Category Archives: News

We’ll meet again

Due to the Covid-19 Crisis, The Island is now temporarily closed until further notice. We hope to reopen our artist studios as soon as possible but in order to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, studio-holders, visitors and the wider public all events are cancelled and access to the studios restricted until further notice to discourage unnecessary travel. We are operating with a small core staff.  Any urgent enquiries should be sent to



Financial support for artists

If you are an artist check out Arts Council England Financial support for artists, creative practitioners and freelancers

Good news for a.n members as they are bringing forward the application for the next round of a-n Artist Bursaries, which for this round will focus on giving artists time and space to continue to make work. a.n also has useful info and resources

Financial support for businesses and the self employed

Info on the support the government is putting in place for businesses and the self-employed.

Wellbeing support

Mind has a comprehensive list of resources to help you with your wellbeing.

Try a meditation to help with Covid-19 stress.

Check out this comprehensive list of upcoming livestreams from Katherine Jewkes.

Paint the picture, learn the language, write the poem, pick up the instrument, sing a new song, get fit, learn to cook, sit and chill, connect with your neighbours, facetime your family.


Stay well, stay safe, we’ll miss you

The Island and Artspace Lifespace team  

You can follow our posts on @artspaceuk on twitter / facebook and instragram and @theislandbristol on facebook and instagram


COVID 19 – Artspace Lifespace Venue Events Cancelled


In order to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff, tenants, members and visitors, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel public events until further notice at all our Artspace Lifespace venues.

We are cancelling public events at Ashton Court Mansion, Lockdown Venue at The Island, SPACE Gallery and The Vestibules with immediate effect until the end of April or as advised when government guidance is issued. We are sorry we are unable to offer you any guarantees as to when we may be able to open publicly again but we will issue updates every two weeks on our website and you can sign up to our monthly newsletter here: 

The Framing Shop, Dance Studio and Circus Studio at the Island will also be closed. Our artist studios will remain open. If you have booked individual rehearsal or workshop space, please liaise with the relevant venue manager and this will be risk assessed on a case by case basis. 

Our insurance does not cover us voluntarily closing, so if you can afford to do so, we would appreciate if you do request your booking is rescheduled rather than refunded.  We know many of you will have your own financial concerns at this time, so our normal amendment charges will not apply for any rescheduled bookings made between now and May. Please contact and if you wish to reschedule a booking or to request a cancellation. Cancellation requests for bookings from June and beyond currently apply. 

If you love what we do, have the financial capacity to do, please also consider donating to Artspace Lifespace, a predominantly self-funded organisation

Stay safe, stay well, we will miss you.

Love from the Artspace Lifespace team including The Island, SPACE, The Vestibules and the Arts Mansion. 

The Island / Artspace Lifespace Covid-19 Guidance

Dear Island / Artspace Lifespace Community, 

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation evolves, Artspace Lifespace has been closely monitoring developments locally and globally. We are committed to keeping our employees, our artists and our audiences safe. At this time, all of our spaces and offices remain open and we have no plans to close. All events will proceed as planned. 

We’re following official guidance from local government in order to support the health and wellbeing of our community. Should there be any changes to the current status, we will take account of any recommendations from the relevant authorities, and implement all appropriate instructions accordingly. We ask that you join us in helping keep our spaces as prepared as possible. 


Sneeze / Cough like a Vampire – Cough or Sneeze into your elbow.
Dispose of used tissues – & wash your hands, germs can filter through tissues
Wash your hands frequently – Wash thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser gel
Disinfect your PC keyboard and mobile phone
Avoid touching your face – Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Be conscious of the space you are using – if renting a studio for your own classes and/or rehearsals, encourage a clean transition as the next group enters the room.
Avoid close contact with people who are unwell – And avoid being around others if you are unwell.
Get advice if you are concerned or show symptoms – and alert 

We encourage staff, artists, performers and patrons to stay home if they present symptoms. We have a number of people using the building who have health issues. Taking precautions not only protects yourself but respects the concerns and wellbeing of others. 

