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Bristol 650 Showcase and Book Launch

Festival of the Future City

Watershed  |  Free, booking required

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Artists, organisations and collectives showcase the projects they are running as part of Bristol 650, the city’s 650th anniversary of becoming an independent county.

Bristol 650 marks the 650th anniversary of Bristol becoming an independent county when King Edward III granted important rights and privileges to Bristol by royal charter in 1373. Until this time, Bristol was divided geographically and administratively by the River Avon. The charter of 1373 gave Bristol and its suburbs jurisdiction independent from other county authorities, making it a county in its own right. The 600th anniversary, Bristol 600 in 1973, was marked with parades, commemorative memorabilia and a royal visit. The celebration is alive in the memories of many of the city’s older residents and in personal and institutional collections.

This event showcases projects that are being run as part of Bristol 650. Hear from Ruth Myers at Local Learning, who has been working with communities to create an illustrated atlas of the city and its stories; Tom Marshman, who has collected memories from people growing up in Bristol under Section 28; and Kate Foster at RWA about the incredible story of the Sharples women and their pivotal role in Bristol’s first art gallery. 

This event will also launch the Bristol 650 book, a collection of newly commissioned essays about the future of Bristol. All attendees will be given a free copy of the book.

Bristol 650 is made possible with support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Unlimited and Bristol’s BIDs (City Centre, Broadmead, and Redcliffe & Temple).

Kate Foster is Head of Development at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA).

Tom Marshman has been a practising artist for 21 years, and produced over 60 projects across many mediums including museum audio-tours, theatre and cabaret. Actively encouraging dialogue with participants, through socially engaged processes such as ‘Tea Parties’, allows him to evocative glimpses into everyday life, letting him tell engaging, poetic & unpretentious stories.

Ruth Myers is Project Manager (community and learning focus) at Myers-Insole Local Learning. She has nearly 30 years’ teaching experience in secondary and further education. She is passionate about education, making learning accessible to all and particularly enjoys exploring new ideas within and beyond the classroom.

Naomi Miller is the Acting Director of Bristol Ideas. She oversees and manages our city projects, leads on all evaluation and reporting, represents the organisation at key city meetings and networks and plays key roles in fundraising and board governance.

This event is supported by

Booking Information

Ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as Bristol Ideas do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

Please note we only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.


  • Watershed’s main entrance and Box Office are both on the ground floor which is accessible via a ramped, electronically assisted entrance door.
  • There are two Blue Badge parking spaces to the rear of Watershed on Canons Road.
  • Guide dogs and hearing dogs are very welcome.
  • The first floor of Watershed is accessible via lift from the main entrance and includes level access to all areas, including the cinemas and event spaces.
  • The cinemas and event spaces have induction loops.
  • There is an accessible toilet (with baby changing facilities) near Cinema 1. Follow the signs for the Cinemas and the accessible toilet is just on your left through the double doors before Cinema 1.
  • There are gender neutral toilets in the cinema corridor on the first floor.

Visit Watershed’s Access page for more information.

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