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Job Opportunity: Communications and Engagement Manager

Bristol Ideas
Illustration depicting a collection of BCDP projects

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We're looking for a Communications and Engagement Manager, a brand new position at an exciting new chapter for Bristol Ideas.

About Bristol Ideas

Bristol Ideas’ purpose is to be a leading cultural organisation for public debate and learning, bringing together creatives, audiences and communities to explore key issues and ideas of our time. We produce hundreds of hours of cultural content each year in the form of artist commissions and residencies; panel discussions and interviews with creative thinkers and practitioners; film screenings, publications and walking tours – all across digital, hybrid and in-person platforms.

Our vision is ‘A city that celebrates arts, sciences and culture; that debates openly the great challenges of our time; and finds creative solutions to these for Bristol, England, the UK and the world.’

Our four DNA principles are intrinsic to us and make us distinctive. They also help us to ensure that our work is of the highest quality. We use them to inspire every project, influence every activity and measure every output

  • Partnerships with Purpose
  • Fearlessly Ambitious
  • Rooted in Creative and Intellectual Curiosity
  • Curators of Ideas with Impact

Bristol Ideas has been delivering high-quality cultural activity and playing a key role in nurturing and demonstrating a collaborative approach in Bristol’s cultural ecology for 29 years. Our facilitative leadership and confident contributions are widely recognised, trusted and not easily replicated or replaced. We build partnerships for common purpose; advocate the transformative power of culture to people and places; create a range of high-quality cultural experiences for audiences in Bristol and across the UK; and commission a wide variety of artists, creative projects and work. Our citywide cultural programmes bring together artists, community groups and creative, educational, business and charitable organisations to present untold histories, celebrate overlooked artistic contributions, commission new creative work, distribute artistic content, encourage local pride and build a sense of place. These programmes result in wide-ranging creative and cultural activity, much of which is free and takes place in parts of the city or with communities underserved by publically funded arts and culture.

Central to our work are six core values:

  • Bravery: ‘Difficult’ does not stop us. We are proudly bold and relish our freedom to be able to say, explore and debate all issues and ideas.
  • Rigorousness: Our rigour allows us to be accountable and credible. Extensive research is essential as the basis for all work.
  • Reflection: Looking back, reflecting and analysing is all part of being purposeful. Reviewing not only helps us gain knowledge from what has happened it leads us going forward.
  • Agility: Ideas are forming, developing and evolving all the time, as are the issues they address. As allies to ideas, we are ready to react and debate them in real time.
  • Openness: We encourage discussion and value debate. None of that happens without a willingness to hear opinions and ideas that differ from our own. To inspire openness in our audiences we must be open ourselves.
  • Future Facing: The ideas and issues we discuss reach into the future and will be felt years, decades, even centuries ahead. We are ready to go with them.       

We are a small not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) owned by Business West, the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol and Bristol City Council, with five staff members (4 FTE). We have four key objectives. These drive us as we review and improve the quality, ambition and access to our organisation and programme of activities.

  • Provide a range of high-quality cultural experiences through a year-round programme of commissions, events, festivals, publications and wider programmes of commemoration and celebration.
  • Encourage the creativity of artists, citizens and audiences in addressing the great issues of our time.
  • Nurture and facilitate the widest possible creative partnership working – bringing together artists, creatives, organisations, businesses and the public – to ensure that everyone’s creativity and contribution is valued and able to flourish.
  • Support all work and projects with a dynamic and diverse funding base.

About the Post

The Communications and Engagement Manager is a brand new position at an exciting new chapter for Bristol Ideas. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, 2023 will see the organisation begin a period of transformational new leadership, embrace and develop new ways of working and embark on our most ambitious citywide multi-partner project for over a decade.

We will celebrate what has been before by embracing change for the future. We will do things in new ways, with new partners, in new parts of the city. We will reframe our success measures so that our focus shifts to doing less, better: taking the time to build organic and authentic partnerships built on a two-way exchange of learning and co-creation; working with communities and artists with greater intimacy and longer-term support; supplementing evaluation questions of ‘how many?’ with ‘why?’, ‘what was the impact?’, ‘what was it for?’, ‘what did it mean?’, ‘what comes next?’. We will take ourselves into unknown territories: embarking on new participatory, active relationships of exchange with audiences; reviewing, diversifying and honing content so that engages with audiences that reflects the make-up of contemporary Bristol; trialling new ways of shaping and delivering our work; listening and asking questions and allowing others to give the answers. The Communications and Engagement Manager role is central to this work.

The ramifications of the global pandemic are still being felt: audience behaviour and attitudes towards booking tickets, attending events and digital platform remains complex and ever-changing – as does the pattern and locations of people’s working day, the impact of rising costs of living and the availability of freelancers. It is imperative that in 2023-26 we do things differently: that we push ourselves to be even more dynamic, highly collaborative, ambitious; test and trial new types of content and new ways of working; set new markers for quality and success; ensure that all aspects of our organisation, from programming to recruitment and audience engagement, are more inclusive, relevant and accessible and address the certainty of climate change with stronger environmental responsibility and practice.

This post is offered initially as a one year contract, with a possible extension.

Salary: £28,000 pro rata

Hours: 22 hours

About You

You will be interested in developing a nuanced understanding of the full breadth of the audiences that Bristol Ideas wants to reach, and will use channels and media that are most effective (we would anticipate there being an emphasis on digital communications and online content).


  • A lover of communications and a social media ‘native’
  • A creative, curious mind with an interest in ideas
  • An ability to start and finish projects
  • An ability to be proactive, and act on own initiative when appropriate
  • A willingness to work flexibly and an openness to change
  • An ability to work with many competing priorities
  • An ability to evaluate, learn and develop
  • To act with integrity and honesty.

Essential Attributes and Experiences

  • Managing multiple social media accounts, including scheduling posts and sponsoring of posts
  • Experience of using analytic tools for websites, search engines and social media accounts
  • Development of campaigns (social media and more traditional marketing channels
  • Experience of a communications role in a creative, heritage, charity or business setting
  • Involvement in developing a marketing strategy
  • Ability to think strategically
  • Excellent written, verbal and graphic communication skills
  •  An eye for detail
  • A high level of proof reading skills
  • Confident in use of MailChimp, Eventbrite, Microsoft Office, WordPress or equivalent content management systems
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks, and work to (sometimes tight) deadlines.

Desirable Attributes and Experiences

  • Marketing qualifications or another relevant qualification
  • Knowledge and understanding of Bristol; how the city works and the issues that it faces
  • Experience of promoting, growing and running the administration of membership schemes.

How to Apply

Application deadline: 09:00 on Friday 29 July 2022

Please download the full job description here.

If you would like to apply for this post, please upload your CV, covering letter and the equal opportunities form here.

Interviews will be held on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 August 2022.

GWE Business West employs all Bristol Ideas staff. Business West is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all staff and job applicants. We aim to create a working environment in which all individuals are able to make best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which all decisions are based on merit.

Image credit: Alys Jones

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