Aimed at building a model of social innovation for creatives, and supporting social entrepreneurship, employment and education in the creative and cultural industries, our AYCH (Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs) team connect people and skills across Europe with workshops and opportunities.
The team aims to lower unemployment rates, raise awareness of social enterprise, promote responsible, sustainable entrepreneurship and improve youth services to create more inspiring environments for people to co-create. This project is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Programme of the Atlantic Area.
The first Plymouth-based AYCH Incubation Programme was launched with the mission to help people from all backgrounds to bring their idea to life. We selected nine participants all of whom had different and impactful projects ideas from upcycling old clothes, developing AI software for retailers, publishing a cookbook, launching creative campaigns, and developing a sustainable fashion brand.
One innovator involved is BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling student Susan Clements-Loftus who has been working closely with the co-founder of Crowdfunder, Rob Love, on her project The ZenCube which aims at designing a restorative space for people undergoing chemotherapy. Rob first noticed Susan's project during his time visiting the Degree Shows 2019, as part of the Ignite Festival, a programme examining how we can harness creativity to create a sustainable, inclusive economy at the heart of Plymouth.
Susan is now working on creating The ZenCube at Crowdfunder UK HQ in Newquay, and we caught up with her to find out more...
I would describe myself as an interior designer and I am mostly influenced by architecture and nature. I love to design using organic materials like wood, stone, metals and plants. I am very interested in the impact interior design can have on our well-being. I have always been very sensitive to surroundings and even as a child realised that I could be happier in places that I found beautiful or visually stimulating. I spent most of my like working in the theatre as a professional opera singer and so set design and styling was something that I became aware of early on and of course music.
I feel that these early influences have come together with my design The ZenCube. The ZenCube is an exterior room for well-being. It encompasses sight, sound, touch, smell and taste….the full set of senses in a way similar to a theatrical experience. I designed The ZenCube in the second year of my degree at Plymouth College of Art when given the brief to design a micro-living space. It evolved into a design which has become very important to me.
I was very lucky to get involved with the AYCH programme because I had little knowledge of how to bring a design to the market and with the help of Paul Read from the enterprise team and Elizabeth Zahoui from AYCH who have been extremely supportive to me, I am now developing The ZenCube into a business.
Rob Love from Crowdfunder saw my ZenCube which I had recreated in the college gallery for my final show and asked me to create it at his new premises called C Space in Newquay, which I am now working on. It will showcase Cornish designers and heritage and features a beautiful pendant by Tom Raffield as the centrepiece.
I am also about to begin crowdfunding to raise enough capital to have a prototype of The ZenCube made, which I would very much like to launch at The Chelsea Flower Show in a well-being garden.
- Take a look at the BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling programme
- Find out more about Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs, our partnerships and opportunities for students