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 When to let young people mess it up My job depends on our belief as a society that we can make things better. Most of the public and charity sector do the same. Billions of pounds are spent every year to support troubled families, disengaged young people, offenders and many others who have just had a bad start in life. And of course it is right that we should try to help. We know that relationships, advice, guidance and opportunities help us all to make our lives better and avoid the pitfalls of life. But what if sometimes we need to be left to mess it up? All of us in the ‘industry’ can tell you that our interventions and help don’t always have an impact. Sometimes you can bend over backwards and see nothing change. In fact sometimes we need to be careful that a young person might tell us what we want to hear – ‘yes, I know I need to deal with my anger’ or ‘I know I need to build my confidence’ but later in the day do something that you and they know does completely the opposite. "Just 38% of youth with a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar receive treatment services." https://t.co/lcI4gaYhPw — Sandy Hook Promise (@sandyhook) September 20, 2016 This can, of course, be very painful to watch and can result in disastrous consequences - anything from prison sentences to pregnancy or drug addiction. Morally, we should never stop trying. But counterintuitively, very disengaged young people often see interventions from professionals only as negative. Despite the intention and quality of the work by a social or youth worker their involvement is seen as an annoyance at best and at worst confirms the self loathing of the recipient. Whilst we might know that returning to school, getting counselling or rebuilding a relationship with your family might be a good thing a young person in the midst of a crisis might see it as criticism or judgment of them. Young people living in a 'suspended adulthood', research finds https://t.co/Rn5ih0gZ48 — Guardian Students (@gdnstudents) September 22, 2016 Like a drowning person, sometimes diving in to save them only forces them under more quickly and may take the other with them. The advice to anyone trying to rescue that drowning person is to throw them a line. They may be able to take it and pull themselves back or not. This metaphor extends to a relationship with a vulnerable person. It maybe that simply maintaining contact is all you can do but that it can take years for someone to reach for that lifeline. But by consistently pulling and tugging that young person in the direction you think is best may simply cut the lifeline or relationship they could grab when they are ready. It is a high risk strategy and one that you should only take when you’ve exhausted all other options. But it is a strategy, I think, that is worth discussing if only to help us help others in the long run.