How can a building make you smile?Reimagining and redeveloping The Courts Imagine a place where a young person’s background, race, beliefs, gender, physical ability and economic status had nothing to do with how good they could be, what they could achieve. A space where they could fully explore their creative potential, receive support and mentoring, and find meaningful work. That place is the Old Bristol Magistrates Courts (The Courts). An enterprise centre to help young people set up their own creative businesses and develop their opportunities. A place where there are no barriers to their future, where the only things that count are their abilities and talents. Thanks to the The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bristol City Council we are developing detailed business and architectural plans to reimagine and redevelop this historic city landmark as a place that will complement Bristol’s renowned and growing creative industries sector. To get involved and keep up to date with our progress, sign up to our newsletter. The Problem with Creativity The Creative Surplus UK creative industries are a true success story. They are growing at twice the rate of the UK economy, while employment in the sector grows at four times the rate of the national workforce. Creative industries form a key sector of UK industry, generating around £92 billion per annum and contributing more than 5% of the UK economy (DCMS, 2017). Taken as a whole, the creative industries employ about 15,900 people in the Bristol and Bath area. The region’s creatives are estimated to be 50% more productive than the UK average and productivity in creative businesses across Bristol and Bath has increased by 106% since 1999. The Creative Deficit All those positive statistics mask stark reminders about how inequality and other disadvantages are stopping many very able young people from entering the creative industries. White people hold 88% of the jobs and only 11% are occupied by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people. Men dominate the sector holding 63% of the jobs. In the gaming industry, a creative field in which the UK excels, 86% of jobs are held by men, 96% by white people. It is also significantly difficult if a young person comes from state education. Since 2010, there has been a 28% drop in the number of students taking creative GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of specialist arts teachers. Our Solution The Courts will throw open the doors to creativity through an open, enabling and supportive environment for those talented but disadvantaged or marginalised young people seeking to enter the creative industries. Floor by floor plan Basement It is envisaged the basement level (the old cell block) will contain incubator space and enterprise workshops for young people. Our plan is to let this space on a short-term and quick-release basis for people looking to develop a business, or starting out as a young professional. Ground floor The ground floor currently has four courtrooms, one of which will be restored to its original condition and offered as a film, television and performance location. The remaining rooms will be developed into lettable spaces for multipurpose use. These will include space for Creative Youth Network services, for creative industries, youth participation work, performance, gallery exhibition and a bar/café.A public entry will ensure everyone, regardless of their physical ability, can use the same entrance. First, second & third floors The first, second and third floors will provide 1,115m² of high-quality office space let commercially and accommodating around 110 workers. These tenant organisations will share our organisational values and ethos for the building.A new lift will connect all four floors, again ensuring full access, while the old staircase will be retained as a heritage feature. We are also considering a green-roof across some of the open spaces covering the rooftop to complement the high-spec insulation, heating and cooling, and energy conservation measures planned to ensure The Courts has the lowest possible environmental impact. About us Blog Brexit - Betrayal of the next generation We’ve had a Tory party problem foisted on the people of Britain, stirred with a degree of racism and fear from those who are not benefitting from globalisation. I don’t think good leadership would have got us into this position in the first place but we are where we are. Over the last few years I've observed the shift in British and global politics from left to right, from internationalist to nationalist. Those whose skills and upbringing have given them the opportunity to thrive in a global world where creativity, brainpower and flexibility are rewarded sit on one side. On the other are those who have lost out in this new world; those who value traditional British culture and skilled manual labour communities (including those in our city of Bristol) who have suffered from closure of major industries. I understand there are those who do not feel comfortable in this emerging world. The trouble is the EU debate became a proxy for so many of these issues, fears and deeply held values on both sides. Whilst the EU has serious and some might say fundamental flaws, its primary purpose has been to overcome the things that divide us. Starting with the peace that has settled over most of the continent after the Second World War, trade across borders which helps us all to understand each other and trying to deal with the current migrant crises are all EU successes that have brought people together. Even if they have sometimes been messy there is a vision for a better world where we work with each other and for each other. I fear however, that many of the Brexit voters are the ones who will suffer most if the expert opinions about the economy come true. The EU has championed workers’ rights, youth involvement and economic growth. Unemployment is thankfully low at the moment despite the ‘tidal wave of immigration’, maternity and paternity leave is growing, the living wage is coming and young people are more involved in decision making than ever before. These are things that will benefit the most disadvantaged in our society. Interestingly, young people see this. They voted much more heavily for remain because they understand globalisation can’t be turned back. Integration in schools and youth clubs is high, young people are being taught new skills and personal qualities that should see them thrive in the emerging global economy. But we have shrunk away from this and fundamentally betrayed the next generation. Baby boomers have voted to withdraw from the new world at the expense of the generation that will inherit it from them. Young people are comfortable with the new world but will now have to work harder to be a part of it. We won’t see dramatic changes straight away but I fear young people in the coming years may travel a little less, have fewer opportunities to find work and have a little less understanding of other cultures. I fear this will diminish the UK and our place in the world. It is up to all of us, including Creative Youth Network, to encourage young people to explore the world around them, whether that be Easton, Weston, Barcelona or Bucharest and continue to build the skills they need to thrive in a globalised world. Poll sources: The Independent, YouGov How can we help?