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Creative Informatics Inclusive Innovation Working Spaces Fund

The Creative Informatics Inclusive Innovation Working Spaces Fund is a strand of support providing professional working space for diverse and under-represented creative entrepreneurs and start ups in a number of partner organisations across the city region. Creative Informatics is supporting hot desking spaces at five brilliant organisations, each of whom have particular specialist communities around them. Applicants must show that their work is creative, data driven, and that they are themselves diverse, undertaking work with diverse communities, or working on projects/businesses which have clear equality, diversity and inclusion impacts. This call is now open and will remain open until all spaces are allocated.

We are offering hotdesk spaces on a 6 to 12-month basis. In the application form you will be asked if you are looking for a 6-month or 12-month working space. If you are successful and select 12-months, we will review your placement (in conversation with the relevant organisation hosting your hot desk) before confirming the extension of your placement. This allows us to ensure all beneficiaries are complying with membership terms and conditions and/or community policies of our hot desking providers, but is primarily about us ensuring you still want and are benefitting from access to the space so that, if appropriate, we can reallocate the space on to another beneficiary. We hope to benefit a total of between 18 and 36 creatives through this programme over the next 2 years.

Enquiries about applications should be sent to creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk. We are happy to chat with you and support you with your application. (Please do also read our FAQs below.)

We will only be supporting proposals with a clear equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) impact. We welcome applications from diverse people whether you are totally new to Creative Informatics, or have already been part of our Creative Informatics participant and alumni community. We would, however, particularly like this support to benefit people and businesses that haven’t benefitted from us under more substantial funding streams, and will therefore prioritise applications accordingly. EDI impact will be a scored criteria for this call.

In designing this fund we have been inspired by former Resident Entrepreneurs who we have been able to support through similar working space. We’ve seen what a difference having access to professional desk and/or meeting space can make for new start upss, particularly for creatives working on their own who nonetheless want a sense of community with other founders and start ups. We know many of the creatives we have worked with struggle to find suitable working space, to have consistent access to good internet connections and desk space, and really miss working in collaborative creative environments. We think each of the hot desking spaces we are working with present unique opportunities for potential hot desk users:

  • Sierra Metro (Ferry Road, Leith) – hot desking in a small quiet gallery environment with regularly rotating shows of new work by local artists, and a small in-house coffee shop. Located in Leith and on frequent bus routes to Granton, Muirhouse, Craigmillar, Wester Hailes, and the City Centre. We have arranged 2 hot desks (up to 24/7 access) with Sierra Metro.
  • The Melting Pot (Calton Road, Central Edinburgh) – hot desking in Scotland’s Centre for Social Innovation – a large and well established of purpose-driven organisations and start ups including charities and third sector. Located in central Edinburgh on good buses for Sighthill, Wester Hailes, Leith, Granton, Stenhouse, Muirhouse, and next to Waverley Train Station for those coming from train-accessible areas of the Lothians, Borders or Fife. We have arranged for 1 hot desk on an unlimited basis during opening hours (currently Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm) at The Melting Pot.
  • Tribe Porty (Portobello) – hot desking space in a space intended for creative work and unexpected connections across founders, makers, creators. Based in central Portobello and on frequent bus routes to Craigmillar, Restalrig, Musselburgh and the City Centre. We have arranged 3 hot desk spaces in total with Tribe Porty: 2 hot desk spaces for 2 days/week, and 1 desk for 3 days/week.
  • Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh (Central Edinburgh) – hot desking in the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for AI and Data Science. Centrally located and on good bus routes for Wester Hailes, Leith, Craigmillar, Restalrig, Stenhouse, Muirhouse, Sighthill, and a short walk or bus journey from trains to the wider Lothians, Borders and Fife. We have arranged for 2 memberships of the Bayes Centre, which include access to hot desking (which can be used by up to 2 people from the same start up/organisation) with pre-purchased credits for 55 days of use during normal working hours at the University of Edinburgh’s Innovation Hub for AI and Data Science.
  • Edinburgh Futures Institute, University of Edinburgh (Central Edinburgh) – hot desking (from May 2024) in the University of Edinburgh’s highly collaborative new home that seeks to tackle complex problems, make change happen, and work towards a better tomorrow. Centrally located and on good bus routes for Wester Hailes, Leith, Craigmillar, Restalrig, Stenhouse, Muirhouse, Sighthill, and a short walk or bus journey from trains to the wider Lothians, Borders and Fife. We have arranged for 2 hot desks (up to 24/7 access) at Edinburgh Futures Institute in May 2024 when it has opened.

