Meet the winners of our inaugural Soho Futures Creative Grant
The recipients of Soho House’s newest initiative marry creativity with social responsibility to enormous effect
Tuesday 18 April 2023 By Soho House
Lifting up, bringing together, encouraging and amplifying: community has always been at the heart of Soho House. And as we continue to develop and grow, so does our commitment to that community – both in the Houses and in terms of our growing programmes designed to help forge and develop creative connections right across our global network.
The most recent of these is the Soho Futures Creative Grant, launched in late 2022 as part of House Foundations, our social responsibility and sustainability programme. We’re passionate about opening up opportunities for young creatives from lower socioeconomic and underrepresented backgrounds. Within our 2030 goals, we aim to have 5% of Soho House membership intake as part of one of our creative access programmes and 200 creative projects funded for emerging talent. Read more here.
Our Soho Futures Creative Grant programme offered grants of £1,000 to help successful applicants develop a project and bring it closer to fruition. From more than 150 stellar applications, 23 individuals were awarded grants across seven creative categories: music, film and theatre, art, fashion, community impact, content, and other.
From new, more sustainable business ventures to shining a light on untold stories in England and LA, we couldn’t be prouder of what they’ve achieved. To help inspire you to take the leap with your next creative project, we’ve highlighted five of them here – with a full list of grant winners below.
Jahne Miles (@jahnae.q)
Project: Angel Raised
What is it? A documentary series charting the stories of Los Angeles’ native culture that is designed to live as an archival documentation of the current and authentic perspective of these communities.
‘Often when we talk to people who only know the media’s portrayal of LA, they have a completely different view on the city from its reality,’ says Miles. ‘As someone who grew up here, I feel the need to show acknowledgement and appreciation for our silent warriors.
‘I’m deeply grateful for this grant. It provided me with the opportunity and push I needed to go into production with a team of young, ambitious Black creatives in my community. We were able to rent equipment, buy necessary props, and pay people for their time.
‘This experience has helped reinforce my belief in the importance of having unwavering faith and confidence in your ideas. Soho House has been the bridge to connect me with creatives that I’ve been able to build with and form long-term relationships. You can get things done efficiently through lateral creative community projects.’
Amy Matthews-Page (@matthewspagedesign)
Project: Environmentally conscious lighting solutions
What is it? The design and creation of three prototypes that incorporate architectural design principles to explore materiality and sustainability in the creation of environmentally conscious lighting products.
‘As a designer, I feel that I have a duty to understand the impact that we have on our planet and strive for positive change,’ says Matthews-Page. ‘Winning this grant has boosted my confidence in my creativity and kick-started my move to becoming a multi-disciplinary designer. Being neurodivergent has often put barriers in the way of many opportunities that have arisen for me, making certain aspects of life even more challenging. Over the past few years, I have really learnt to harness that and use my own quirks, unique perspectives and skills to my advantage.
‘This is only just the beginning of my journey. I want to ensure that whatever I create incorporates circular design, is environmentally conscious and made for longevity. I’m looking forward to further exploring my creativity, developing new skills, meeting more fellow creatives and embracing every opportunity that comes my way.’
Juliana Ogechi Onyenani (@noshameinmynamepod)
Project: The Locals
What is it? No Shame In My Name (NSIMN) is a storytelling platform that celebrates and documents names and stories across various mediums, including podcast and film. The Soho Futures grant was used to develop a documentary series chronicling the origin stories of local businesses.
‘This grant helped me to achieve my creative goals by alleviating the financial pressure that comes with trying to execute a self-funded project,’ explains Onyenani. ‘It also allowed me to use a budget to invest in the production costs required to bring this vision to life.
‘The very first episode of this series tells the story of one my former secondary school teachers, Dee Campbell, who decided to open a Caribbean restaurant – Jerk Cafe – in the heart of Strood in Medway, Kent, after taking redundancy five years ago.
‘I’m honoured to have been given the opportunity to provide a platform where they could tell their story, and I believe there are so many local businesses out there who deserve to have their stories told and heard.’
Ibiye Anga (@angahaus)
Project: NKWO art installation at Ludlow House, curated by Anga Haus
What is it? An exhibition showcasing the intersection of wearable textile art and sustainability. Guests and visitors experienced visual documentaries, installations, a thought-provoking roundtable, and an AR shopping experience.
‘The biggest joy of this experience was centering NKWO, which is a phenomenal global leader and artisanal brand at the forefront of the sustainable fashion movement in Nigeria,’ says Anga. ‘As the earth changes and grows, it’s very important to understand how we are part of the conversation.
‘The grant allowed flow, access and collaboration into spaces, ideas and experiences. I worked with an incredible team of women and it was extremely rewarding paying this grant and opportunity forward, allowing my team to grow and thrive in inspired action.
‘My brand, Anga Haus, continues to propel into heights I couldn’t have predicted, and I’m grateful for the space and community of Soho House. I look forward to meeting and collaborating in ways that are rewarding and enriching.’
Joe Roberts-Walker (@mejuicer)
What is it? Cold-pressed juices and ginger shots with a focus on sustainability, including reducing reliance on unnecessary processes and carbon emissions.
‘We make juice and bottle it in glassware, which we then collect, wash and reuse,’ explains Roberts-Walker. ‘The grant allowed us to source new vessels that are lighter, cheaper and easier to store. This makes life better for us as a manufacturer, in fulfilment, for vendors, and for customers. We are now ready for much bigger things, thanks to 10,000 little jars secured through the Soho Futures Creative Grant.
‘Soho House has quite honestly flipped the script for us. Having space in White City House for a regular pop-up helped us swim in completely new waters. We have a number of collabs in the pipeline with other members and it’s something we’re incredibly excited about. For the first time in my working career, I’ve found true joy and pride in what I do and it’s an indescribable feeling. Stressful, but really good fun.’
The inaugural Soho Futures Creative Grant winners in full:
Ibiye Anga, NKWO (art show), Austin
Jahnae Miles, Angel Raised (documentary film), Los Angeles
Nicolas Farade, Presence (book), Paris
Amos Eretusi, The Gateway (talent database for underrepresented creators), London
Eyram Dzotsi, Garden of Afruika (sustainable farming workshops), London
Tonny St. James, TAY (youth homelessness organisation), Los Angeles
Juliana Ogechi Onyenani, No Shame In My Name (storytelling platform), London
Morenike Akinnawonu, (documentary), Oxfordshire
Rachita Saraogi and Rebecca Thomson, Our Sisterhood (educational programme for girls and gender-expanding youth), London
Anna Maria Gehnyei, SANDE (African ethical fashion brand), Rome
Dawuud Loka, MEEZAN (upcycling leather jackets), London
Peju Obasa, PEJU OBASA (sustainable womenswear), London
Amber Montgomery, Rearview (short film), Paris
Anokhi Shah, Nritya (short film), Mumbai
Cassandra Nelly Esso, (dance video), Toronto
Amrapali Shindhe, musician, Mumbai
Jairus Edwards, artist (R&B soul album), Los Angeles
Kara Allen, Interludes (live music event), London
Ky Lowe, Relax&Bake FM (radio show), Brighton
Amy Matthews-Page, product designer (sustainably designed lamps), Oxfordshire
Joe Roberts-Walker, Mejuicer (cold-pressed juice and ginger shots), London
Karimah Hassan, Make Sure To Tell The Others (book), London
Mariah Woods, How Did I End Up Here? (book), Los Angeles