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The Creative Dimensions Trust at Fortnum's

We invited several students - in collaboration with The Creative Dimensions Trust - to create a centrepiece at our Piccadilly home.


Fortnum's is more than cups of tea and fully stocked hampers... although there's nothing wrong with that. We also have a long history of celebrating creativity and supporting the arts, whether it's in our wonderful windows or exhibitions throughout the building.


This autumn, we are very excited about our collaboration with The Creative Dimensions Trust. The trust offers online and in-venue workshops, with free tuition and materials, to young people who wish to develop their hand skills, and their workshops range from contemporary sugar modelling and stone carving to embroidery and gilding.


We have invited a special group of students to take over one of our windows, creating a spectacle that's full of joy. From 6th September for over two weeks, you will be able to marvel at their creation. Discover more about how this story came to be below.




Penny Bendall is the CEO of the Trust, who is a ceramics conservator and holder of a Royal Warrant by appointment to The Queen. She also works with museums and auction houses including The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the Sir John Soane’s Museum, Christie’s, and Sotheby’s. We spoke to her about this exciting project, asking her about all the talented students as well as the future of the trust.



Why do you think this project, as well as The Creative Dimensions Trust, is so important?


Fortnum & Mason is an iconic store in the centre of London and has some of the best window displays in the world. For TCDT to be given the opportunity to display students work at Fortnum’s is simply incredible and demonstrates what The Creative Dimension Trust is aiming to achieve – young people from less advantaged backgrounds working with world class tutors producing wonderful objects!


It’s clear from the students’ feedback that they absolutely love it. Why do you think it means so much to them?


Fortnum & Mason have given TCDT students an opportunity they would never have dreamed of. Some have never visited London before and many would not have been to Fortnum’s. They are incredibly excited and can’t wait to see the surrealist dining table come together. They will all be sent images of the window to add to their portfolio. It will make them very proud!



What do you hope the students take away from the experience?


Confidence – there are so many wonderful careers in the creative industries young people need to be make aware of. We hope this project will give TCDT students ideas of which direction they want to go and help them reach their full potential.



If you could pick a course, which one would you choose?


Puppet making – it’s an incredible workshop bringing everything to life!



Finally, we have to ask: what is your favourite thing from Fortnum’s?


Fortnum’s honey! Followed closely by Chocolate Florentines (So difficult to choose!)




A renowned set designer, Simon Costin has played an integral part is helping the students creative this exciting window. 


My role was to unify the various different elements into some kind of whole in order to display them within the window. Taking inspiration from the surrealists seem to make sense, given the desperate nature of the objects. 

As a set designer and a trustee of the Creative Dimension Trust, I was delighted when Penny asked me if I would like to weave together an idea for the window display.
From what I’ve seen so far, the students look as if they have really embraced their classes and produced some remarkable work, considering that this would have been the first time that any of them have worked with materials in this way. It’s one of the most magical aspects of the Trust, seeing the profound effect that working creatively on an imaginative project can have on the minds and hearts of young people who may never normally have the opportunity to do so.





There wouldn't be this wonderful display without the amazing talent of the students. We spoke to Jay, one of just many of the talented students to learn more about his inspiration as well as the role the project has played in his life.



What does this project mean to you? (being part of the Fortnum's window display team)


The project means a lot to me, as nothing makes me prouder than to see my work and the work of others come to fruition. It would bring me great joy to see something that I have put effort into on display at a prestigious store and location. The project is not only about myself, but also about the other incredibly talented students who learnt a new craft and came together to form an amazing display.


What made you want to do your chosen courses with The Creative Dimensions Trust? 


I enjoy trying new things and learning new skills. What is the point of life if you don't try to excel and push yourself? All of the courses I have chosen were new to me, and looked very interesting. I always know that regardless of the course I choose, I will be intrigued, fascinated and also appreciative of the skill that goes into the craft. It is the idea of craft and working with my hands that draws me to the courses every time without a doubt. 


How has The Creative Dimensions Trust changed your life? 


I wouldn't be where I am today without the Creative Dimension. I currently have a full-time job as an Architectural Assistant at Emrys Architects, and in a way, I am living my dream. I have wanted to be an architect since I was 15, and since I started working with the Creative Dimension at 17, I have had doors open for me which I never could have done without them. They got me into some of the biggest architectural practices in the UK, and I am thankful for that. They also made me realise how much I wanted to do architecture and set me off on a path to do so. Although I still have a few years till I am a qualified architect, I still look at my story as a success story, a story which took a young boy from Harlesden with a creative flair to a man who is fulfilling his dream.

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