Canning Circus Creative Hub
Our Creative Vision
We are a collective of creative companies and individuals who collaborate & co-mentor. We share resources and ideas. Our collective vision is to promote, inspire and create work we’re proud to put our names to. Extraordinary work has emerged from CCCH. Globally respected work of the highest calibre.
The hub was formed organically as a de facto collective sometime in the 1980s or possibly earlier. No one is quite sure, but we know the magazine ‘Overall There is a Smell of Fried Onions’, the precurosr of Left Lion, was based here. And our once resident goths, Trev and Mark, set us fimly on the darkside global radar back in the 80s and 90s. They were key in CCCH drawing talent to the buildings. They’re now part of our extended virtual community. CCCH has always been a very broad church. Inclusive before anyone realised that might even be a thing.
We formalised our tenants’ association in 2013 under threat of eviction from our landlords Nottingham City Council, who still haven’t delivered on their subsequent promise, live on BBC TV, to invest a little in these beautiful grade 2 listed buildings… and give us the security we need to allow us to invest in our business units. We are not part of The Creative Quarter – apparently we’re too far west to be creative.
We’ve had zero funding to date, so truly sustainable. Actually, we did win a £50k grant bid from Scape/D2N2 but our landlords seem unwilling to account for it, or give it to us so we can undertake the work it was intended for. And our expertise in our various creative disciplines, and in mentoring creative SME startups is overlooked by those landlords, the City Council… and the Creative Quarter. Meanwhile, huge budgets are being spent down the road on Angel Row attempting to establish something akin to what we already have.
So we get on doing what we do – making great apps, backends, art, music, clothes, designs, podcasts, video, websites etc that get paid &/or get noticed. We also mentor young people, graduates and creative startups, sharing savvy business skills and high level creative practice CPD. Some of our members also teach – at De Montfort University, Nottingham College, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham. We understand graduate retention better than most. Many of us are graduates who stayed. We know why. We know the structures & vibe that helped keep us here. They’re in decline. And we do have a decent balance of creatives who just get on without feeling the need to tread some of those increasingly questionable degree pathways. Quals are never an indicator of creative impetus or output. That’s the great leveller. You’re only as good as you output.
We firmly believe that Nottingham would be all the better for more demonstrably independent organisations like ours. Our amazingly creative city needs a diverse biome of indie, corporate, retail, hospitality, offices, creatives & the businesses that defy categorisation to survive & thrive post-pandemic. Creative Culture can’t be bought, it can only be nurtured. The monoculture zoning of our city into student, tourism, retail and creative street-silos is now a real liability in ways few wanted to hear. As in nature, monocultures are always extremely vulnerable to change.
The city leadership that espoused this monoculture and seem to look to corporate solutions to provide creativity are unlikely to embrace the vision of cities who will really thrive. So Nottinghan’s creatives are probably mostly going to have to do what they have for a while. Survive on their wits, reinventing and repurposing, finding affordable business accommodation wherever they can. Sharing, borrowing, crashing, pooling and slipping between the infrastructure cracks. Affordable studio space is a rare commodity in Nottingham – music studios particularly. But there’s so much dying retail space, and the units above their street level that few even notice. These were classic mixed creative zones. Ad-hoc and really affordable rental is key. Informal hubs emerge almost by default in those kind of properties. That’s exactly how CCCH started. Canning Circus was struggling in the 70s & 80s, and no one could let our units above the shops to anything other than whatever they could get in.
So the expertise of loose organisations like ours is now very much part of the solution. Expensive co-working spaces with a swanky reception & their own beer pong are not necessarily creative hubs. Creative hubs need the cooperative interaction & direction of their members. Topdown corporate-style hierarchies don’t fare well in this sector. Combinations of Laissez-faire, Transformational & Collaborative management styles are necessary to foster creativity. Flat, peer leadership that encourages development of individuals way beyond the limits of the nominal leaders & mentors. Mentors that show they are developing too – that lead by example.
And many creative startups need tentative spaces with casual commitments to develop their ideas while other employment funds them. Creative beach-heads if you like. So vanity projects that result in pricing startups out of their overly formal spaces, or try to offer round holes to square pegs, do little for Nottingham’s creative scene. In short, herding cats and pushing rivers are always purely pointless exercises.
