Congratulations to Spike Island and Bristol Record Office for winning this year’s BAC cataloguing grant for business archives related to the arts. The two organisations have collaborated in putting together an impressive bid for the cataloguing of the Artspace Archive, which contains the records of the pioneering artist-led co-operative of printmakers, sculptors and painters set up in 1976 in former industrial warehouses next to Bristol’s docks. Spike Island (the expanded, successor organisation to Artspace opened in 1998) continues to organise regular public programmes of contemporary art and to host artists’ studios and spaces for small art and design related businesses.
The Artspace Archive sounds a fascinating collection to me. It will be of interest to practising artists who wish to explore the development of artistic practice as well as the economic sustainability of artist co-operatives. The archive has been deposited at Bristol Record Office to ensure its preservation and allow more people to have access to the collection. The knowledge and experiences of volunteers drawn from founder members of Artspace will add richness and extra depth to the cataloguing. I’m looking forward to seeing the completed version when it eventually goes online!