In addition to these working spaces we’d like to remind everyone of the CI-supported Edinburgh Napier University E11 Studio, where you can arrange to access technical kit that has already enabled many of the brilliant creative SMEs and entrepreneurs in our wider community to gain hands-on skills and experience that has enabled them to secure new contracts, build new collaborations and attract new funding and/or income from products, services and experiences. E11 remains available to use – see our recent blog post for more on the facilities.

In this call we are looking for applicants that:

  • Come from a diverse or under-represented background (we have an inclusive definition of ‘diverse’, see FAQs below) or be working on projects that have significant equality, diversity and inclusion impacts. We particularly welcome applications from those coming from less privileged backgrounds who might not have reliable access to professional working spaces and communities without this support.
  • Be working in the creative industries, or on a creative product, service or experience (see eligibility criteria below for more details)
  • Be working with data or data driven innovation in their business or creative practice.
  • Have a clear sense of what they would like to achieve as a result to receiving Creative Informatics-supported access to professional working space for 6- or 12-months.

We welcome any questions you may have about this call, including any additional support you may need in making your application. You can reach us through our contact page or by emailing creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


About the Inclusive Creative Capital Funding Calls
Creative Informatics has been awarded additional funding by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (part of UK Research & Innovation) to support this set of Inclusive Capital funding strands – investment in “capital” projects (buildings and/or rent, facilities, equipment, creative technologies, and associated installation and maintenance, etc.) which support our legacy as a project and further the equality, diversity, and inclusion impact of creative data driven innovation in our region.


Applicants must:

  • Come from a diverse or under-represented background (whether in terms of economic background, identity, etc). Full details are given in the FAQ below.
  • Be an individual or organisation undertaking creative work. We define ‘creative’ through the nine recognised DCMS creative industries sectors (Advertising and Marketing; Architecture; Crafts; Design (product, graphic and fashion); Film, TV, Video, Radio, Photography; IT, Software and Computer services; Museums, Galleries and Libraries; Music, Performing and Visual Arts; Publishing)
  • Be based in and/or be undertaking work that has impact for the creative industries within Edinburgh and/or the Edinburgh and South East Scotland Region.
  • Be submitting a proposal that meets the selection criteria (see below).
  • Commit to providing accurate information about business income, spend on Research and Development (R&D), etc. as per the requirements of the application form. This includes providing accurate information regarding State Aid that is required to ensure Creative Informatics meet essential reporting and due diligence requirements.


Selection Criteria

Applicants are asked to submit an application form (also available as a PDF), which must:

  • Include your own background and practice – so we can understand who you are and what you do, and what you want to be able to do.
  • Clearly articulate how access to this type of professional working space will make a meaningful impact on you and your creative business/practice.
  • Show a clear relevance to Creative Informatics’ core mission of supporting data driven innovation in the creative industries.
  • Be supported by a commitment to engage with the Creative Informatics team on monitoring, reporting, research and evaluation work around the project. Reporting and payments will be mutually agreed at the outset of successful projects.
  • Comply with ethical and legally compliant data practices (if relevant).


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1) What do you mean by “diverse”, “under-represented” and “inclusive”?
A1) We want to support projects that focus on, or are led by, those from diverse or under-represented backgrounds. We use “protected characteristics” as a guide for this, and are also guided by work on the creative industries around groups which are under/over represented. We are therefore looking for proposals that will either address diverse people as their focus, or which come from diverse entrepreneurs and SMEs, and are particularly looking for:

  • work reaching or led by people from less privileged backgrounds, including those from and/or living or working in lower socio-economic communities or areas (e.g. those in the lower SIMD deciles), and/or facing poverty
  • work benefitting people with disabilities and additional needs, including:
    • Neurodiverse people, including those with dyslexia, ADHD, with autistic spectrum conditions, Asperger’s syndrome, etc.
    • People with physical disabilities and mobility challenges/additional mobility or access needs
    • Visually impaired people
    • D/deaf people
    • People with different or additional needs associated with long-term health conditions, including e.g. ME/chronic fatigue conditions
    • People with mental health challenges
  • work benefitting underrepresented groups in both the creative industries and the tech/start up community including:
    • Women, non-binary people or others identifying with minority genders (gender diversity)
    • People from global majority/BAME backgrounds, people from other underrepresented communities e.g. the traveller community) (ethnic and racial diversity)
    • LGBTQI+ people and communities
    • People with significant caring responsibilities
    • Refugees and asylum seekers
    • Ex-offenders
    • Those with experience of the care system/care leavers
    • Those from less well represented age groups in creative and technology innovation contexts – young people (under 25), older people (over 60) (age diversity)
    • Support for language diversity (e.g. Gaelic-speaking communities)

This isn’t an exhaustive list so do contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss your proposal. We would also encourage you to read more about our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion in our policy and action plan, which has informed our work and this specific set of funding calls.

