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Normal for Hartcliffe: Film Screening

Festival of the Future City

Watershed  |  £5

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NFH – Normal For Hartcliffe – was a code used by social workers and doctors to describe the conditions of children in the area. What would be unacceptable in other parts of the city was NFH. Bristol Ideas presents a screening of the short film Normal for Hartcliffe, with a conversation about Hartcliffe, its origins, history, lessons learned and where it goes next.

Plans for Hartcliffe started as the Second World War was at its height. But it was beset with problems and offers a cautionary tale of city planning. 

The short film Normal for Hartcliffe, by local journalist and documentary filmmaker Neil Maggs, was produced for the residents of Hartcliffe. Commissioned by Hartcliffe and Withywood Community Partnership, it’s an honest reflection of the issues affecting the area and how people within the community feel about their home. It’s a moving, funny and honest snapshot of a community trying to thrive on the edge of Bristol in an area that is so often defined by other people’s expectations and decisions. 

Featuring a host of characters speaking candidly about their hopes for Hartcliffe as well as their frustrations, they call for empowerment, express frustrations around the lack of real change and the distinct lack of opportunity, while showing a staunch pride in their area and their resilience in the face of ongoing adversity.

Following a showing of the film, Neil Maggs leads a discussion about Hartcliffe, its origins, history, lessons learned and where it goes next. He is joined by Kerry Bailes, councillor for Hartcliffe and Withywood, filmmaker Paul Holbrook and Paul Smith who is currently competing a book on the history of the estate. Melanie Monaghan, who has worked with Hartcliffe and Withywood Community Partnership (HWCP) since 2019, introduces.

Kerry Bailes is the Labour councillor for Hartcliffe and Withywood.

Paul Holbrook

Paul Holbrook is a multi-award-winning writer and director. Proudly working-class, he was born and bred on a rough council estate in the South West of Bristol. Despite a lack of formal education, Holbrook started his career as a screenwriter, advancing through various industry-backed screenwriting competitions including Page, Shore, and Screencraft.

Melanie Monaghan works as an independent consultant supporting voluntary and community sector organisations (VCSE). Much of her experience has come through chief executive/director roles in charities providing support and services to young people, carers (including young carers) and community led organisations. She has worked across Bristol but has focussed on building relationships with communities in South Bristol. She has worked with Hartcliffe and Withywood Community Partnership (HWCP) since 2019 to provide chief executive support.

Neil Maggs is a national journalist and filmmaker with particular focus on issues of community and culture. He has worked previously in strategic community and sport development work across the UK.

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.

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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