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 Volunteering Experience Introduction My name is Isla and for a week I've been on work experience with the Creative Youth Network. I have been working in the marketing department, but as well as admin and editing, I have also been taking pictures of things happening at The Station. What have I been doing? Over the week I've been doing a lot of different things. I have photographed a conference at The Station, attended sessions run by Creative Youth Network, like Welcome Wednesdays and a film course, and have worked on the website. I've enjoyed doing these as what I wanted to get out of this week was new skills and to have tried new things. My photography skills have been tested by being asked to take pictures of things/people I wouldn't usually photograph, but this week has made me feel more confident about how to take them. What have I learnt? I have learned a lot about using computers and websites, like how to update pages and add pictures, and I have also benefited a lot from having to take pictures of new things. Also I feel like my social skills have improved by meeting lots of new people that I wouldn't have usually met otherwise. How was my experience with Creative Youth Network? My experience with the people at The Station has been amazing. I would recommend to anyone looking for work experience to come here if they want to do something different and to learn lots of new skills. Also the people who work here are really welcoming and kind. Also I feel like I'm giving something back after the Photography Creative Course has taught me so much over the past few years, and has also given me so many amazing opportunities, like me and my friends' pictures being exhibited in the RWA, and being sold in a pop up shop. Conclusions Throughout this week I've seen how much Creative Youth Network and other organisations at The Station do for young people like me and how much hard work goes into what they do. These courses and sessions give people something to look forward to, and are a safe place to go. Creative Youth Network has made me friends for life and has helped me decide what I want to do in the future, and has helped me develop the skills I need to do it. I hope they carry on doing what they're doing & help, inspire and support generations to come. By Isla C How can we help?