Next steps for the new campus

Former Royal Mail Sorting Office during the demolition process

With demolition of the former Royal Mail Sorting Office well underway, we’re ready to progress with the next stages of the planning process. 

Since we secured outline planning permission in July 2018, we have continued to work with communities, businesses, the West of England Combined Authority and Bristol City Council to shape our plans. Phase one of the public consultation will run from 11 April to 1 May 2019 and will include the detailed design of the student residential accommodation. Well also take the opportunity to show an update on the proposed layout of the entire site. 

There are a number of ways for you to share your views. All information will be available online from 11 April and you can come along to one of the following meetings or drop-in sessions. 

Public meetings: 

  • Tuesday 16 April, 5-7.30pm at Barton Hill Settlement, 43 Ducie Road, Bristol BS5 0AX 

Drop-in sessions: 

  • Tuesday 16 April, 12-2pm & Thursday 25 April, 1-3pm at Engine Shed, Station Approach, Bristol BS1 6QH 
  • Wednesday 17 April, 5-7.30pm & Thursday 25 April, 5-7pm at Hannah More School, New Kingsley Road, Bristol BS2 0LT 
  • Saturday 27 April, 2-4pm at Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bristol BS3 4EA 

In the meantime, take a look at how much the site has changed since demolition began two months ago:

This first phase of public consultation will be followed by a second phase in the summer—this will focus on the academic buildings and public spaces. 

Temple Quarter -tales of yesterday, today and tomorrow

A blog post from Professor Guy Orpen Deputy Vice-Chancellor, New Campus Development. 

The derelict sorting office is now being demolished bit by bit; not with a swinging ball or major explosion, lest we disturb the rail passengers in their new trains sitting at Platform 15! The old building, constructed in the 1930s and abandoned over 20 years ago, was once a lively workplace on a site with a much longer history – the Cattle Market. Removing the building is an early step of the journey to the new campus. It is also acts as a trigger to reflect on the past of this part of the city and more widely on the part that culture and creativity will play in its future.

University staff and students are gathering the stories of those who worked in the area to document its past. The Cattle Market site was the home of a real market for cattle and other livestock from the mid-19th Century until the 1960s. As you’d expect of Bristol it was also more concerned with the welfare of the animals than most such markets in the UK. Before then, the site was home to John Hare & Co. who were makers of fine decorative cloths and visited by traders from around the world. So, our new campus will be able to draw upon many decades of past enterprise and openness to the world and reflect back those stories.

There are more current stories to tell too – of cultures that have their home in Bristol today. Just across the canal, the women of Lawrence Hill have found the sort of voice we expect to hear more of as the new university community is established in Temple Quarter. To help bring these tales to life we will establish a programme of activities we are calling Twilight Temple Quarter. These will share the knowledge and cultures of Bristol communities and those of the world around us, outside the more formal hours of work and study on a traditional campus.

In these early days of plotting the campus and telling its story we have commissioned artists to tell their tales, inspired by the site’s past, present and future. As a fine example, I commend the poem “Brick Me” penned by Vanessa Kisuule to mark the start of the demolition. Vanessa is one of three Temple Quarter artists in residence, a Bristol graduate and the current city poet.

The new campus will provide venues where the citizens and communities of our great city can share their tales both indoors and out. While the buildings will have spaces open to the public, there will be much larger areas on the Cattle Market site, much larger than Queen’s Square, for us all to enjoy and use for cultural and creative activities. The interplay will not end there. We will look to blend the understanding of the human condition held by creative artists with the opportunities that technologists can create, to generate real, welcomed, societal value.

Brick me – a poem

Today marks an important milestone in the creation of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus as demolition begins on the old sorting office next to Bristol Temple Meads Station.

As we say goodbye to the eyesore that has stood derelict for over 20 years, Bristol City Poet and artist-in-resident Vanessa Kisuule has written a poem to mark the occasion. We’ve worked with Vanessa to create a film that captures memories of the past as we look forward to new beginnings.

 

Facing the future together: City and University

A blog post from Professor Guy Orpen Deputy Vice-Chancellor, New Campus Development. 

The tides of history seem particularly turbulent at present. As Brexit swirls, cities, their people, businesses and organisations wonder about the way forward, our country faces very uncertain times. It feels more important than ever that we work together to support each other. We need to ensure we offer our young people opportunities to thrive whilst protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

A University like Bristol has much to offer in such times. Most obviously we offer employment (to 7,000 staff) and education (to our 24,000 students) as well as world-leading research.

Our students are more hard-pressed than previous generations; spending upwards of £10,000 a year in local businesses and services as well as high tuition fees. They are facing working lives that are longer and more uncertain than ever before. Despite these pressures, they enliven our city – in its cultural and sporting scene, by volunteering across its communities and bringing their vitality to its heart. And for many they make Bristol their home after they graduate, adding to the vibrant feel of one of the UK’s fastest growing cities – a regional hub for innovation and opportunity.

Our researchers seek understanding of our world today, invent ideas for its future and work with the NHS, industry, and society to understand how best to bring them to action. They launch new enterprises – like Ziylo this year’s $800m start-up company – and attract others to join in the endeavour with us. Often our graduates join these employers to provide them with the skills they need as doctors, engineers, managers, civil servants, teachers and scientists.

