Nelson Street, BS1 2EZ

Artist studios, rehearsal, dance and circus space and exhibition/venue space: 2008-


The old Bridewell police station is home to Artspace Lifespace (an artist led initiative that recycles vacant, under-used and problem properties into thriving active creative resources) and is now known as The Island. It is a self funded multi use arts facility and creation centre. This city centre project is unique in scale with artists using a whole block of ex-institutional buildings, comprised of and linked to the ex central Police station. The Island project includes several venues, a dance space, a circus training room, many studios and office spaces and a host of police cells available to hire for exhibitions and happenings. Home to 79 artists tenants and 100-200 space users on a daily basis.

‘There was that time when I was showing someone around the basements and a pigeon flew at me from the darkness. I’m still scared to go into that space, just in case it happens again!’

‘There was that time we put a Christmas tree in the doorway and a sign to say ‘Open Studios’, and set up a table with teas and coffees and lovely cup cakes. People were so interested in what we were doing and told us their memories of the time the space was used for its original purpose.’

‘There was a time I locked myself in the basement by mistake; the door shut behind me in the old police cells and I had to fill in a funding application on time. I sat on the concrete bed in the cell and typed away for hours in isolation. We got the funding!’

Status: Active.

Future: Landlord is Creative Youth Network.