Our Creative Community
amillionsons had Nottingham’s first top 40 hit since Paper Lace back in 2002 with their track Misti Blu feat. Chaka Khan, sister Taka Boom & brother Mark Thompson. Produced mixed & mastered at Sirkus, CCCH. Their critically acclaimed first LP was championed by Pete Tong. Subsequent releases & remixes drew more accolade from the music press. New releases are in the works
Bad Vole Music is the business name for Micheal Wynne. A qualified mentor and music teacher, Mike has over 20 years’ experience of working in the music industry as a professional live musician and as a producer. He specialises in percussion, music technology recording and mastering, composition, performance, music industry, employability and educational mentoring
Bambino music is a deep house record label
Boom For Real. A production company operating out of Sirkus, CCCH. The vision of talented producer and musician Ashwin Balu, and home to artists such as J Littles, Moneysworth & Snowy
Borrowed music is a deep house record label
Chris Pickup is an artist whose commissions have included City University, London, and the The Northern General Hospital, Leeds
Chisomo Music, home to multi talented Chisomo Thipa and operating out of Sirkus, CCCH. He holds a Music Technology BSc & a Masters in Marketing from De Montfort University. He’s also a keyboard virtuoso and specialist in Urban & Gospel production
Crazy P are a dance music band, DJ & soundsystem ensemble with an extensive and classy discography and a large international fanbase. Founded in 1996, they’re longstanding CCCH members. Cofounder Chris Todd is treasurer of the association
Da Sunlounge is a DJ and house music producer.
Dealmaker records started life at CCCH in 2003 with help from the mentoring scheme run by the musicians and producers at Sirkus Studios The label has morphed into the stuff of Nottingham legends – Scorzayzee amongst them. GagstaWraps enyone?
Derek Hampson is an artist based at Wollaton Street Studios here at CCCH. He’s also an academic, writer & curator with an interest in philosophy; particularly the work of Martin Heidegger
Denise Weston was a founding member of Oldknows Studio Group in Nottingham and was involved in setting up and curating exhibitions at Oldknows Gallery, an artist-run exhibition space. She works from CCCH as a practising artist and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Denise’s work is included in both public and private collections, including the Bibliotheque Nationale Paris & Arts Council England
entuition embeds creativity into the project management and communication strategies of community, educational and environmental initiatives
Floating Point is the ident of freelance interaction designer / creative coder Brendan Oliver, who was based at CCCH for several years. He is now works out of Primary, another awesome creative hub at Canning Circus. major gigs for Google & Disney are just the start of the story….
full beam productions working out of Sirkus Studios is the front of house management for Simon Paterson’s independent musical endeavours. Associate Prof of music at the UoN, he’s much more than just a damn fine bass player.
Head Kicks Records is an independent deep house record label
Hhymn are a Nottingham-based band composed of Ed Bannard and Simon Ritchie who first got together in early 2008. They have Gained plaudits from the likes of Tom Robinson (BBC6) and Matt Horne, who booked the band for his ‘Session’ in London
Inland Knights are house DJs, producers and label owners Andy Riley and Laurence Ritchie. Resident for many years at CCCH and still part of the crew
Kaos corsets is a fashion retailer, established in 1992, dedicated to creating a range of affordable and beautifully designed basques, waspies and corsets. All their stock is individually hand made in the UK at Kaos’ Nottingham studio at CCCH
KJAMM provides pro mixing & mastering services plus a record label specialising in launching new & upcoming talent. Home to Karl Robin Junga, CCCH Chair. Operating out of Sirkus Studios . He’s a seasoned veteran of work on tracks for Bowie, Electronic, Gong, New Order, Nightmares On Wax, … & Nottingham’s very own Broxtowe boy Whycliffe. Recently busy mastering & mixing upcoming talent like Nottingham’s J Littles & Rudi, Sheffield’s Lee McMahon (LPMC), LA based Roze McQueen, and labels and artists across the globe.
The Littlemen are DJs Steve and Guy, who have been DJing on the UK free party scene, clubs and festivals since 1993
Mowgli Wild Boys. Well they’re wild, but they’re currently resident in one of our studios – to be heard working on their eclectic material into the wee small hours. Expect them unleashed ‘pon a post pandemic live music apocalypse. Actually, their broader identity is a colabing collective of talented lads & lasses with more insider knowledge on the local taleways than anyone should store in their grey matter. Thus a fantastic resource to the others at CCCH in more ways than just plumbing and drumming, which they’re also ninjas at…
Mobiletrax is a dance music record label
Myna music is a deep house record label
Nina Smith is a professional vocalist, recording artist, vocal coach & artist mentor. Now launching the careers of some of Nots”brightest talent. She worked out of Sirkus, CCCH for a while, and was even the cleaner there for a stint. She still comes back regularly for mastering services for her work.
