Help ICVL open a community Reading Room in Bristol

by IC Visual Lab in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

Total raised £1,090

£6,000 target 36 days left
18% 18 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 19th August 2024 at 6:02pm

Help open IC Visual Lab - Reading Room, a new community-centred public space for exhibitions, books and ideas in Old Market, Bristol.

by IC Visual Lab in Bristol, Bristol City, United Kingdom

Marking our 10 year anniversary, we’re crowdfunding to open and sustain a new community-centred cultural space in Old Market, Bristol. The space we've named the Reading Room is located on the ground floor of our new building. It will provide a home for exhibitions, events and long-term collaborative projects, focussing on visual storytelling - photography, archives, books and other surprises. 


We are asking our community - everyone who has followed the work of IC Visual Lab or Bristol Photo Festival - to support and share this appeal. 

By taking part in this Crowdfunder, you will be helping us to make this space a reality. We need your support to repair the building, build tables and shelves, buy basic equipment, pay legal fees and ultimately get the doors open. 



We believe in the value of physical space: for gathering, sharing ideas and unexpected encounters. Over recent months, we have seen independent cultural spaces under greater pressure than ever before, with rising costs forcing many to close their doors. Against this tide, we will be opening a new space in Old Market, Bristol. 

The building is a narrow shop with offices above. The ground floor will provide space for exhibitions, alongside shelves for books and a table for conversations and reading. We’re not interested in creating a silent, white-walled gallery; instead we want the building to be many things at once - a space for learning and sharing. Above the ground floor, the offices will be turned into creative studios, hosting a range of artists, editors and partner organisations.



There is no magic answer when it comes to financial sustainability. This project will require us to pursue every avenue possible to ensure that the bills are paid and the doors are open. 

Prior to opening, we will need to cover solicitors' fees, carpentry and repairs, bookshelves, a communal table, a new metal shutter, basic equipment for exhibitions and signage. Once open, we will need to raise funds to cover the rental income of the ground-floor community space, as well as an exhibition budget to ensure that we can pay artists and present their work with due care and consideration. 

Once up and running we believe that we can raise much of this money via trusts and foundations, some of whom already support our engagement work. However, this kind of fundraising takes time, slowly building the case for the work that we do. Beforehand, we need to ensure that we make it through the first twelve months.

We are asking for your support. When you buy a tote bag, t-shirt or print, you are directly helping to create a new home in Bristol for images and storytelling, for collaboration and mutual learning. You also enable us to pay artists, ensuring that they can continue to make work, telling stories that bring greater understanding and nuance to the world today.



In 2011, we began organising screening nights under the name ‘Instant Coffees’. Despite taking place in the basement of a local cafe, we were able to invite figures including Brenda Ann Keneally, Sunil Shah, Cristina de Middel, Robert Knoth and Daniel Meadows to talk about their work. From these DIY beginnings, the organisation IC Visual Lab was born. 

As an organisation, we are dedicated to exploring the role of images in today’s world, particularly how photography is used to construct narratives that shape society. Our projects often involve activating archives in order to challenge dominant narratives.

Our activity is divided into the following strands:

  • Long-term collaborative projects, educational workshops and public events.
  • A design-studio collaborating with artists and organisations to create publications, exhibitions & other outcomes.
  • Leading Bristol Photo Festival, a biennial of contemporary photography staged across the city.

Over the last 10 years, we have been privileged to collaborate with artists including: Sebastian Bruno, Julián Barón, Federico Clavarino, Carolyn Drake, Chris Hoare, Rob Hornstra, Katrin Koenning, Amak Mahmoodian, Zanele Muholi, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, Sarker Protick, Lua Ribeira, Alec Soth, Clementine Schneidermann, Francesca Seravalle, Rohan Thapa, Nguyen Trinh Thi & many others. 



If we raise £6,000 

We can cover the core costs of opening the building, from fees to furniture. 


If we raise £8,000 

We can open the building and host the first workshop programme, offered to local residents.


If we raise £10,000

We can open the building, host workshops and also cover the artist fee for the first exhibition we stage. 



Check out the rewards you can get as a thank you for supporting us! A big thank you to our community who showed up to donate rewards for our Crowdfunder.

We have a range of reward prices from £15 to £1,000. Don't see anything you like? You can also just donate.


Totes & T-Shirts

IC Visual Lab Tote Bag


The Dynamic Tote Bag


IC Visual Lab T-Shirt





Lua Ribeira T-Shirt 



Photo Prints

Below are all the photographs on offer for either an individual print or as part of the photo print bundle. If you've chosen the bundle, you can make your selection HERE.



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£60 or more

7 of 25 claimed

Become a Supporter – Big Bundle!

All the glory of being a supporter (your name on the wall) plus you'll receive the IC Visual Lab tote bag AND t-shirt.

£15 or more

2 of 50 claimed

Become a Supporter

Not only will you have a full heart from supporting us and the local community, but we'll also add you to our list of supporters on a wall in IC Visual Lab.

£25 or more

1 of 25 claimed

IC Visual Lab Tote Bag

An IC Visual Lab tote bag.

£25 or more

0 of 25 claimed

The Dynamic Tote Bag

The Dynamic tote bag from photographer Sebastion Bruno's series of the same name. (

£40 or more

1 of 25 claimed

IC Visual Lab T-Shirt

An IC Visual Lab t-shirt.

£40 or more

0 of 25 claimed

Lua Ribeira T-Shirt

Subida al Cielo 'Ascent to Heaven' drawing by photographer Lua Ribeira exclusive to our Crowdfunder. (

£100 or more

0 of 50 claimed

Photo Print 1/2

A 10x8 inch C-Type print with border from a range of talented photographers (A–L). Don't see the print you're looking for? Make sure to check out Photo Print 2/2.

£100 or more

1 of 50 claimed

Photo Prints 2/2

A 10x8 inch C-Type print with border from a range of talented photographers (L–V). Don't see the print you're looking for? Make sure to check out Photo Print 1/2.

£170 or more

1 of 25 claimed

Photo Print Bundle

Your choice of two 10x8 inch C-Type prints with border from a range of talented photographers. Submit your selection through the google form linked in our overview.

£1,000 or more

0 of 5 claimed

The V.I.P. Photo Bundle

You will receive a clamshell portfolio box including all 20 of the 10x8 inch C-Type prints with border from our range of talented photographers available in this Crowdfunder, your name on the supporters wall at IC Visual Lab AND our eternal appreciation.

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