• Bristol Visual Arts

Due to the impressive turn out at the Open Space event on September 16th it is clear that the ground beneath our feet is shifting. There is a dynamic energy bristling through the Visual Arts in Bristol and a shared desire to improve the profile of what we all do nationally and internationally.

We felt compelled to start a conversation that might open up different perspectives on the state of the visual arts in Bristol in the form of an Open Space event. We were absolutely delighted by the response, atmosphere and attendance of September’s event at Paintworks, hosted by ourselves in partnership with Arnolfini, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, RWA and Spike Island. Chaired democratically by Simon Day, the Open Space format is an interactive and inclusive way of structuring a meeting that allowed for you, the participants, to set the agenda. We enjoyed meeting so many colleagues and exchanging ideas throughout the day’s discussions. Thanks so much for your contribution and we very much hope this will be the beginning of a series of dynamic new plans and projects involving the visual arts throughout the city.

The format and tone of each notetaker has been preserved in a simple document to reflect the different types of discussion. It is evident that there are some great ideas and suggestions – from the formation of a Bristol Art Map to lobbying the Council on business rate relief, from a national PR campaign to a regular ‘First Fridays’ type of meeting, as well as reflections on the distinctiveness of Bristol’s art scene.

Download the full Open Space Report

Mindful that the worst thing that can result from an Open Space discussion is NOTHING AT ALL, a few of us met up last week at Situations to talk about we might act on some of the ideas which arose at the Visual Arts event last month. We agreed to post any next steps on the blog;  www.visualartsbristol.wordpress.com

At Situations, we’re particularly interested in raising the public profile of the visual arts in the city – for residents and visitors – and there are two specific ways in which we’re going to get to work on that: by leading a working group to develop a Bristol Art Map, which will incorporate particular works in the public realm, and by working with other initiatives across the city to expand the May Bank Holiday weekend into a city-wide celebration of the visual arts – piloted in 2014.

Some things you can do to push your plans along – 

Post what you are going to do on the Visual Arts Bristol blog. Those of you who attended (and those we missed but were still on the waiting list) should have received an invitation to post to the blog as authors. Remember this blog is a fantastic platform on which to exchange ideas and progress with your planning.

Visual Arts South West continues to be the best place to keep up to date with opportunities, events and projects across the region.

Use the hashtag #visartsbristol on social media to spread the word about Visual Arts in Bristol – sharing others’ events as well as your own.

We are very much looking forward to tracking the progress of your plans on the Visual Arts Bristol platform. Do stay in touch and keep us updated with your projects.


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