Q2) Who is this call open to and why?
A2) This call is exclusively open to anyone undertaking creative data driven work in Edinburgh and South East Scotland, as long as you are coming from a diverse background (see eligibility and diversity information above). Previous Creative Informatics applicants can apply, but we are particularly keen to hear from those with whom we have not worked before.

Q3) Can I apply for this funding if I have already received funding from Creative Informatics?

A3) Yes, being a previous recipient of Creative Informatics funding is fine, as long as you meet all of the other eligibility criteria. We do, however, reserve the right to prioritise applications from those new to the programme in order to spread the impact of those from more diverse backgrounds.

Q4) If I am successful, will I need to be set up on any finance systems or invoice Creative Informatics?

A4) No, for this support programme we have arranged payment directly to our hot desking partners. You will not have to take receipt of any payments. For the purposes of any subsidy control (if you are applying for other funding from government sources), and for the purposes of any other financial paperwork, you will still need to be aware and potentially declare the support (which we estimate has a maximum value of £2k per applicant). We can provide detailed equivalent values if needed for any paperwork or declarations you need to make.

Q5) What are the reporting requirements for work funded under this call?

A5) We will be asking all successful applicants to provide a report on how you have made use of the professional working space they have had access to, and what impact it has had on them. We will ask you this as part of the review process at the end of the 6-month placement. If you want to and are approved to continue to a full 12-months the we will ask you for a similar report again to cover that extended period. As is the case across all our work, we welcome further updates on how Creative Informatics support has made a difference to you and what you’ve gone on to achieve – this really helps us show why investment of this kind matters when we speak to funders and policy makers and also helps us to celebrate your successes!

Q6) What are the terms and conditions associated with this support?

A6) Each hot desking provider has their own codes of conduct and/or guidance, etiquette, etc. and some may also require some additional information at the point of setting up new users in their spaces. All successful applicants are expected to comply with the applicable terms for the hot desking provider they have been matched with. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in removal of support and discontinuation of access to the professional working space they have had access to.

Q7) What is the timeline for this application process?

A7) The relevant key dates are:

  • 2 June 2023 – Deadline for Round 1 applications, rolling applications open offering shorter placements.
  • June 2023 and ongoing – Applications reviewed and matched with hot desk providers
  • June 2023 – Applicants notified
  • June 2023 – Access to hot desks begins

The application form will remain open on a rolling basis for applications. Depending on when we do allocate spaces, we may be able to offer slightly shorter placements with a later start date. Please contact us if you have any questions about this.

Q8) If I am successful, what do I get from my hot desking placement? 

A8) Each of our hot desking providers offer slightly different types of spaces and support – hence questions on our application form asking about your own needs and expectations. However, all of the hot desking spaces we are supporting are ‘hot desks’ – so a desk that you either book to use slightly in advance, or that you use on the day when you show up. None of the providers here are offering a permanent dedicated desk or office (though some do have this option available if you are looking to locate with them in the long run). In addition to physical resources and facilities, the organisations we are working with each have their own distinctive communities, and in some cases this extends to community events, networking opportunities etc. You can read more about the culture of each organisation we are working with, and the kinds of people working in/with them, by taking a look at each organisations website: Sierra Metro; The Melting Pot; Tribe Porty; Bayes Centre; Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Q9) What additional support is available for applying to this call?

A9) We are happy to work with you to ensure you can access this funding process, including providing the application form in alternative formats, or accepting applications in alternative forms. Please contact us to discuss the support you need.

If you have any further questions about this call, or the wider set of capital funding calls this spring, please email creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


Applications for our Creative Informatics Inclusive Innovation Working Spaces Fund are now closed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Creative Informatics team at creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


  • 15.05.2023
    Call opens
  • 26.05.2023
    Cut off date for Round 1 applications
  • 29.05.2023
    Applications Reviewed
  • 31.05.2023
    Applicants notified of outcome

Applications for our Creative Informatics Inclusive Innovation Working Spaces Fund are now closed.

If you have any questions, please contact the Creative Informatics team at creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


  • 10.10.2023
    First wave of hot desks reviewed for potential renewal
  • 10.11.2023
    Cut off date for Round 2 applications
  • 01.12.2023
    Second wave of hot desk placements begin


If you require any further information on the selection process for this call, or have any questions about your application, please contact the Creative Informatics team: creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.