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 My Go See Experience - by Grant Thame As we work towards developing The Courts on Bridewell Street into a Creative Enterprise Hub, young people's voices are crucial to making this an inclusive space, where young people from all backgrounds can benefit. Our youth steering group is working hard to ensure the vision for the space is innovative, bold and meets their needs. Going around the UK and visiting organisations and seeing re-developed buildings has made a real difference for the group. Here's Grant's experience: The Courts will be a Creative Enterprise Hub for those aged 16+. I’ll soon be turning 26, so my interest as a steering group member for the project is the older age of the young people bracket. I'm looking more at what can be provided to those who are 23-25 and in a similar situation to myself: not in employment but wanting a job in the creative industries. The steering group is here to suggest ideas, which could potentially be part of The Courts, in what the space can offer and how it looks on the inside. Going out of my comfort zone In the last three weeks, I’ve taken part in two visits to learn from other organisations that have done similar projects. The first one was to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, which in my experience as being a person that really hasn’t left Bristol much, was a good learning experience for myself. Before the trip I’d never been on a plane, so doing the trip opened my mind to something that I previously would have never done. The timing on being on the steering group couldn't have come at a better time for me personally! The second visit I went on was to Manchester, again being mostly based in Bristol, all four cities I visited opened my mind about how different each city is compared to Bristol. All the places I’ve been with this steering group have been a real eye opener, from the brilliant open space building of Wasps Studios at Briggate in Glasgow, to the character of the old prison at Orkney Street Enterprise, all the way to the community feeling of AWOL Studios in Manchester. All of these places have given me plenty to think about in regards to how The Courts could look like when it is completed. What I've learnt Lessons I’ve learnt from the trips and things I’ll be taken back to the rest of the steering group is how important affordable space to work in and have work be shown in is. Providing space to do this is good. I’ve also been impressed with how the places I went to felt open and that is was ok to be there. It made me realise that not having a welcoming space would affect the work you do in them. Being comfortable and good interior design will affect the mood of the building. The next steps for the steering group is to meet on Thursdays and Fridays fortnightly to create mood boards and talk about what we have seen on the trips. Then we will come up with how The Courts would be used for the next generation of budding creative people in Bristol. Thank you for welcoming us! On the trips I was able to visit the following places and would like to thank them for their time: Glasgow - Briggate - Rookie Oven - Orkney Street Enterprise - SWG3 Edinburgh - Summerhall Newcastle - Live Theatre Manchester - Contact Theatre - AWOL Studios - Royal Exchange Theatre Find out more about the The Courts redevelopment project How can we help?