Sparks Bristol

M&S Broadmead to be transformed into temporary arts and sustainability hub

Global Goals Centre and Artspace Lifespace are delighted to announce that they will be working together to create an exciting new art and sustainability hub in Broadmead – Sparks Bristol.

The ambition is to create a vibrant, positive venue where local people and visitors can shop, recycle, and explore what a greener, fairer and creative future could look like, breathing new life into the old M&S building on a ‘meanwhile use’ basis until the site is redeveloped. The building will be used as a hub for local artists including an artist R&D space, as well as a reuse shop providing recycled goods, repair, and education projects for schools. There will be installations, stalls and workshops to demonstrate how to take easy, (and often money-saving) actions on climate, equality and wellbeing – the themes of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The site will aim to open to the public in April 2023 with the ambition of running this pilot initiative for at least six months. The project welcomes support from all parts of the community – sign up here.

Image: Global Goals Centre

What benefits can Sparks Bristol bring?

  • Helping address the Climate and Ecological Emergencies and Net Zero 2030 city targets

We cannot reach our city target of net zero in Bristol unless we have much wider buy-in and participation from across the city. In the UK, households account for 30% of carbon emissions and businesses for another 30%, so offering easy and affordable ways for people and businesses to play their part in addressing the climate emergency is vital. Upskilling young people and the public in creative repair and reuse enables them to save money and resources in the long term, vital skills in the current cost of living crisis.

The incubation space for innovative ideas will help green the city to reach climate and ecological targets and improve health and wellbeing.

  • Addressing climate anxiety and skills needed by young people

There is currently little space within the school curriculum to address the climate crisis and inequalities, real life issues that impact hugely on children and young peoples’ wellbeing and future. Consultation with schools has demonstrated there is a huge demand beyond curriculum input, as well as addressing the new climate science curriculum. Providing positive and money-saving solutions and showcasing innovation also benefits the wellbeing of young people and the wider public.

  • Providing affordable space for local artists and groups working across culture

There is a chronic lack of affordable space to make and develop art in Bristol resulting in many artists leaving the city or being unable to work. Bristol’s vibrant and diverse culture is central to the quality of life of those of us who live and work here and integral to the future economic prosperity of the entire region. Our culture is part of who we are, what makes our towns and cities unique and shapes our environment and communities must be at the heart of sustainable urban development.

Artspace Lifespace Company Manager Kathryn Chiswell Jones said “We are feeling really inspired by our upcoming partnership with Global Goals Centre and the opportunity to showcase tangible, positive alternatives, a centre where people can come to dream, learn practical tools and collectively devise a greener, fairer and more creative future for everyone. Huge thanks to Hammond & Associates who have been working with us since 2021 to find a suitable building. We will be working closely with our sister company The Invisible Circus and other creative partners across the city.” 

Global Goals Centre Project Lead Jenny Foster agrees, “This is a unique opportunity to bring together organisations and individuals from across the city to pilot new ways in which the heart of Bristol could change to better serve our community and address the climate, ecological and cost of living crises.”

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “Since the store closed earlier this year we have been working hard to find an appropriate meanwhile use for the old M&S building until a longer-term plan is ready. Artspace Lifespace and the Global Goals Centre are two great local organisations and I’m glad that they’ll be putting both arts and sustainability at the heart of re-animating the space. I look forward to seeing the new hub open from April next year.”

With thanks to Bristol City Council, and to Womble Bond Dicksonson, Burges Salmon, Gleeds, Alec French Architects and Hydrock who are supporting this project by providing pro-bono advice. We are looking for other partners and sponsors for this project and welcome public support. You can register your interest as an organisation, or individual through this link sign up here.