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. For young people Good Grief - Creative Showcase 2020 The blossoming of creativity and young people’s resilience It’s been quite a three years. Since 2017, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), we have provided new opportunities for young people across the city, reaching into areas we weren’t delivering in previously. The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) has enabled us to support the personal development of hundreds of young people aged 11-18 across Bristol, building their skills and confidence that will, over time, enable them to achieve their potential. The golden thread running throughout our delivery was creativity. An investment in creative youth workers who have used their professional arts skills to inspire young people to explore the world around them through creativity and embedding those workers within our neighbourhood youth work teams. Why creativity? The recognition that creative activities in safe settings, combined with supportive relationships with youth workers, enables self-expression. Combining the opportunity to learn new skills such as problem solving, all while creating something to proudly showcase shared learning and achievements, is the perfect recipe to build confidence and resilience. Bringing creativity into young lives where arts and culture is often inaccessible is hugely important. Short courses in film making or animation, dance or theatre, music or print making, spoken word or textiles help develop skills and interest and unlock talent in young people with different experiences and stories to share. Over the three years we have: offered 65 creative courses enjoyed by 540 young people taken creativity into 785 youth club, school or outreach sessions, across 15 different venues reached 2650 young people with new opportunities to creatively explore the issues important to them partnered with Bristol Mshed, Bristol City Museum and Cabot Circus Shopping Centre to share their work in professional settings We have worked with 4 smaller organisations rooted within their communities, collaborating in reaching a diversity of young people. Our Somali girls group, co-hosted with Barton Hill Settlement, worked with Bristol’s City Poet and Travelling Light Theatre to bring alive, through spoken word, their hopes of growing up in Bristol. Overall we have engaged more than 3,000 young people. Working in partnership Over the three years we’ve worked with other regional YIF funded organisations, combining our learning and resources to increase impact. Last November, we brought together young people from all our communities to spend time with funders, commissioners and influencers in Bristol and the wider region, reimagining how youth services respond to emerging needs. Together we’ve broken down silos and built solidarity. Whilst it’s not possible to capture here the extraordinary blossoming of young people’s creativity and confidence over three years, our final, and biggest, showcase of work by young people on recent Creative Courses demonstrates and celebrates their achievements. It captures what is possible when young people are nurtured to develop skills and resilience through creativity. We’ve very much valued working in this way and want to do far more to harness the power of creative youth work. Our thanks to all the young people we involved, our partners and collaborators, and particularly the National Lottery Community Fund and DCMS for their innovative funding approach which, the evidence shows, has brought significant benefit to some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged young people in Bristol. In these challenging times the young people we work with need creativity in their lives more than ever. Will you support us so that we can continue providing creative opportunities for young people? Donate now How can we help?