Recycle vacant, under-used and problem properties into thriving active creative resources
We truly are an island in the heart of the city.
We work in partnership with building owners, property developers and the local community to secure and re-use interesting, unusual and often difficult spaces as vibrant multi-use art venues.We manage the site under contract and create workshops, studio spaces, galleries, cafés, performance and training facilities, which we then make accessible to the local community. Each building we manage we aim to make sustainable and self-supporting, all funds raised through events, activities or studio hire fees from the artists for use of space are channelled back into the Project.We rely a lot on the energy and time donated by our core members and network of volunteers as well as the awareness and revenue raised from our public events and regeneration services.
We look for longer-term spaces to provide a resource base for smaller short-term satellite projects to flourish, mentoring and facilitating other creative groups and organisations to be able to take on sites and projects of their own.This transforms neighbourhoods and also brings something fresh and diverse to commercial centres. Making space accessible to a wide variety of creative influences serves to enrich and develop the multi cultural identity of any community.
The Island is a multi use arts facility and creation centre in the old police station in Bristol city centre. It hosts a wide variety of creative spaces from circus training, dance and rehearsal rooms, making spaces and artists studios to dark rooms, recording studios, a gallery and a suite of early 20th century police cells.
Up until now we were running with our current website and social media to promote al the good work we do here at The Island. As an Old Police Station the building is quite unapproachable and maybe scary for some people so we rely on our marketing promotion to show people all the good things that daily happen here and invite all local community to get involved. We have been managing our website and social media with a volunteer role of a passionate member of our team but we now grow out of this and we become more of a full time project so we ought to promote more what we do and who we are.
Large part of our activities include the local community and we offer spaces for very low rates to new artists and people who just moved to Bristol. We also put weird and wonderful site specific shows on, where new talent can showcase their work and allow new collaborations to flourish!
This is what people say about us:
''it's the people who make it - really supportive atmosphere. love it :-)''
Bob - Artist
'' It truly is an island in the heart of the city''
Loz - Event Promoter
‘’ I am very impressed with the way that I have seen the Island grow from strenght to strenght. I am happy to see new endevours and new invitatons to so many different types of the arts.I am happy to be here. It is a very exciting place.’’
Mary Blackley – Artist Tenant
‘’ Thank you for the information about measures taken for keeping the space warmer in the future, and I look forward to re-hiring and/or make future bookings again with DanceSpaceBristol.’’
Lydia – Dance Space user
‘’ Very satisfied with the support from the Island staff. Special thank you to the office team for all the help they gave us with our paperwork"
Ibi –Instant Coffees group – show in the Gallery.
"Having never had my own art space before this, I was grateful for a corner of a room to call my own, and for the first 6 months or so this was enough – to be able to paint whilst engaging in thought provoking conversations. I knocked on some doors, and met some wonderful people, but I left the Island as a whole to its own devices, so long as my space was safe.In May of last year I took on a project – curating an exhibition in the cells as part of a Bristol wide arts festival. It was absolutely exhausting and a huge amount of work, but we had over 200 visitors, and the potential of the Island as a major force of the Bristol Art Scene opened up to me. The public were endlessly intrigued by the space, and wanted to know what other events were going on – they wanted to come back for more. I was also asked time and time again if any studios were available – other people were seeing the potential of the space and were eager to be involved.
We can choose to rent our rooms and our studios and get on with our own practices, with Artspace Lifespace as our landlords – maintain the status quo. Or we can try to collaboratively be greater than the sum of our parts and take ownership of the space that we occupy – putting into place a legacy that could have influence over the Bristol art scene for years to come. To be residents would mean greater commitment to artistic practice, which not everyone wants, and it might bring uncomfortable responsibilities, but it would mean exploring our full potential and the potential of the space.I like to think of myself as an ambitious artist; for me, art is a career choice, a calling, not a hobby. I personally hope that The Island can become an organisation that I am proud to be associated with, one with some serious professional clout. At the moment it is an excellent collection of studio spaces, and we may collectively decide that that is what we want it to be, but I would like to take this opportunity to suggest we push for something more.’’
Fliss - Tenant & Shop Space Coordinator
Bear Moves promo video filmed in The Island Cells.
Our space users words count more than anything. We are a great, small team of dedicated hard working people, we have loads of passion and enthusiasm but maybe on the Digital Marketing area we lack the skills. We want to promote what we do but we could do with your support and help.
Come visit us and you will fall in love with us.....
Get Social with Artspace Lifespace