Bristol City Council Originators Fund open for applications

The Anarchist Mobile Library by Tessa Bide Production. Copyright: Craig Fuller

The Originators Fund is one of the three funds that make up Bristol City Council’s Cultural Investment Programme; the way Bristol City Council distributes public money to support arts and culture across the city.

The fund will offers grants of £500 to £5,000 to Bristol-based individuals or organisations to run events, arts, and cultural activities between May 2024 and April 2025.

Arts Development and Events Officers are offering in person and online opportunities to find out more. Booking information as follows:

Information sessions in person at Mshed on Monday 13 November at 2pm and 5pm.

Online 1-1 support sessions with officers are available from 20 November.

Visit the council website for information and to apply to the Originators fund.

Applications close on Friday 15 December 2023.

Autumn Art Lectures 2023

Gandhi at Sea (Autumn Art Lecture)

Art and the City: Bristol at 650

The Autumn Art Lecture series is an annual series of public events, hosted by the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts with support from the Centre for Black Humanities and Bristol Ideas.

This year the lectures will focus on some of the historical, cultural and conceptual spaces of Bristol. The series coincides with Bristol 650 – the year-long celebration that marks the anniversary of the 1373 royal charter – and will be an opportunity not just to talk about Bristol and its (in)visible histories, but also to step into the city itself.

Events will be hosted in venues that span Bristol – from the Cathedral at its heart on College Green, to Spike Island in the midst of the river that defines the city’s cosmopolitan past and present. Speakers include curators, artists, and academics, who together will take us on a journey through both familiar and unfamiliar aspects of the city’s history, including its place in the wider world.

For the full series listing and more information on each event, please follow this link.

Aardman and Upfest at Bristol Dental School

Denticle, Bristol Dental School

The University of Bristol’s new, purpose-designed Dental School officially opened on Friday 8 September

The design of the building includes public art featuring bespoke characters The Denticles, created by Gav Strange, Director & Designer at Aardman, the Academy Award®-winning animation studio based in Bristol. These take the form of five sculptures at the front of the building as well as character cushions for the children’s waiting area.

Working with Upfest,  local artist Bex Glover designed and painted two murals to incorporate the toothy characters – one for the main reception area which features landmarks from all over Bristol and one for the children’s waiting area with animals, plants, and flowers local to the area.

The £36 million facilities are located at the University’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus and will provide the very latest clinical training for the education of dentists, hygienists and therapists, dental nurses, and wider dental team.

Spanning 7,300 square metres at 1 Trinity Quay, Avon Street, the Dental School will enable the University to increase the number of available student places by around 25 percent, with Bristol dental students contributing even more significantly to the local and national dental workforce. The refurbishment of the building has been led by construction company Kier Group. More information on the new Dental School

Dental School Students Sept 2023

Another Wave is Possible sculpture on campus

Waves of Change

Designed to raise awareness of the devastating impacts of ocean plastics Another Wave is Possible, by Wren Miller, will be based outside the entrance to the University of Bristol’s Royal Fort Gardens throughout September.

The eye-catching 4m high and 6m long sculpture highlights the scale of littering in Bristol, having been made with 90kg of waste, equivalent to the volume of litter dropped on Baldwin Street on one busy Friday night.

Bristol residents may well already be familiar with the artwork, which has previously been on display on a floating pontoon in Bristol Harbour.

Artist Wren Miller said: “I choose to work with these materials because they tell a story of our convenience-driven, throw-away culture. When we cast away a plastic drink bottle or a crisp packet, we instantly forget about it, but these things could eventually dissolve into microplastics – plastic pollution. What gets into the water courses, flows out to sea. It’s not visible to us on land, but we are affecting wildlife, choking our seas and cutting off an important source of the world’s oxygen supply.

“The students at the University of Bristol are from across the globe, coming from so many backgrounds. But we all share one common truth: humanity is the biggest threat to this planet’s health and if we continue as we are currently, we will have blown it. I hope that the sculpture will inspire the university’s students to start conversations, which can lead to change.”

Further Information here


Virtual museum showcases University’s cultural collections

Waves of Change

The University has launched a virtual museum! The Uncertain Space will host a programme of unique exhibitions and is a new way to experience artefacts from the University’s cultural collections.

