Realised during covid restrictions in summer / autumn 2020 FACILITY converted the huge 2nd floor of the former Gardiner Haskins department store in Bristol, into a site of facilitation and (due to it's large open-plan nature) a space that allowed managed interaction, turning the space and the actual fabric of the building into an asset for the community, at a time when space, resources and social interaction were all very limited. The empty building was put to use through the creation of a range of different functional spaces that were free for both artists (taking place in the building's wider exhibition, Centre of Gravity) and the community of Bristol to use - the spaces included;

Community Free Space
Social Action Print Workshop
Maker Space
Salvage Area
Plant Nursery
Labour Bureau
Radical Resilience Reading Room

FACILITY and it’s component parts were conceived and devised by Tim Knowles. It was all brought together as an ambitious installation, made entirely with materials recycled from the Building;  Racking from the building’s loading bay is utilised to created raised planting beds beside tall windows, stairs and elevated walkways raise visitors into a new realm above the store’s suspended ceiling accessing the nursery and linking to the mezzanine levels, Display panels from the HiFi / TV department, timber from haberdashery shelves, found paint, screws, electrical and lighting fittings, all recycled and put to use.

FACILITY COMMUNITY FREE SPACE was comprised of a large open plan space which was programmed & bookable, it hosted a wide range of events including; Rising Arts Agency's Performance/Conversation; Key Note Listeners, discussions by the Radical Resilience Reading Circle, a parkour workshop by local youth mental health charity OTR, a Heath Bunting workshop & other workshops, larger meetings and talks, alongside social distanced experimental music events organised with support from live music venue St Georges.

FACILITY PRINT was run by print lecturers and students Jo Barnfield, Sarah Bradicich & Csilla Biro and was modelled on radical social action print workshops of the 70s such as; London Poster Workshop and Paddington Printshop – printing posters, leaflets and flyers for community & environmental issues, projects, events and campaigns. A varied schedule of different printing workshops, drop in sessions allowed the public to try including; screen print, letterpress, dry point, cyanotype and artist book making.

FACILITY SALVAGE gathered and housed a wide array of materials salvaged from the building; timber and sheet material, fixtures and fittings, brackets, old abandoned products, stripped out lighting and electrical fittings and any other usable items left over in the building. All for use in the installations of other artists, to be up-cycled in the maker space or just taken away and used by the public. Any left-over materials and items were free to take at the end of the project.

FACILITY MAKER SPACE a workshop space with tools, equipment, tables and work benches to up-cycle materials from the building and elsewhere, converting them into functional items for the artists in the build up to the show and then for public use. A number of workshops were run using the space and salvaged materials such as a women’s woodwork workshop in collaboration with Bristol furniture maker Clare Canon.

FACILITY GARDEN / PLANT NURSERY utilises decks constructed in front of the large south facing windows, to create a number of growing spaces for edible and non edible plants propagated from seeds and cuttings; fruits, salads and vegetables, trees & shrubs to house plants, which were all tended during the project and given away in the final days.

FACILITY LABOUR BUREAU – Both an artworks and practical database of artists skills, matching jobs to those with relevant skills.

FACILITY also hosted the Radical Resilience Reading Room by curator/producer Celia Turley and a number of Radical Resilience Reading Circle events which were held in the Community Space. The secluded, wood panelled, reading room was situated on the mezzanine level, contained comfortable seating, with elegant shelves housing reading materials related to the theme of resilience in the face of the climate emergency.
Tim Knowles Studio
Unit 3, Bannerman Buildings, 8-10 Bannerman Road,   Bristol   BS5 0RR   UK

+44 (0) 7887 566156