A space to create

  • By Avant Cymru
  • 12 Dec, 2017

Research day in Bristol

Avant have a fantastic opportunity to rehearse shows in the beautiful Park and Dare. However trying to organise meetings and office space on a day to day basis is a challenge, as there is limited space for this type of activity in our rehearsal home. We often find ourselves running around to find reliable wifi. We also regularly look for spaces to teach dance, spaces we can train on a regular basis, spaces where we can play music and that has a suitable floor. 
To be as productive as possible we need an office space, a place where we can hold meetings and a place where we can invite potential partners and community members to work with us. 
But space costs money, as individuals we don't have large pockets and we know that public funding is hard to gain. So if we are to have a space to call home (when we are not rehearsing) we need to make the space sustainable. But how do we do this?
Today Tommy, Ahmed and Rachel (part of the 'Blue Scar' Crew) took a trip around Bristol. We went to visit four dance studios in different buildings to see what they offer and how they are sustainable. 
One thing we remarked is that in Wales's (or at least in the Rhondda) our rundown, unused buildings are done, but Bristol really know how to make their rundown, unused building fun! 70's office blocks, old factorys, old fire stations turned into community venues - which showcase professional artists work and create areas to train and network. 
The amazing thing is that the Bristol venues do this with energy, colour and with out of the box thinking. The results are that walls become art space, tables become places to play, seats places you can swing on, pianos and unused items all accessible for sharing. In a couple of venues they had pop up shops for emerging artists to sell their work, there were galleries, cafes, health centres and bars, sharing office and dance studio space - all independent businesses and artists under one roof helping each other. 
At Avant we love collaboration, for example we are working with Afon Community Dance, Break It Down and Illuminations dance to run classes and workshops. We have been working with Rufus Mufasa and Millimagic to promote Rufus's new album. If we were to find a suitable home we would want it to be a joint home for these artists, new artist friends/colleagues and our community. A space where we can come together to create, learn and celebrate the art work in the valleys. 
We have been busy writing a business plan with our mentors at Promo Cymru, thanks toEnterprising Solutionsand Interlink. Today has given us plenty of food for thought and has been inspiring. We may not have large pockets, but we have passion, planning and potential and an artistic space for us to call home, feels a large step closer. 
Thank you Bristol. 

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