How to visit

A smartphone, web browser or Virtual Reality headset can all act as windows onto the museum. The easiest way to visit is to click here.

If you want to use a VR headset, you can access the Uncertain Space by visiting the Theatre Collection or the University Special Collections in person, where VR headsets are available for anyone to reserve.

University staff and students can also book out a Quest 2 VR headset from the library, please email us to book.

Current Exhibition

The first exhibition Secret Gardens: Exploring pathways through our collections was curated by a group of secondary students from across Bristol, who worked in partnership with curators and exhibition designers to explore the University’s collections during a 12 month project.

Secret Gardens brings together public artworks and artefacts from the Theatre Collection, Special Collections and Earth Sciences amongst others.



Colombia Week 20 – 24 March 2023

Bringing Memories in from the Margins 20-24 March


A week of theatre, music, photography, film, cookery and conversation to share and celebrate the creative memory work produced by MEMPAZ Colombian partners. Listen to unheard, first-person stories and experiences of the armed conflict in Colombia, and the ways Colombians are re-writing their country’s history with their courage and their creativity.

All events are free (booking advised) and public, with simultaneous interpreting into both Spanish and English. Full listing here

Using theatre, music, photography, film, cookery and conversation, grassroots activists in Colombia working in some of the most geographically- and socially-marginalized parts of the country are using human creativity to confront and work through the horrors of warfare and its impact on millions of Colombians.

This is MEMPAZ (MEMories and PAZ, meaning Peace in Spanish), is a collaboration between grassroots groups working towards a more peaceful, safer world by bringing the voices of ordinary people from the margins and into the centre of history.

MEMPAZ – Bringing Memories in from the Margins: Inclusive Transitional Justice and Creative Memory Processes for Reconciliation in Colombia is a collaboration between the Colectivo de Comunicación Arhuaco Busintama (Arhuaco Communications Collective), Rodeémos el Diálogo (Embrace Dialogue), Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres (Women’s Peaceful Way), MUMIDAVI (Colombian NGO), Universidad Nacional de Colombia (National University of Colombia) and the University of Bristol.

Opening Event: Waves of Change

Waves of Change

An exhibition of art co-produced with young people in Cornwall, Bristol and Amazonia.

Opening Event

Friday 21 April, 18:00 – 20:00
Earth Art Gallery, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road

Waves of Change is a series of research projects based at the University and led by Professor Daniela Schmidt (climate scientist), Dr Camilla Morelli (anthropologist) and Sophie Marsh (animation director). The team work with children & young people in Bristol, Cornwall and the Amazon rainforest to engage them in conversations on climate hope and sustainable futures through co-production of animated films.

This exhibition showcases some of the co-produced artwork and animated films, amplifying the voices of children & youth from different communities and parts of the world.

This free opening event will feature a film screening plus a Q&A with the Waves of Change team and Kirsty Hammond (Heart of BS13), chaired by Dr Alix Dietzel. The event will be followed by a drinks reception and gallery viewing.

Mural brings new perspectives on Engineering

Mural by RTiiiKA Merchant Venturers Building

Artist RTiiiKA has produced a colourful, dynamic centre piece for the lower atrium inside the University’s Merchant Venturers Building on Woodland Rd.  

The artist spoke to people with a minority experience* in engineering, to find out how they got into engineering, what working / studying in the field is like, and if there are tension points between their work and their identity. The conversations informed an abstract design that looks at what a ‘queer’ perspective can offer engineering.

RTiiiKA (pronounced ah-teeka) is Rosa ter Kuile, a queer Bristol-based artist working in illustration, mural and street art.

*The artist uses the term minority experience to describe anyone who feels ‘outsider’ – someone who has to navigate through unfamiliar contexts, institutions, norms, structures and systems. You could be non-binary, a woman, working class, from outside of the Global North, LGBTQ+, a person of colour, or from a religious background.

Artist RTiiiKA

Portrait of Professor Hugh Brady on display

Professor Brady speaks to well-wishers at the portrait unveiling.

