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 "We need a healthy planet" - we joined young people on the climate strike As young people are more and more worried about their futures, we joined the climate strike in Bristol in solidarity with the millions taking to the streets worldwide in demand of urgent and meaningful action on climate change. We kept our buildings and services open for the day to ensure that no young people were unsupported. Our staff from across departments joined the march and followed the lead of young people. At the "We the 33%" event we held in the summer, Joe Hill, a young artist who we supported in his creative career, spoke about why he's passionate about the environment and how it has affected him as a young person. We took Joe's lead at the march and you can read his thoughts below. Hello, my name is Joe. I'm a young musician and composer living and working in Bristol.I wanted to write a short blog post about my experience at the general strike for climate on the 20th September. I felt fortunate enough to be able to take time away from work and other commitments to be involved in the strike, as I realise that this is not an option for many in Bristol. Firstly, I would just like to apologise to those who were greatly affected by the disruption caused from the march. I understand that there may be people out there who had to delay or cancel important health or pressing personal matters because of the strike. I hope they can sympathise with the overarching aim of the strike and do not feel personally targeted by the disruption. The strike started with a mass gathering held on College Green. There were a number of speakers, mostly comprising of young people (under 25). They expressed their passion and determination towards inciting swifter action towards de-carbonisation and divestment in fossil fuels. I really admired these young people's confidence and ability to stand in front of the hundreds of people gathered and speak so clearly. The talks often placed an emphasis on the responsibility of the government, but they did highlight the importance of the individuals choices and actions, as well as businesses and organisations.After these talks, people began gathering for the march, which would lead from College Green, down into the town centre, through Broadmead, past Cabot Circus shopping centre and back towards College Green via Baldwin street. The biggest thing that struck me during the march was the sheer number of people. At one point, the group I was with from Creative Youth Network paused to re-group while some new members joined the crew. As far as you could see down, and up the street there were people. Even after 20 minutes of being in the same place that was still the case. A seemingly never ending train of people declaring their love for the planet and the life that is on it! That moment helped to reassure me that I'm not some fanatical and scaremongering eco warrior, but just an average person who's wanting to show that they're desperate to keep this planet healthy. Attending the climate strike really helped to solidify the idea that this issue is no longer in the dark or just the circles of climate science. It is now widely in the public's eye, at least in Bristol, which feels like a healthy step towards making the positive changes required to limit global warming. I urge everyone reading this to continue to educate themselves and each other as much as they possibly can about this complex issue, and not to be complacent or think that the government will solve all. Ignorance gives politicians the space to fight old battles and not address today's pressing issues (climate change being a big part of these issues). If we ourselves are educated then we can build and support ideas which are objectively positive for this planet. You may be asking what can I do to learn more? Here's a few starting points: Read: Atmosphere of Hope by Tim FlanneryHow Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee Watch: Our Planet (series)An Inconvenient Truth 2 Learn: Your estimated carbon footprint: https://footprint.wwf.org.ukMore about the impact of what we choose to buy: https://www.ethicalconsumer.orgMore about seaweed farming: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/08/forests-of-seaweed-can-help-climate-change-without-fire/ Did you take part in the climate strike, by yourself or with the support of your organisation? What more can we do to support young people and make change happen, for our futures and theirs? Let us know in the comments below. How can we help?