Fuse Art Space is a volunteer-led art gallery and performance venue based in a retail unit on Bradford’s high street. Part of a wider commercial development that had failed to attract new businesses to the area, founders James Birchall and Sarah Faraday saw the space as an opportunity to bring ground-breaking art to the heart of Bradford, making it more accessible to local communities and helping to revive the town’s struggling northern quarter.
Since opening in 2014, Fuse has hosted a range of exhibitions, live performances and arts events with a focus on pioneering, experimental and socially engaged art and music. Its work supports many emerging local artists and provides a platform for different voices to be heard. The organisation has also managed to get some of Bradford’s most vulnerable citizens through its doors, focusing its activities on engaging refugees and asylum seekers and helping them to feel included in the town’s cultural life and community.
Operating on a modest budget and with fewer opportunities to boost its earned income available in Bradford’s fragile economy, Fuse decided to establish a viable commercial enterprise elsewhere and use the profits generated to cross-subsidise its grassroots artistic and community engagement work.
The Arts Impact Fund was able to offer investment of £150,000 to help the organisation set up CAMP – a new arts facility in the French Pyrenees that will offer residential arts courses led by world-renowned practitioners, such as composer Gavin Bryars and environmental recordist Chris Watson.
Profits from the new venture will go back to Fuse to strengthen its capacity, create new opportunities for paid work and offer more activities for Bradford communities to engage in art that is relevant and important to them. In addition to this, CAMP will create opportunities for artist and staff professional development both in Bradford and France, creating many positive synergies between the two sites.
Read the full case study on Fuse Art Space on the Arts Impact Fund website.