Sparks Bristol Update

Along with our partner Global Goals Centre we’ve been busy at our new project, Sparks Bristol, getting our heads around all the things that come with taking on a new building such intruder alarms, access keys and codes, plumbing and some urgent repairs. We were delighted that the community champions came to take a look around the building to share their ideas on how it would be best used. We’ve also had fun checking how good the floor is for skating (it’s excellent!), flying a video drone for survey purposes and working out how we’ll arrange local access to our cargo bike.

John Hosken has joined the Artspace Lifespace team as Sparks Project Manager. We caught up to him to see how he’s getting on.

What was your first day at Sparks like? Cold! The building had only just been handed over to us so there was no heating and lots of maintenance happening. For the most part I spent the day getting used to the vast layout and thinking about what needed to happen in terms of H&S. Not the most exciting stuff, but it all lays the ground for the exciting things to come. 

Have you worked on a project like this before? I’ve worked for other arts organisations so there are parallels in the work, but certainly nothing on this scale! Being so vast and multi-use there are lots of challenges to overcome, but there are also lots of possibilities which could have huge impact given all the things we’re hoping to run at Sparks. 

What do you look forward to seeing happen in the building? The whole building is going to be hugely beneficial, but I think a special mention is needed for the shop floor which is in partnership with Global Goals Centre. There will focus on ethical, sustainable and reuse shopping and a workshop space where people can host small events that align with the ethos of the building. The creative team are working on a grand opening and the store layout, so it will be really exciting to see that all come together. 

What has surprised you about the role?
Definitely all the support and knowledge from the ASLS and Global Goals Centre teams. In other organisations I’ve worked there can be a baptism of fire so I was expecting more of that. There is lots to do, but the collective support and sharing of values within the team here makes a really great working environment.

How did you come into contact with Artspace Lifespace?I heard about ASLS when I was looking for aerial training spaces in Bristol. That was about ten years ago and I’ve been a Circus Space member ever since. It’s a fantastic little central venue with a really lovely community of artists. 

Sparks Project Manager John Hosken