NEWS2 February 2023

Independent research collective Future Studio launches

News People UK

UK – A group of independent researchers have partnered to establish Future Studio, a collective of insight, strategy and innovation specialists.

 james mclintock and stuart knapman

Future Studio has been co-founded by brand strategist and consumer researcher James McLintock (pictured, left) and insight consultant Stuart Knapman (pictured, right).

The network currently consists of nine independent research and strategy freelancers, with specialisms including foresight, semiotics and ethnography.

Future Studio works with both agencies and client organisations, and has carried out work in the UK, US and Latin America to date.

Its founders launched the collective to alleviate the isolation that can be experienced by freelancers and build a supportive community for independent researchers, as well as giving freelancers the opportunity to work together on joint projects.

McLintock and Knapman first set up the model in 2021 to test how clients and agencies responded to it. The collective is not an agency, so it can operate outside of IR35 (when freelancers pay tax as self-employed contractors). 

Co-founder McLintock said: “We launched Future Studio because we wanted to find a way of making it easier for freelance specialists to work together, and we wanted to try and address some of the problems freelancers have with working independently – feeling lonely, falling prey to imposter syndrome, not having someone nearby to talk through and idea with.

“Despite both Stuart and I being researchers, we totally underestimated just how resonant the idea would be. The response we’ve had on LinkedIn has been way beyond what we anticipated, so we’re now looking into what else we can do to try and enable more collaboration and support between freelancers.”