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Imagining a Future for Jacobs Wells Baths

by <object object at 0x7fc0b5e5c580> last modified 24/03/2023 10:48 AM

jack Offord

Photo credit: Ice Road by Raucous, Jack Offord, Jacobs Wells Baths

"Bristol is brimming with dance talent in many forms, and it is well overdue for a dedicated space of its own" Deborah Baddoo MBE, Bristol Dance Futures Producer

Former dance centre and Victorian swimming pool, Jacobs Wells Baths has recently been saved from potential disposal by Bristol City Council following their announcement to launch an open process for expressions of interests to manage the building via a Community Asset Transfer.

In 2019-21 we were part of Bristol Dance Futures, a consortium dedicated to building dance profile, capacity and infrastructure in Bristol. The project highlighted the rich potential of dance in the city and created legacies including cross-sector working across health and community development.

We asked Bristol Dance Futures Producer, Deborah Baddoo MBE, to reflect on the project and to share how it could help reimagine a community space, such as Jacobs Wells Baths.

"During my time as producer for Bristol Dance Futures it was clearly evident that there is a huge gap in terms of a dance specific space in Bristol.

Obviously, it is important to bring dance into other organisations who may not normally have access to dance activity, but there is a thriving dance community throughout the city, hiring commercial studios, performing in unsuitable spaces and trying to book spaces in venues for rehearsals, classes and workshops.

Post Covid-19, now more than ever, the powers that be are recognising the valuable role that dance and indeed all the arts have on helping individuals on their journey to wellbeing and the special role that dance has in connecting people, improving mobility, releasing stress and enhancing creativity, to name only a few of the benefits of dance.

A dedicated dance space such as Jacobs Wells Baths has potential to be a place where many exciting initiatives can flourish, a networking space for dance, a rehearsal space, and importantly hub for dance and wellbeing activity in the city.

Dance in Bristol has gone through many changes and manifestations over the last 25 years, but these have always tended to be piecemeal, short-lived initiatives having limited long-term impact for the sector as a whole.

Bristol is brimming with dance talent in many forms, and it is well overdue for a dedicated space of its own. A dedicated space will help enable the dance sector in Bristol to continue to grow and be a catalyst for exciting new developments and a much needed home for dance in this vibrant city."

Deborah Baddoo MBE, Dance Producer

If you would like to join a conversation on what the future for Jacob Wells could be, please click here.

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