Studio Upstairs was set up as a project in October 1988.
The co-founders were Douglas Gill, Claire Manson and Jo Hill.
The Studio became an associate of Diorama Arts. It opened for one day a week until in three years it was open five days a week.
The studio's mission at the time was to create art in the public arena. The studio artists choose how to describe themselves and their work. The working team and the members discussed their work together at regular reviews. They also exhibited together.