Jacobs Wells Baths

Project Title

Jacobs Wells Baths

Project Dates

2016 - 2018

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In September 2016, Bristol City Council Property team approached Artspace Lifespace and offered us a temporary lease for the recently vacated Jacobs Wells Baths while exploring options for the buildings future.

Jacobs Wells Baths building has provided a unique opportunity for Artspace Lifespace to develop the work we do as an organisation in providing Access, Space, Logistics and Support for a vibrant creative community in Bristol and beyond. Thousands of commercial and industrial buildings are vacant and decaying in towns and cities all over the country. Many long-term empty properties stay that way for years, some even decades. We support place-based, creative problem solving that encourages the emergence of new spaces for participation, diversity, and experimentation in the community.

Artspace Lifespace’s main vision was to create a welcoming and open space for the local community and to support creativity in Bristol with a new hub at Jacobs Wells Baths. Working closely with the local community and all interested groups and arts organisations in the City, we have helped curate a very exciting programme of events, ranging from exhibitions, dance workshops and performances, art workshops, small to medium scale theatre shows and community events.

Councillor Estella Tincknell, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Culture, said: “This agreement with Artspace Lifespace will secure the building in the short term and breathe new life into this important community space. I am pleased that the focus for the future will be on creating an open space for the community to engage with local creatives and support a diverse programme of events and exhibitions.”

The main space has been used for dance and theatre rehearsals and performances as well as community events. The former Café area is the ‘Hub’ where artists and the local community can showcase work and share ideas. Jacobs Wells Community Hub has been heavily involved in securing the future of the building and have organised various community activities in the old Baths. We want to see the building flourish as a multi-use building that encompasses a wide variety of arts, culture and leisure activities; ideally with community and dance at it’s core.’’  Heather Watts, Jacobs Wells Community Hub.

In partnership with Jacobs Wells Community Hub and Vivid Regeneration Artspace ran a number of community consultation days with the following themes: Community, Dance & Arts, History & Heritage, Family Fun. The deadline for all expressions of interest in the Community Asset Transfer process was 5pm on Monday 3 July 2017. The council shortlisted two bidders,  Spike Island – A Bristol turner prize producing creative hub for contemporary art and design and Fusion Lifestyle a sports and leisure management organisation with a track record of restoring historic buildings. On 4 December Bristol City Council announced Fusion Lifestyle as the preferred bidder.

Artspace Lifespace will hand Jacobs Wells Baths back to Bristol City Council in March 2018. We are delighted to have helped facilitate the future of this building and look forward to its transformation.  If you would like further information regarding Jacobs Wells Baths, dance space, rehearsals, exhibition/space available or if you would like to volunteer please get in touch.

We are taking bookings until March 31 2018.

Bookings/viewings: jacobswellsbaths@artspacelifespace.com

Kathryn Chiswell Jones, Company Manager:   kathryn@artspacelifespace.com

FaceBook:  JWBaths.Centre       Twitter: JWBaths_Centre

Link: http://theislandbristol.com/about/news/

‘You’d be hard pushed to find a more collaborative, supportive and dynamic organisation as Artspace Lifespace. Working with them throughout the process of delivering Ice Road was an absolute joy – we were supported at every stage, and there was always someone there to offer assistance or advice, whether on build, administration, marketing or more. The team positively went out of their way to help make the project a success on our behalf, and for this we will be forever grateful. With their dynamic approach, no fears attitude and dedication to the space, Artspace Lifespace has enabled art, dance and theatre in this beautiful historic building before it is transformed into a leisure facility. We cannot recommend the organisation highly enough and look forward to working with them again in the future’.

Claire Sklelcey,
Raucous – Communications Director