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How Do We Fix Our Housing Crisis?

Festival of the Future City

Watershed  |  £5 – £10

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We’re in a housing crisis that is only getting worse. Where are the ideas and actions to create a better housing future?

Recent reports only confirm what we have known for a long time: housing – a basic need – is not being provided. Rents are rocketing; too many people are trying to rent too few houses; mortgages are going through the roof; we’re not building enough social housing; and house prices remain too high. 

There’s also growing concerns about renting into retirement. Burdened by debt, more people than ever before are unable to save for a decent pension, and then having to pay high rents when retired and face moving regularly. This builds in inequality, limits social mobility, causes worry and concern but also creates a social problem between generations. 

There are lots of ideas to solve this crisis, here and in other countries.

We bring together leading housing campaigner Kwajo Tweneboa with Melissa Mean (We Can Make, Knowle West), and CEO of Elim Housing (and passionate advocate for council housing) Paul Smith. Chaired by Teresa Dillon, Professor of Future Cities, University of the West of England. 

Kwajo Tweneboa is a social housing activist and content creator, campaigning against poor social housing conditions.

Melissa Mean is Director of WeCanMake, a neighbourhood test-space in Bristol for imagining and making new ways to create homes that build social infrastructure and community wealth.

Paul Smith

Paul Smith is CEO of Elim Housing, a charitable social landlord based in Bristol. He previously served as a Bristol City Councillor from 1988 to 1999, when he was chair of the Environmental, Health, Land and Property and Leisure Services committees, and 2016 to 2020 when he was Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities.

Teresa Dillon is an artist, researcher and Professor of City Futures, at the College of Arts, Technology and Engineering, UWE. Her works focuses on techno-civic relations, infrastructures and contemporary urbanism, with a focus on repair cultures, conversational formats for equitable city futures, media, sonic and surveillance histories and ritual practices in post-human law.

Pay What You Feel

This event is part of our new ticket pricing structure where we ask people to pay what they feel they can afford in accordance with their means. Read more about it here. Read on for the ticket prices for this event.

One free carer ticket can be booked at the same time for a paying disabled visitor. If you need to book more than one, please contact us before booking to arrange.

Pay It Forward

The Pay It Forward option enables you to book a ticket above the standard price, and will help to subsidise a ticket for someone who requires the Pay What You Can option. This option is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and would like to help somebody else with the cost of their ticket.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and stable income and I have the means and desire to contribute towards making the event affordable for others and supporting Bristol Ideas.


This recommended price is based on what we’d traditionally charge for a similar event. It helps us make sure that basic costs are covered. This price is aimed at people who are able to meet their basic needs and have enough to live on.

  • Is this for me? – I have access to a regular and disposable income, and I can comfortably afford the recommended ticket price.


This option is lower than the recommended price. It is subsidised by Bristol Ideas and fellow audience members who have booked at the Pay It Forward rate. This price is aimed at people who could do with support to get by.

  • Is this for me? – My access to income is low and unstable and I worry about meeting my basic needs. I would select a concession rate due to my personal circumstances.

No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, so please contact us if you have any queries.

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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