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Spike Island Open 2013
Spike Island is not just a gallery or a café – it’s a place where art is made, exhibited and discussed. On any given day, artists are working away in studios, designers and other creative practitioners are running their businesses and students are learning. It’s unlike any other organisation in the United Kingdom, both for those based here and for visitors who engage directly with these people, processes and conversations through our public programme.
The popular annual Spike Island Open weekend returns for the first May bank holiday weekend, offering visitors a glimpse into its thriving creative ecology and the opportunity to explore behind the scenes of this 80,000 sq ft former Brooke Bond tea packing factory.
While over 75 artists are based at Spike Island, they exhibit work, undertake residencies, carry out projects and teach around the country and the world: Maia Conran was selected for the Standpoint Futures residency programme in London, Katy Connor contributed to an exhibition at this year’s Transmediale festival in Berlin, and Emma Stibbon spent five weeks making new work in Antarctica this winter. Since last year’s Open, 15 new artists have taken up studio spaces, including multimedia artist Paul Harrington, University of the West of England Graduate Fellows Sebastian Jefford and Menna Cominetti, and Room 13 Hareclive, an independent artists’ group run by and for young people.
This year’s Open focuses on showcasing the production and processes that make Spike Island such a dynamic hub, and visitors are encouraged to get involved themselves. Groups and organisations based in the building run special events designed to introduce their work: try out your own creative skills in one of our hands-on activities, chill out in the Associates space, see an exhibition or get into a debate with one of the presenters at Speakers’ Corner. Pop-up cafés around the building offer a variety of meals, snacks and treats for visitors in need of refreshments.
The weekend kicks off with the second annual Harbourside Arts Night on Friday 3 May, which sees Spike Island join forces with neighbouring arts venues M Shed, Arnolfini, Works|Projects and Bristol Diving School to present an evening of new art. Everyone comes together from 9pm at Spike Island for an afterparty featuring drinks, dancing and music from special guest Bobby Tank, plus DJ sets by the Howling Owl Records gang and Randek.
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Venue: Spike Island
→ Bedminster 16 min walk