design and refurbishment programme; plus a further 30,000 sq ft of workspace and studios with an intensive design and refurbishment programme. BMC becomes a founder member of the DCF (DTI supported) and Creative Brighton (local authority support), both continue to lobby for support for creative sector development and provide events and activities until 2011 to promote and support the sector. They attract the international Creative Clusters Conference to the city.
2002 – Bizvizion Accelerator sets up in Middle Street with space to support 10 creative businesses and continues its support for 8 years.
2002-2010 – The Brighton Hub model is applied across the UK in Sheffield, Huddersfield, Manchester, Liverpool, London and Milton Keynes.
2003-2006 – Ian Elwick is appointed Project Manager for Hastings Media Centre and attracts £4.3m of RDA and ESF funding.
2007 – The Werks in Hove becomes the first coworking centre in the UK south of London.
2008-2009 – The Werks non-profit group establishes 3 other hubs: Westerks (Hove – social enterprise); Coachwerks (Brighton – Arts and Making); Lewes Werks (Digital and Coworking).
2009-2011 – The Werks Group is a partner to the sub-regional IGT (Innovation & Growth Team for Brighton, Hove and East Sussex). It is funded by SEEDA (RDA) with partners Sussex Innovation Centre, Wired Sussex, Hub 100, Business Link, BHCC, ESCC, University of Brighton, University of Sussex. Werkshop directly supports more than 25 creative companies and 15 start-ups and raises over £1.3m in support.
2009-Present – Martin Bouette designs and launches the first Creative sector MBA in the UK, supported by Ian Elwick and a team of other creative professionals.
2012-2014 – The Werks establishes The Dock Hub in Hove with ‘Lab for the Recently Possible’ and space for more than 25 creative companies.
2013 – The Werks and Rodhus curate and mount the first local showcase of Brighton makers that export globally at Gallery 40, North Laine, Brighton. The show is called ‘Making It’.
2014 – The Werks Group merges with BMC to provide combined space and support for more than 400 creative practitioners. Martin Bouette joins as CCO (Chief Creative Officer).
2014-2015 – The Werks Group supports Creative Success Kent (CSK) creative support project across Kent funded jointly by KCC, local authorities and EU (Recreate).
2015 – The Werks Group is awarded a contract to design and deliver a creative hub in Tunbridge Wells Kent, tighter with Tunbridge Wells Media Centre (TWMC).