Former Vice-Chancellor celebrated with official photo portrait

A photographic portrait has been unveiled of the University of Bristol’s recently departed Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Hugh Brady. Professor Brady led the University from 2015 to 2022 and is the latest Vice-Chancellor to be captured for posterity at the end of their tenure.

The portrait, taken by photographer Jessica Augarde, is now on permanent display in the Wills Memorial Building’s Great Hall.

In the Great Hall on Friday 17 February Professor Brady was joined by current Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Evelyn Welch, and around 20 other well-wishers as the photo portrait was officially unveiled.

Speaking after the event, Professor Brady said: “It’s been fantastic to return to the University of Bristol today, to once again thank the many colleagues who make this institution so special.

“Bristol is a magnificent University and it is humbling to see this portrait next to those of my predecessors.”

Professor Welch said: “Professor Brady led the University with passion and rigour during a time of great change in the higher education sector.

“Like all Vice-Chancellors before him, Professor Brady was instrumental in shaping Bristol’s world-leading research portfolio and education offer.”

The Vice-Chancellor is the academic lead and chief executive of the University of Bristol. They lead with the help of University’s Board of TrusteesCourt and Senate. The University of Bristol also has a Chancellor – currently Sir Paul Nurse – who acts at the ceremonial head of the institution.

L-R: Vice-Chancellor Evelyn Welch; Senior Estates Assistant Gary Nott; former Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady; Deputy Vice-Chancellor Judith Squires.<br />
Photo: Bhagesh Sachania Photography

What happens when a poet takes up a Fellowship in an Earth Sciences Department?

Alyson Hallet

Impact, an exhibition of work from Alyson Hallet’s 2022 Fellowship with the School of Earth Sciences, is on now in the University of Bristol’s Earth Art Gallery, open to all on Wednesdays from 2-5 pm.

In 2022 Poet Alyson Hallet was appointed EarthArt Fellow #8 in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol where she worked on the project ‘Impact: the Ries Nördlingen Crater, Germany’ led by volcanologist Professor Alison Rust.

Alyson’s Fellowship in the School has been largely based on conversations with with lecturers, researchers and students. She has explored what impact means on a personal and scientific level; the various natures of meteorites and volcanoes and how mistakes can open up new ways of thinking.

The Ries Crater was initially believed to have been made by a volcano, but when tiny diamonds were found in the stones of churches and houses in Nõrdlingen (a town built inside the impact zone) it became clear that it had been made by a meteorite.

Alyson Hallett is a prize-winning poet who has published more than twelve books of poetry and prose. Collaboration is at the heart of Alyson’s work and she has co-authored books with a walking artist, physical geographer and fellow poet, as well as collaborating on projects with dancers, visual artists, geologists, glass makers and composers.

The Earth Art Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Wills Memorial Building, Queens Rd. 

Admission: Free, every Wednesday 2-5pm (except bank holidays and University Closure Days)
Address: Wills Memorial Building, University of Bristol, BS8 1RJ, Bristol
Access: Wheelchair access. Visitors need to report to the WMB Porters Lodge before entering the Earth Gallery to sign in/out our visitor book.
For further information see the Earth Art website




Un/Stuck: Creative Explorations of Negative Thinking

Exhibition poster Un/Stuck

Un/StuckCreative Explorations of Negative Thinking is a curated exhibition that showcases creative outputs from a series of workshops (co-produced with young people) to explore everyday experiences of repetitive negative thinking. Artworks are presented in the form of large-scale photographic prints and smaller-scale physical objects. Together, these pieces bring to life young people’s experiences of worry and rumination and suggest positive strategies to support wellbeing.

At the heart of this event is a focus on young people’s mental health and wellbeing, and the potential for creative, participatory research approaches to “give voice” to young people’s everyday mental health experiences.

This project is a collaboration between researchers from the School of Psychological Science (University of Bristol), Chris Jarrold and Meg Attwood; artist/researcher, Catherine Lamont-Robinson (Bristol Medical School); and project partners, OTR (Off the Record) and the McPin Foundation.


