Hive is a community arts charity in Shipley, Bradford. We deliver arts and crafts courses, workshops and projects from our centre in Shipley and across Bradford District.
We believe that creativity contributes to good health and well-being and helps to bring communities together.
Hive is a registered company limited by guarantee, and a registered charity with a wide and diverse membership. We have a strong management committee of Trustees drawn from our membership and the wider community. They lead a dedicated staff team, a wider pool of talented artists and tutors, and a wonderful group of volunteers, to deliver our range of projects, activities and classes.
Hive has worked since 1985 to promote and deliver creative activities to engage with and provide personal and social development for the wide range of communities in Bradford.
Our building was, until 1975, the St Paul’s Church of England School. By 1978, following the schools closure (with the pupils moving to the new CofE school on Otley Road), a community centre in the basement was supporting a variety of volunteer groups. By the end of the 1970s, the basement had become a drop-in centre for the unemployed, and Kirkgate Studios and Workshops (our former identity) emerged in 1982 offering a variety of arts and crafts activities to the unemployed.
Through the 1980s, support for the long-term unemployed became a focus of our work, and we developed courses in pottery, photography, painting and drawing, as well as running projects for local groups such as Shipley Resource Centre.
During the 1990s we widened our range of courses and maintained the drop-in facilities, expanding the geographical reach of our work and holding our first major exhibition of work at Cartwright Hall. We worked with Social Services to provide outreach activities for Care in the Community clients, as well as working with community clubs, religious organisations and community centres to deliver a range of activities to older people. We also began our Justart programme of creative and practical activities with young offenders.
In the 2000s we ran our first public art project, a ceramic tile mural created by local school children on the stair wall of Shipley Town Hall. Further public art, all created with community involvement, has since been commissioned to enhance public spaces such as health centres and Shipley Market Square, as well as the Aire Sculpture Trail (in partnership with BMDC Department of Regeneration & Culture, Canals and Rivers Trust and Wycliffe Primary School). Alongside this we maintained our commitment to providing value for money creative courses and drop-in facilities.
Reductions to council funding pushed us to diversify our funding streams, and we secured the first of a number of Reaching Communities grants from the Big Lottery Fund (now the National Lottery Community Fund). This allowed us to run a family learning project, free courses for the over 50s and benefit claimants, and mental health projects.
Our 30th birthday in 2012 saw a major refurbishment, and a renaming to Hive Bradford, and the 2010s saw us continue to expand our range of courses – with robotics, animation, calligraphy and jewellery making just a few of the additions to our core offerings of pottery, painting and drawing, textiles and woodwork. We also established our Thrive mental health project, expanded both our art in the community and young people’s work and run a succession of other projects, including our Heritage textiles projects Fabric of Bradford and Worn Stories.
As we go into the 2020s, we are working increasingly closely with our upstairs neighbours, Kirkgate Community Centre, both to secure the future of our shared building and to continue between us to provide a thriving creative space for the whole community in the centre of Shipley.