UK Centre for Carnival Arts, Luton

Project Description

Aims and Objectives

The Luton Carnival Arts Development Trust (LCADT) believes that participation in and enjoyment of the carnival arts can significantly enhance racial harmony, improve the quality of life, build a confident local cultural identity, improve educational attainment and tackle social exclusion. It aims to achieve this mission by building the Centre for Carnival Arts providing focus for Carnival arts development, including addressing gaps in the funding provision for black and diverse organisations in the East of England. The Centre was built to provide facilities for an area of the arts not previously catered for in the UK. It was also created to support agendas such as neighbourhood renewal, tourism development, education in the arts, community cohesion and business development.

Project Start Date and End Date

Services Offered

The building has been designed to provide flexible workspace to cater for a wide range of activities. Two buildings sit either side of a courtyard, creating both indoor and outdoor work and leisure space, which is to be used as part of the carnival route. The buildings consist of: 

  • a mas camp space, which can be used as one large performance space or adapted to become several smaller spaces;
  • teaching areas;
  • changing facilities;
  • a Business Development Unit supporting and nurturing the fledgling community, and extending this into a street market for around 14 businesses.

The centre runs a number of services including business training and advice for companies in the Business Development Unit, and carnival arts education and training courses, where students can gain qualifications. This education work includes free workshops and activities in the Summer Carnival Academy or a Foundation Degree in Carnival Arts, and is delivered and funded by UK Centre for Carnival Arts (originally Luton Carnival Arts Development Trust) in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, the European Structural Development Funds, the Arts Council East of England and from the SRB Programme 6.

Success Factors

  • It has already been widely published, including a cover article in Building magazine.  It is currently in for a Civic Trust Award and a Brick Award, and will be entered for a RIBA Award in 2010.

Business/Operational Model

Ash Sakula Architects were chosen to design and deliver the Carnival Centre in 2006. LCADT, now the UKCCA, established in 1998, manages the centre and business community, and delivers training opportunities in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire and Learning Skills Council. Luton Cultural Services Trust currently leads in running the Luton Carnival, and aims to support the UKCCA to take over the lead by 2012.

Financing and Delivery/Procurement

Measurement and Monitoring

The UK Centre for Carnival Arts has also set up its own ambassadors and stakeholders group that is a consultative, monitoring and supportive group, helping to push the project and plans through the funding process and other procedures. UKCCA has output targets set through the ERDF programme, SRB 6 programme and through annual agreements set with the Arts Council annually.




Contact details

Paul Anderson
Executive Director of UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA)
Tel: 01582 437 100


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