The single most important way to help us stay safe from COVID-19 is this one: Wash your hands! Informational signs are displayed in every toilet with information on best practices to promote health and prevent the spread of infection. 

As we know in arts, it takes a village. We truly need your attention and help to stay as prepared as possible. 

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support! 

All of us at Artspace Lifespace / The Island. 

Artspace Lifespace and The Invisible Circus – one of only 12 applicants awarded Imagination funding in 2020-22

‘Imagination’ is one of the three funds available through Bristol City Council’s 2018 to 2022 Cultural Investment Programme: Artspace Lifespace and The Invisible Circus were one of only twelve applications to win funding from the highly competitive investment programme which received more than 50 applications.

“The imagination funding is hugely helpful to us as small mainly self-funded arts organisations. We joined forces with our sister organisation The Invisible Circus to share resources across both of our organisations. The funding we receive has enabled us to hire a part-time Development Officer and Inclusion Officer both of which enables us to increase our organisation’s resilience as well as develop our arts offer. Past imagination funding enabled us to apply for further funding which allowed us to run  our free drop-in class through SPACE “Crafting communities” which attendees said helped lift them, keep them going through difficult times and stave off depression as well as help them express themselves in creative ways. Over the past two years, our Inclusion Team developed the Halt Harassment campaign with learning and sharing sessions at The Loco Klub and we look forward to sharing this learning more widely through outreach activities in 2020-2022” said Kathryn Chiswell Jones, Company Manager at Artspace Lifespace.

Sarah Pugh, Company Manager at The Invisible Circus and The Loco Klub, said, “Developing our spaces with people at the heart of them is hugely important to us and inclusion is a huge part of that.  Our focus on creating an inclusive space is helping us provide “a place where people from the LGBTQ+ community could come together and dance the night away” (quote from Erektek, Bristol 247). We’re delighted that our drive to create an inclusive project is bearing fruit, and we are also committed to improving accessibility in our venues. Last year we received the bronze Attitude is Everything award at The Loco Klub and are working on achieving a silver rating in 2020-22. We aim to improve our facilities and residency offering to emerging artists at our Circus HQ Unit 15 and The Loco Klub through our Launchpad programme. which our Development Officer, supported by the Imagination Fund, will be helping us expand over the next two years. We are also focusing on creating more resilience and a long term funding strategy for Invisible Youth, a strand of The Invisible Circus dedicated to social circus, predominantly at Felix Road Playground in Easton.”

BBC Bristol recently questioned whether Bristol City Council should be funding the arts when health, social care and SEND provision are all under pressure. The arts and heritage have significant potential to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. The effect Loneliness has on your health is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015) and the positive impact of the arts to counter loneliness and provide mental care is being recognised. A new £4.5m Govt scheme is prescribing arts activities instead of anti-depressants and a national study of Aesop found that two thirds of GPs believe engagement with the arts can make a significant contribution towards preventing ill health. Creative Health: The Arts for Health & Wellbeing report found that Arts on prescription projects resulted in a 37% drop in GP consultation rates and a 27% drop in hospital emissions. Music Therapy reduces agitation and the need for medication in 67% of people with dementia. 

Cuts are being made to the arts because of the need to focus scarce municipal resources on the rising demand for social care. Neighbouring Bath lost the B&NES Council Arts Development service one year ago. We are lucky that Bristol City Council still recognises the value of the arts and delighted to have been selected as one of the twelve organisations they have been able to support through imagination funding. The arts are not just ‘nice to have’ services. Whilst the government is promoting arts on prescription, artists and small arts organisations don’t have the backing of big phama wages to pay their rent and food bills. Our local councils should be supported by central government in helping even more arts organisations get the funding they need to survive to provide arts and culture, with or without prescription.  

The Island 2020 Residency Offering

The Island is the longest running project of Artspace Lifespace. We offer artist residency opportunities to develop specific or open-ended projects and to test works in progress. 

For 2020 we have 9 residency opportunities across 3 rooms in The Island.

