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 Dear Grayson Perry | Youth Review Dear Grayson Perry, I came to your exhibition tour, with yourself, on Tuesday the 26th September and you probably don’t know who I am. That was actually the second time seeing this exhibition. I first saw your latest exhibition at the Serpentine in London sometime over summer on a day trip with my dad. Honestly, the aim of the trip was to see Hokusai at the Great British Museum as we had bought pre-paid tickets, but as yours was free we popped along to have a look. I don’t know much about art but I definitely found your pieces visually pleasing and I could tell they had meaning behind them but I wasn’t quite sure of exactly what they were trying to portray, but I didn't care because they looked good and, as I got the experience for free, I felt as though I was in positive net ‘cultural capital’. When I saw you at the Arnolfini, with a guided tour by yourself, I was drawn in by your brief explanations of each piece. This left me with some food for thought and questions. This was quite a different experience. It was very clever of you to bring the bull and the bear into your piece about masculinity in the city. I really respect your reference to economics especially John Maynard Keynes's Animal Spirits. I am studying economics at A-level and it is a little bit soul destroying in that some parts really are all about money and profit, however Keynes says that ultimately the decisions we make are down to our spontaneous optimism and not just a mathematical equation to maximise utility. The idea of Animal Spirits brings a human element into the mechanical nature of the banking system and the finance industry. I find it hard to get my head round especially as those ‘humans’, due to the pursuit of their personal interest, collectively caused the financial crisis which affected all people and not just them? Anyway it reminded me that decisions are generally made by humans and humans, by nature, can change and evolve. In a roundabout kind of way it gave me a tiny bit of hope that things could change in the future, so thank you. I really liked your matching pair Brexit pots too. When I first came to see your exhibition, I did not realise that one was made for remainers and one for brexiteers. However in the tour you explained how they each reflect snippets of identity from the opposing sides of the Brexit debate. You also said that they both look fairly similar overall and share a lot of identity without focusing on the detail. I wondered if this was you artists impression and interpretation of the issue or if this is actually the case. It got me thinking of myself, and the side I stood for, and my negativity towards the those that voted the other side. I like that you highlighted that we all share so much identity aside from this one issue, and that regardless of whether we voted Brexit or not that does not define who we are. I think in debates we sometimes have to be reminded that we are challenging the opinion of the other side, and not their whole being and identity. Likewise when someone in the other side challenges us, we should not take it to heart and believe we are invalid, but remember that only one opinion you stand for has been challenged and not your whole self. It was awesome to see you in the flesh during the tour of your exhibition. You have charisma, you are eloquent and you have great public speaking skills. I found it a bit strange because you are quite famous now. In my opinion, one of the reasons for this is how your work speaks to a lot of people in a deep kind of way. Yet when I saw you talking about it at the Arnolfini I felt as though this was not reflected in the way you spoke to us. You were distant and untouchable, despite physically only being a foot or so in front of me. As though you were inside a glass bubble. I have to admit this left me feeling slightly bitter about the genuine nature of your work. However in reflection, I realise now that art is a means of communication. And that you take people’s messages and experience and they get transformed, by you, into a piece of art. That piece then speaks for itself and is not necessarily intended to go alongside an experience of you explaining what it is meant to portray. The art communicates for itself. Anyway I love your work, and I love your process of how you explore topical issues such as masculinity and Brexit. Thank you for coming to Bristol. Yours sincerely, Maisie How can we help?