Finding Common Ground

Uniting Communities along Bristol’s Waterways

This project sets out to talk to Bristol’s citizens and find out what they think about how the city can best grow. As a group of social engagement artists working with communities across Bristol we are interested in what unites us across the city. Focusing on the rivers Frome, Malago and Avon to link neighbourhoods,we have begun conversations with people in Begbrook/Frenchay, Eastville/Easton, St Anne’s, Bedminster, Hotwells, Hartcliffe and Withywood.

Due to Covid 19 restrictions we were unable to gather people out in their neighbourhoods, so we found alternative ways of connecting. Last autumn, we teamed up with Bristol Artists’-Led Forum and Diverse Artists Network to co-create participatory activities to. We presented these activities at the Centre of Gravity exhibition at Gardiner Haskins during October 2020. Forevolution, engaged thousands of people in activities and events. We are currently busy reviewing all the input we have had from the public and will make our research available widely. We look forward to being able to bring these activities to Bristol’s communities.

During the summer of 2020 we led Walk n Talk events within our riverside neighbourhoods looking at how we can help communities be part of the decision making and planning in relation to changes in the built and cultural environments of Bristol.

We’re still fundraising, but we’d love to hear from you if you want to join the conversations and journey with us to find common ground.

Who are we? As artists we’ve been co-creating with communities for a couple of decades, creating community gardens, performances, films, songs, maps and, as activists we’ve help people share their ideas.

Anna Haydock-Wilson developed activities for Peaceful Portway 2015 as part of Sharing Communities
Lizzie Philps lives in the Begbrook Estate, Frome Valley ward- she devises extraordinary arts activities with communities
Amy Hutchings has designed and painted murals with communities of Hotwells and Withywood
Grace Kress of ShelbyXStudios campaigns for cItizens rights using accessible graphic design and community arts
Annali Grimes facilitates and instigates interventions at the M32 Spot in Easton and community activities in Eastville Park
Gill Simmons writes songs and performances with communities about their environments
Jo Bushell is a social practice artist based in St Anne’s. Jo is currently working with refugee communities in this area.

It’s not just artists, we’re also working with community groups, including Action Greater Bedminster, Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association & Frenchay Village Museum. And we’re talking with ACORN Union, Liveable Neighbourhoods, Extinction Rebellion, Bricks Bristol, UWE, Bristol University, Bristol Health Partners, Bristol City Council Communities and Public Health and local planning groups.

Resources:

Alternative Approaches to Architecture talk at Centre of Gravity with Professor Rachel Sara & Thomas Sale. In presentation form here are Rachel’s, Tom’s talk and Anna’s talk

HighWaterLine Bristol report, 2015, Isobel Tarr & Anna Haydock-Wilson is a great resource in community engagement around social issues and a production guide for a city wide project.

Anna’s personal motivation in devising this project is her experience of growing up in diverse Inner City London, which has been feeling development pressures since the 1980s