  • 3 residencies in the Dance Space
  • 3 residencies in the Gallery Space
  • 3 residencies in the Circus Training Space

Residencies will be scheduled throughout the year and are subject to room availability. This opportunity is open to artists working across art forms from Bristol and beyond. 

What we offer:

  • Access to up to 20 hours of space in kind support (free)
  • A letter of support for funding applications or for your work in general
  • Your work can be featured on our website
  • Ongoing artists support from our Management Team

What we require:

  • Our Artspace Lifespace logo and website on any publicity, promotion material, PR, images or video work at the end of the project.
  • A letter of support for Artspace Lifespace and your experience of working with us
  • Audience and Participation Data collection

Plus one or more of the below:

  • A final piece showing (scratch event)
  • A talk or Q&A open to other artists
  • Mentoring a young artist (time)

Download the  Residency Application Pack.

2018 Impact Report

Thank you!

Thank you to all of those who made it to our AGM this year and to all the artists, tenants, performers and exhibitors who contributed so much to making Bristol a vibrant place to be. If you didn’t make it  to our AGM and want to find our more about what impact Artspace Lifespace and The Island made in 2017-2018 please have a read through our annual impact report.

ASLS Impact Report 2018

Artspace Lifespace Accounts for YE 30 September 2018

What lies beneath the South Lawn at Ashton Court Estate?

Summer opportunities to get involved in archaeological excavations

Be an Archaeologist for the Day!

Residents across Bristol and the surrounding area have a rare opportunity to pick up their shovels and try their hand at archaeology on an iconic Bristol landmark – Ashton Court Estate. Members of the general public are invited to participate in the dig taking place over the summer, providing a rare chance to engage with and uncover elements of the property’s long and varied history.

On a series of heritage days between 23rd June and 18th July 2019, a community archaeological investigation will be conducted to investigate the results of a geophysical survey carried out in 2018. During last year’s dry summer parch, marks appeared on the South Lawn at Ashton Court, hinting at a hidden history waiting to be uncovered. A geophysical survey of the lawn identified possible archaeological remains that took the form of potential rooms.

An 18th-century engraving of the mansion reveals a wing that no longer exists but was removed during alterations to the Court when the current double frontage of the building was under construction. The South Lawn’s scorch marks may identify this forgotten wing. It is also anticipated that some contemporary garden features may also be waiting to be uncovered.

Several Bristol schools have been invited to participate in the excavation as part of Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme. Students will learn about the rich heritage of the grand Ashton Court buildings and have the chance to experience hands-on excavation.

The excavation is being conducted by Archeoscan ( with the permission of Bristol City Council and supported by Artspace Lifespace and Historic England.  All archaeology experiences must be pre-booked for a fee of £30pp per day. For more information or to participate in the excavation, please contact Archeoscan (

Jacob Wells Baths Centre, Hotwells, Bristol

Jacobs Wells Baths – six more months of dance, theatre and performance

Artspace Lifespace remain at the Baths while the plans for the building are determined. 
Following a cabinet decision to pass the Baths on to Fusion Lifestyle, it was expected that the lease at Jacobs Wells Baths would be completed by March 2018, subject to the council receiving an acceptable and sustainable full business plan, with essential repairs to be undertaken within six months. While Fusion finalise their ambitious plans to restore the building, the Council has asked Artspace Lifespace to manage the building until October 2018. A fund from Quartet enabled Artspace Lifespace to keep the Baths running throughout winter and we can now look forward to a final summer of performance at the former dance centre.
Making their UK debut at Jacobs Wells Baths as part of Mayfest, Contact Gonzo bring their unique, playful, jaw-dropping physical style to Bristol on the 12th and 13th May. The Baths is also hosting Emily-Souter Johnson develop her show Polyester as she gets ready for her autumn tour. Jacobs Wells Baths is now open for bookings until October 2018.
Contact us for bookings/viewings:
FaceBook:  JWBaths.Centre
Twitter: JWBaths_Centre