It’s a terrible irony that Access Space, Sheffield, UK, has finally been recognised for its contribution but has had its funding cut by Arts Council England.
Access Space has just been named one of 50 “New Radicals” by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta) in partnership with the Observer newspaper, identified as organisations who are making Britain a better place to live an work.
Nesta’s 50 New Radicals 2012
I first went into Access Space in 2001 to collect some obsolete BBC Micros for artist Paul Granjon to use in an installation for Lovebytes. Since that day, I have had a continued relationship with Access Space, scrounging hardware, visiting their shows, attending workshops and showing my own artwork there too.
It’s very easy to walk past their building and not know that they are there at all, and their low profile belies the enormous impact the organisation has had. They provide open internet access to anyone, and run a programme of free events, exhibitions and workshops.
Here are just two examples of how Access Space has supported me.
In 2004 they provided me with a group of compact Apple Mac computers that allowed me to create my series of HyperScape generative works. These would simply not have happened otherwise, and this led me to be invited to exhibit and visit the Electrohype Biennial in Malmö, Sweden in 2004, and again in Göteborg in 2005.
In 2011 I was awarded a Small Research & Development Bursary to progress electronics and software development towards external camera triggers for capturing timelapse video. I spent 8 days working at Access Space and progressed my project significantly.
A number of my own projects would not have happened at all without Access Space, and after many years of receiving support from them, I am trying to bring something back into the space. Here is a promo video I made using timelapse shot during one of their computer recycling marathons. Most of the people you see are volunteers, paid only with pizza, and give their time freely.
Their website is here:
Access Space, Sheffield, UK.