What is The Jam Jar?
The Jam Jar is a volunteer-led independent community arts space in the heart of Bristol. We transformed a derelict and dysfunctional warehouse unit into a totally unique creative space, where grassroots projects are born and a host of artistic mediums can be practiced, produced and performed. Our unit, 4A of The Old Malt House, now contains 12 separate creative studio spaces: 2 purpose-built music production studios, 3 multi-use practice rooms, 3 shared studio spaces, 4 private studio spaces, plus a roof terrace and a performance hall.
Over the last few years we have developed a substantial network of people who rely on the space to produce their work. We have seen creatives from all walks of life come in and hone their skills, producing incredible and diverse work. It brings us great pride to see our community work together and cross-pollinate disciplines to create.
What we do
The Jam Jar's sole aim is to support and promote grassroots and independent culture and creativity. We hire studio and desk spaces on a flexible basis to facilitate independent creatives. We provide community space for a wide range of artists, musicians, hobbyists and activists.
Historically, The Jam Jar is most known for its weekend shows. We are incredibly proud to have hosted artists from all over the world, whilst being equally proud of our diverse audiences. Over the years we have been able to consistently produce shows paying staff and artists fairly. We believe that without independent music and arts, the human experience will be a little less rich!
A beautiful place where you feel the team’s passion and love." -
STUFF. | Belgian CONTEMPORARY Jazz Superstars
Going from a derelict industrial space to a respected creative institution has not been a straightforward process. Driven by ambition, passion and a vision to leave a lasting stitch on Bristol’s cultural tapestry, the Jam Jar’s longstanding members have poured in everything they have to continue the legacy of the space until now, and this journey is far from over.
It all began in the Spring of 2014, when a ragtag bunch of individuals with vastly different tastes and skills came together to hire a space, renovating it using largely their own skills and recycled materials. Money was borrowed, savings were spent, and with an original investment of less than £15,000 The Jam Jar was born! Opening for the first time on the 12th July 2014 - as the doors opened, the tools went away and people flooded in. Over the years people have come and gone, but their influences will always remain - little touches here and there, echoes of their presence shaping the future of the space.
In August 2017, The Jam Jar applied to the authorities for a full premises license. Until this point the space had operated informally, having been brought to compliance with health and safety and fire regulation with specific guidance - the only problem being noise pollution. The achievement of a full time premise license would finally secure the Jam Jar an income, and the ability to sustain itself without relying on the tireless hours of volunteer time. Until this point, for every penny raised, two were spent on constant renovations.
Whilst this application was rejected, the team’s drive and commitment was bolstered. With legal advice from solicitors, the police, and the noise pollution team we set out targets, goals and hatched a plan - a clear path to a position of security. If we could alleviate the noise issue and complete specific works on the site, we could achieve our goal.
Soon after in November 2017 we launched a crowdfunding campaign. Received brilliantly by our supporters, hundreds of people donated thousands of pounds, and during the time we received praise and encouragement from local, national and international creative treasures. Whilst we did not meet our full target, we had enough money to make a start on the works.
Where we’re at
Now, almost a year later as winter draws in, we have managed to raise over double the crowdfunder’s target and have spent it on massive renovations. A new organisational structure has formed, new bonds have emerged, and we are well on track to the resubmission of our premises licence application. Having reduced a huge percentage of the noise leakage we have very little left to achieve before our next milestone. In the interim we have been granted a number of temporary events for the remainder of 2018, and throughout 2019. Stay tuned for more shows!