Arts producer Free Word has announced that they will be vacating their Central London venue in May 2021.
60 Farringdon Road has been leased to Free Word from Norwegian freedom of expression trust Fritt Ord since 2009. The income generated from leasing office and event space within the venue supported Free Word’s artistic programming and venue management costs. The Literary Consultancy was a Founding Resident of the building, and has held office space in the venue since 2009.
Free Word was the only centre in Europe focussed on the intersection of free expression, literature, and literacy, and TLC has been proud to be a Resident and member for the last 11 years, playing host to hundreds of writers at the Clerkenwell venue, from conferences to panels, workshops, film screenings, fundraisers and interdisciplinary events incorporating live music and technology. Free Word has also been a hub for collaboration, and we have enjoyed various regional, national and international partnerships whilst resident in the building.
The decision comes following a change of funding and investment priorities in the Fritt Ord Foundation. Conversations regarding the future of Free Word beyond the building are currently on-going between Free Word’s Board of Trustees, senior team, Residents, Associates and Arts Council England.
TLC is hopeful that the ethos of Free Word, which has driven our own ethos and public programme, will live on in some way, and we remain in close contact with the Free Word team and our fellow residents: English PEN, the Reading Agency, Article 19, Arvon, and Reporters Without Borders. The Literary Consultancy continues to trade as normal, with the team continuing to work remotely and no services affected by the closure. From May 1st, our team will begin hybrid working, mixing home working with hot desking via our Hubble HQ membership, and will announce a new registered business address shortly.
The TLC public events programme continues to be available digitally, and in due course we envisage re-opening in person events for writers across a new and exciting range of settings and locations. Hybrid TLC events will allow digital access wherever possible, so that we can continue to welcome as wide a range of writers as possible, from all over the world. We look forward to much more regional activity in the coming years including with our literature development partners, and continued collaboration with the literary and free expression communities. We are incredibly proud to be part of Free Word’s incredible legacy, and look forward to this next chapter in TLC’s history.