Artspace Lifespace registered as a charity in 2016. However the history of Artspace goes back to the 1990s, when Doug Francis launched his first Artspace Lifespace Project in London.
Doug Francis and Wim Penhaul first met in Portugal in 1996 when they were both street performers. They co-founded The Invisible Circus and Artspace Lifespace, moved to Bristol in 2005 and with the support of Ruth Essex and the Bristol City Council Capacity Project were able to open and use disused public spaces.
As the name suggests, Artspace Lifespace originally providing spaces for artists to live and work. In 2007, Artspace took over the old Bridewell complex comprising the Old Courts, Fire station (The Station), CID building (now Bristol wing) and the Old Police Station (now The Island). The Invisible Circus hosted the now legendary Carnyville’s, huge fully immersive extravaganzas utilising the whole of the Island complex between 2008-2010.
Artspace Lifespace became a CIC in 2012 and while the circus moved on to a new home, Artspace Lifespace remained based at The Island. Artspace Lifespace is now a Registered Charity (No: 1168150). Artspace Lifespace Enterprises Limited is a Limited Company no.10396284 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary trading on behalf of ASLS.