Positive Divide is DJ/producer and vocalist Steve Lee. Originally from Liverpool, he now lives in Nottingham and works at his studio, which is situated in the Wollaton Street Studios building
Artist, producer and engineer Leon Bailey of Recharge Audio launched from Sirkus Studios and is now making big waves down in the Bristol creative community. Mixing & mastering hot new output. Still in close touch & one of several links within the hub to the cultural force that is the Bristol scene.
Rob Greco works out of Event studios at CCCH and is qualified to teach guitar at all levels. He’ s highly experienced at helping people of all ages and abilities to learn to play guitar. He’s also a qualified IT specialist with SEO skills
Ron Basejam is the alter-ego of UK producer James Baron, well known as the co-founder of uber-discoists Crazy P. Ron Basejam has become a code-word for a certain brand of detailed, pristinely produced disco-tech music. Full of attention to detail, serious low-end heft, and distinctive, idiosyncratic sampling.
Sirkus Studios is a cooperative of musicians, producers and artists established in 1997. It offers highest quality professional production, mixing & mastering. A studio that rips up the recording rule book by putting musicians first. With a long credit list of top artists and record labels.
Wholesome Fish were established in 1998 and comprise (at least) four great singer/songwriters, accompanied by a host of traditional instruments (fiddle, harmonica, accordion, banjo and guitar (to name but a few) and underpinned by a cooking rhythm section, Wholesome Fish create music to DANCE to. Their influences span a world of tastes, from Celtic and gypsy-rooted folk through to Cajun, bluegrass, boogie-blues and punk
Wollaton Street Studios is an artists’ cooperative with internationally acclaimed output
Zola Day Music is owned and managed by Kate Rounding. A multi-instrumentalist, composer, studio engineer and musical educationalist, Kate is also an animateur, using music to bring people and national, local and international communities together. She worked out of Sirkus Studios for many years and still collaborates with CCCH members regularly on music and education projects with national organisations such as Youth Music.
Our Indie Biome
The Dragon. Awesome boozer since the 80s. West-side cultural hub par excellence. Open late and at the bottom of the hill – a real gravitational advantage as the evening wears on. Aunit keeps us sane and offers great ale & gardening tips alongside being one of Nottingham’s most prolific lemon slice collectors. Fantastic hospitality. She runs a tight ship and makes short shrift of idiots..without a bouncer in sight. All part of an evening’s entertainment.
Focus Gallery was established in 1971 and was one of Nottingham’s most respected and well-known places for beautiful and unusual art and crafts. It was situated on Derby Road and featured a wealth of fresh talent and long-term exhibitors
The Hand & Heart is a pub and restaurant on Derby Road, Nottingham. It features excellent live music, good food and ale, and the opportunity to dine in one of Nottingham’s many caves if it’s open 🙂
Housed in an elegant listed building, with a lovable resident Basset Hound, Le Chien Et Moi offers an eclectic mix of old and new, for you and your home. Wares include hand-distilled scents from Brooklyn, jewellery from New York and Japan, handmade ceramics and stationery, English chocolate and small-batch preserves, uncommon books and an ever-changing covetable collection of vintage, antique and recycled furniture, objects and curiosities
The Monkey, oh sorry the Organ Grinder to non locals. Very mixed crowd, great local ales and a large suntrap rooftop beer terrace big enough for a herd of cats to swing their tails
The Music Inn. Great for sales & those sustainable repairs and a proverbial stone’s throw from us. Where else we gonna buy our guitar strings?
Tough Mary’s Bakehouse. Urban sourdough warrior. Mary helps to sustain our creative brain cells and environment alike
Mel’s team at Soul Hairdressing have been keeping some of our hair on for years. All the goss and handy for some rocket fuel as well if our coffee runs out. Get yer best boogaloo barnet on mi ducks.
Located on Derby Road, Windblowers offer the largest selection of Sheet Music and Wind Instruments in the Midlands. All of our staff are friendly, highly experienced and knowledgeable plus we have our own fully qualified instrument repairers who offer specialist attention to your instrument. Invaluable for our music sisters & brothers at CCCH
The Worm That Turned provides garden consultancy, design and installation, as well as retailing creative garden supplies. Stuart is also a top bloke