In the Meanwhile is a project organised by Little Lost Robot CIC and Bath Spa Uni, working with Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES) Council, to bring temporarily redundant shop spaces into productive use. The pandemic and subsequent economic crisis has seen a large number of shops in the city centre become empty; these vacated spaces are highly visible. In the Meanwhile seeks to support the council to reinvigorate these spaces during this interim period.
In the summer of 2021, a vacant shop (gap Kids) on the high street (Milsom St) in Bath was transformed into an experimental space to showcase and platform the work and research in the city, pulling together work from Bath Spa University’s innovation space, The Studio at Palace Yard Mews, graduate space Emerge, and School of Art,along with Bath Fringe, Ramshackalicious, Lost Robot, and 45 freelance artists. The project proved to be tremendously popular with students, shoppers, and families, bringing a focus on creative practice and research to the high street. This project was an adaptation of Lost Robots’ ACE-funded “Playable Cities” project – made when it became clear that this was the safest, easiest way to get work into the public during the pandemic.
Over the project duration (six weeks) up to 2,500 people visited the space, despite covid restrictions. One attendee commented “What an inspirational creative space, an opportunity to step away from the craziness of the world and into ourselves and art, so beautiful”.
Phase two of In the Meanwhile acted as an action research project, not only populating empty units with vibrant exciting work but assessing the role of art, culture and creative responses in reinvigorating and repurposing the high street.
In the Meanwhile created a network of mutual support in Bath by pairing mid-career artists with recent graduates and freelancers, in a shared workspace. Gave access to technological and curatorial support for mid-career artists making a creative shift, including an on-call Creative Technologist and support from creative computing students. Supported artists to develop work towards producing larger commissions.
Produced a winter Light Trail occupying empty spaces In the Meanwhile helped us research how to develop and maintain a mutually self-sustaining creative ecology across Bath and North East Somerset.