This event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2022 and was made possible thanks to funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The work that informed this event was supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research, University of Bristol and the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Meg on




Audio artwork explores history of innovation in St Phillips

Injurious Effect - Ellie Shipman

Injurious Effect, a public artwork by Bristol-based artist Ellie Shipman has been unveiled. The work was commissioned by the University of Bristol’s Bristol Digital Futures Institute for permanent display in the new innovation hub housed in the Victorian Gas Works on Avon Street. The sculpture was fabricated by Jack Stiling of Stiling’s Workshop.

Listen to the sound piece via this link.

The artwork explores the relationship between innovation and societal change prompted by the history of the gas works. Fear of the new, of change and hidden or unseen implications have always gone hand in hand with socio-technical innovation. The artwork invites reflection on the past, present and future of innovation in Bristol through the symbol of a Wardian Case, a terrarium-like wooden crate used for transporting plants in protected environments across the British Empire during the 1800s. The Wardian Case represents innovation and all the wondrous possibilities and harmful impacts it can bring. It inspired the artwork through the history of the gas works researched by Dr James Watts who writes:

“It was recommended by some horticultural experts to give plants the protection of a Wardian case (used for transporting plants from across the globe) if there was a gaslight in the room. Gas was associated with air pollution which posed a constant threat to horticultural activities. “The fumes, or products of combustion, of coal-gas have a more injurious effect upon plant-life than anything else,” wrote B. C. Ravenscroft in his handbook Town Gardening (1883).”21”

Avon Street Gasworks and Bristol’s Gas Industry
A Bristolian history of innovation with lessons for our digital future

Local memories, artefacts and photographs as well as a BDFI report, ‘Avon Street Gasworks and Bristol Gas Industry’ informed the work.

The audio piece reflects on the impact of gas across Bristol and beyond: from local memories of children being sent to collect ‘coke’ (coal) in prams and homemade Go-Karts for their families’ fires; to the historic industrial development of the Feeder Canal, Barton Hill and East Bristol; the Gas Workers Strikes of 1889 and the domestic and societal implications of gas as an innovation.

Bristol Digital Futures Institute commissioned the installation for their newly renovated home to illustrate the history of innovation on the site from the last 200 years. The work asks the question, how can innovation protect what already exists, be used for good and mitigate harm?

More information about this public art commission on the BFDI website here 


Autumn Art Lectures 2022

Autumn Art Lectures 2022

Modernisms: Decolonising art’s history

This year’s Autumn Art Lectures will challenge the concept of modernism as a monolithic entity. Paying particular attention to ‘black-ness’, Asian-ness, difference and decolonisation, this series aims to expose diversity at the heart of the Modern. The series includes an in-conversation with Turner Prize-winning artist and cultural activist Lubaina Himid, known for her innovative approaches to painting and to social engagement. For information about the full lecture series and to book your free ticket, follow this link.

The Autumn Art Lecture series is hosted by the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Arts with support from the Centre for Black Humanities and Bristol Ideas.

Parenting in the Pandemic

We Shouldn't Have to Shout to be Heard Billboard Campaign

We Shouldn’t Have To Shout To Be Heard Campaign: October 10 – 29 2022

Amplifying the experiences and voices of families most affected by the pandemic and now facing the cost of living crisis

In November 2021 and March 2022 thirty mothers from families impacted by low income, living with a disability, single parenting or from a minority ethnic community, took part in a specially designed creative programme, funded by the AHRC, and led by Wellspring Settlement with the University of Bristol. The project asked the following questions:

  • what do we need to know about parenting before and during the pandemic?
  • What does your family need to thrive in the future?

Now the #ShouldntHaveToShout campaign generated by this project is here!

Between 10 – 24 October billboards and posters designed by Lucy Turner and Rising Arts Agency will be exhibited across Bristol featuring quotes describing the struggles and triumphs of these mothers.  Check the map to find the posters and billboards nearest to you!

Alongside, the art campaign, a policy paper ‘Shouldn’t Have To Shout – Valuing Parents As Experts’ co-written with the University of Bristol and the Wellspring Settlement’s team of Art Researchers will be circulated to local decision makers, councillors and agencies. The policy paper focuses on the need to value parents as experts, contains recommendations to make it easier for parents to communicate with schools, support children with SEND, share experiences with other parents, and find suitable childcare.