It has been a pleasure to bring work together for some amazing Bristol artists to join the other artwork and events at Prilic. Here is just a small sample of the work from Stepehen Quick, J.West, John Curtis, Grise Malayerba, Jimmer Willmott, Mary Rouncefield, Sophie Long, Zase, Decay, Julian Quaye, Ron, Nick Harvey and DIFF. We also have work from DNT and Paul Sargent.
I had a chat with Josh from Impermanence Dance Theatre company about how the exhibition came about.
1. How did Prilic come about?
PRILIC has come about with the news that Jacobs Wells Baths (or Bristol Dance Centre) is going to be turned into a leisure centre next year…
‘We’ve organised PRILIC as a way to commemorate the Baths and it’s history, offer local people making art an opportunity to exhibit their work, raise a question around what we consider to be private and public at this moment, and ring out 2017.’
2. What is happening with Jacobs Wells Baths?
In March ’18 Fusion Lifestyle will begin the long and drawn out process of turning it into a leisure centre of some description, which we and many others are very dissappointed about. Of course there are worse things in the world than a swimming pool and gym, but our concerns and grievances are around three main points.
Firstly, a Community Asset Transfer should in theory place City Council properties in the care of local communities when the council can no longer afford to run them… with the intention being to empower local communities and keep buildings owned by the city in public use. The Baths have been given to Fusion Lifestyle – an Essex based nationally active organisation with a multi-million pound turnover who pay their top people in excess of £200k and have property all over the country. In one sense they will provide what much of the local community have asked for – and we know many people are ecstatic about the proposed new swimming pool – but, it will be run by a group who have absolutely no ties, links or real commitment to Bristol, aside from winning new contracts and making more money.
Secondly, there is the long standing problem of Dance in Bristol… for those that know, it is a problem that has been around for a very long time, and for some bizarre reason, Bristol has got less on offer to support dance, as an art-form and activity for everyone to participate in then almost every other city in the UK… Swindon for example has far better provision, as does Bath Ipswich and Newcastle. Loosing the Jacobs Wells Baths at a time when austerity is still the tune of the day and investment for buildings in the arts is hard to come by, means that the development of dance in Bristol suffers another massive setback.
Thirdly, this decision feels like part of a changing tide in how we think about public provision… with the NHS being sold off bit by bit, so the analogy is complete with companies like Fusion Lifestyle picking up buildings around the country when Councils can’t afford to run them. It’s privatisation via the back door, as a result of the conscious underfunding Councils have to deal with, it seems to us to be part of an idealogical transfer of wealth from the state to individuals, which is both sad and unsettling for the future.
3. What will be happening over the event?
Please see our lovely flyer…
4. What are impermanence doing?
We’re going to be in the space from the 11-15th, working on some new material that we’ll share on Friday. We’d like to invite anyone who is interested to join us and have a conversation or join in with making some work.
5. Anything else?
A huge thank you to Karen Van Hoey Smith (and you Gilli!) for support in putting the event on, and to all the incredible people who have exhibited work. It’s amazing to see how many people engage with the arts and are excited by opportunities to share what they’ve done. I hope we can find new spaces and ways to do so in the future.