Category Archives: News

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

Journalism work experience at The Island

One day, a bubbly and enterprising first year UWE student from Manchester rang our office to ask whether The Island could support her with some work experience. Read the full report of her experience with us here.

Katie attended the French Kiss club night on the 6th April. Find out how what she thought of it here.

Artspace Lifespace take on Ashton Court Mansion

While options are being considered for the future of Ashton Court Mansion, Artspace Lifespace (ASLS) has stepped in to take on the running of the mansion house from May 2018.

Artspace Lifespace is known for helping to find solutions for problem properties and transforming them into thriving creative resources. Kathryn Chiswell Jones, Company Manager said: “We are delighted to have been offered the opportunity to invigorate Ashton Court Mansion with arts activity over the next two years. This iconic estate is a hugely popular destination but many people have not been able to see inside the mansion. We look forward to opening up the mansion for a range of activities for everyone to enjoy”. Rachel Buchanan, ASLS Trustee said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to reimagine Ashton Court Mansion as a space for all. We hope that everyone will come and join in with the activities, and contribute to the discussions about the long term future of the estate for Bristol.”

Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig said: “We are delighted to be working with Artspace Lifespace to open up the mansion house to the public while decisions are made on its long term future.

“We know how important the mansion house is to the people of Bristol, and it will be fantastic to see it full of life again.”

Events at the mansion kick off on May 12th when Arts Mansion will host DJ Nick Terrific, and MC Rocky Patch’s Junior Jungle – the most uplifting and funniest family rave on the planet! This will be their last Junior Jungle in Bristol before they disappear into festival land, including the main stage at Camp Bestival!

Artspace Lifespace will be hosting a range of free family friendly exhibitions and activities from Saturday May 19th from 11-4pm. Exhibiting artists in the Great Hall, Panelled Lounges and Music Room include Les Matthews, Suzy Davis and Anthea K. Matthews; James Starr and Sophie Long; Tim Munson, Doug Francisco and Alana Ashley; and Island tenants Brook Tate, Jennie Cave and Toby Ross.

On May 19th Artspace Lifespace will be hosting The Arts Mansion Alternative Royal Wedding. You can view the royal nuptials on a big screen in the music room from 12pm and afterwards participate in an alternative wedding ceremony. Dress code: ‘wedding fabulous’ hats, flower in lapels, bridesmaid or wedding dresses, with a prize for the best dressed. The bar and Stables cafe will be open and you’re welcome to bring a picnic into the music room. On May 20th we will be hosting the first of our Games Sunday sessions from 11am to 4pm. We’re planning lots of other activities over the summer so keep an eye open for further announcements and feel free to get in touch with your own suggestions. Ashton Court Mansion Regular Opening Hours from 19 May will be Wednesday-Sunday: 11am-4pm.

Many thanks to Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and Womble Bond Dickinson for helping to arrange Artspace Lifespace’s tenure in the mansion.

The Great Hall is available to hire as a Gallery space, and the stunning music room and panelled lounges which overlook the south lawn are available to hire for rehearsals, workshops, classes and events.

To enquire about hiring the mansion from June 2018 then please contact:

Email address

@artsmansion (twitter and instragram)

Bristol Music Diaries

Was gig-going in Bristol a rite of passage for you as a teenager? Do you remember the banging tunes from some crazy club nights, or dancing the night away at one of the city’s brilliant festivals? We are looking for excerpts about music from your adolescent diaries to use at a very special takeover weekend in June, part of the Bristol Sounds: Seven decades of music exhibition launching at the M Shed museum.

To contribute to the project, just dig out that teenage diary and either tweet a photo, or directly type an excerpt, to @islandbristol, using #bristolmusicdiaries.  Alternatively, you can submit photos or the extracts you’re happy to share via the form below. Please include the date of your diary entry and your age at the time of writing, and confirm if you wish to be anonymous.

Bristol Music Diaries Form

A bedroom, covered with posters of Bristol gigs from across the years, will set the scene for live diary readings by professional poets Bridget Hart and Malaika Kegode.  There will be the chance to hear Bristol teenagers’ very own words recalling their musical highs and lows in the city, and there will also be live poetry performances on the day.


SPACE, Old Market Gallery


Old Market Gallery and workshop space  announces it will remain open for two more years.  

Old Market’s burgeoning reputation as a hotbed of culture seemed under threat with recent closures including the iconic Gin Palace, The Dutch and Trinity Community Arts saying farewell to 6 West Street after Bristol City Council announced they now needed to seek a commercial rent from the building. Happily the arts and community hub has had a reprieve with Artspace Lifespace announcing that they will be taking over the leasehold of 6 West Street until 2020.

Trinity Community Arts took on 6 West Street in 2011 via the city’s Community Asset Transfer (CAT) process on a ‘peppercorn’ leasehold in order to increase arts provision in Old Market at a time when the area was struggling with boarded up and vacant premises. In April 2016, Artspace Lifespace joined Trinity to develop SPACE (sound-performance-art-community-engagement) gallery on the ground floor.  

Project Manager, Karina Castro said: “We are very proud of what we’ve achieved with Arts West Side and are sorry that we aren’t able to continue this good work but are glad to see it will continue to be used as an arts space for the next couple of years. Thank you to everyone who has supported us since we took it on it 2011.”

Artspace Lifespace Company Manager Kathryn Chiswell Jones said: “We will miss having Trinity Community Arts as our partner. Thanks to Bristol City Council Property Team for offering 6 West Street to us at a reduced rent and Big Lottery Awards For All Funding for our Lifespace Together community classes, we are delighted that SPACE will provide an affordable gallery and rehearsal space in Bristol’s artisan quarter for another two years. ”

SPACE Gallery is available to hire for exhibitions, rehearsals or workshops.  

To enquire about hiring SPACE Contact:

07960 691500 (Phone monitored Mon to Wed)