Our city needs many such jobs to be created, filled and sustained if we are flourish in a time when cities globally are vying for just these jobs. The scale and pace of competition is frightening – from Barcelona, Bangalore, Boston and Beijing to name just some of the Bs! Competition comes in many areas – aerospace, manufacturing, creative and business to name a few.

We face it too – competition in all we do and from all round the world. Our challenge is to attract and empower the most talented students and staff; to secure the resources to allow them and our educational, civic and research mission to succeed; and to bring value to our city and its people. We cannot do this alone. We need to work ever more closely with our city, its people, businesses and communities.

So, I’d argue that we need to be clear about what’s at play – all our futures. These are times of opportunity as well as challenge, and our city and University have just begun the journey to a closer partnership. There is much more we can do together – to change the face of the city east of Temple Meads and provide better futures for all in our wonderful, diverse, edgy but unequal city.

We will need to be honest with each other about the tensions as we face the future but pulling together we can put Bristol on the world stage, a place that tests futures and finds the best of them.

This post was originally published by the Bristol Post on 17 January 2019.

Artist-in-residence – Vanessa Kisuule

 

Vanessa Kisuule

Vanessa Kisuule is one of three Artists-in-Residence working with local communities on projects to celebrate the regeneration of the Temple Quarter area and document its heritage.

Vanessa is an award winning spoken word artist, recently appointed as Bristol’s city poet. She’ll be sharing her reflections and writing poems which explore the stories of the local area and its inhabitants, collecting memories from the past and hopes for the future. 

 

Click here to share your stories with Vanessa or call 0117 428 2322.

The Sorting Office Site: A Halfway House of Ghost Stories  

It takes a considerable leap of the imagination to walk through the cavity of the former Royal Mail sorting office and envisage a gleaming new university campus in its place. Despite its crumbling frame, there is something irrevocably sturdy about the structure. I can’t quite imagine it giving up without a fight. Even the way it will be demolished speaks of architectural stubbornness: rather than blowing up the structure in one cathartic motion, the contractors must ‘nibble’ away at the site with an extractor that will reduce the building to rubble over several weeks. Though initially disappointed that the building wouldn’t meet its end with a literal bang, I now appreciate the subtle poignancy in this death by slow mastication. It’s fitting that parts be taken away gradually, much in the way the building has decayed of its own accord in the twenty-two years since the sorting office was shut down. It’s the perpetual affliction of a poet to see metaphor in the most arbitrary of happenstance, but I like to hope this idea is striking for others to contemplate as well. 

The archival responsibilities we have to a space, even when we are radically changing it, are fascinating to ponder. As we were escorted around the site, stories of varying plausibility were relayed to us. Some were mostly true with the inevitable garnish of hyperbole, others seemed to be mere urban myths. But don’t the myths we make up become a part of our historical truth in their own way?

As I walked along the pitted floors scattered with pigeon feathers, desiccated carpet squares and endless mountains of debris, I couldn’t help but marvel at the playfulness of the space and how much of an inadvertent playground it has become. To speak of its ‘aesthetic’ would be suggestive of a deliberate curation that is not at play, but there does seem to be an incidental beauty here. I found myself charmed by the asymmetric chunks of tiles making scrambled mosaics on the floor, the walls that boasted meticulous murals and graffiti tags that would not look out of place in parts of Stokes Croft. It’s the sort of environment that media agencies spend thousands artificially creating for edgy networking events and pop up vintage stalls. If the university hadn’t bought this site, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a young tattooed micro-brewer specialising in niche IPAs had instead.  

But this space is not the all too common facsimile of counter culture we’re so used to seeing these days. There is a genuine spikiness here, an authentic deviance that is both bleak and thrilling. One of the old safes is reimagined as the locked entrance to a gay bar, an ominous political commentary if ever I saw one. The tags ‘Le Peng’ and ‘SHN’ recur frequently, the monikers of artists who have flaunted their stealth in getting into the building undetected. I fell a little bit in love with the swaggering aggression of this towering, majestic eyesore, the simultaneous fragility and belligerence of this not-quite-place. As an artist and as a human, I have learnt how to feel at home in the belly of a contradiction, so it stands to reason that this site speaks to me on a guttural level. It’s hard to imagine a time when it was an orderly place of work where things were filed and organised into neat piles and people dutifully clocked in and out. I am interested in these stories of the postal workers, how their regimented schedules may compare and contrast with the street artists who, decades later, scrambled into the husk of this once functioning business to reappropriate it in their own names.  

These stories may not be the remarkable kind that traditional history is so enamoured with. They are not the narratives on which instrumental change hinges. But they are the stories that have character and spunk, that perhaps relate to the communities we are trying so hard to retain as our cities become increasingly modern. The only hope for the survival of these stories is to ask probing questions and seek out those who may have answers, however partial. 

There will be a lot of conflicting opinions about this campus and what it means for the landscape of Bristol. Pertinent and uncomfortable discussions must be had as to who benefits from these changes and who potentially suffers or gets left behind. Whilst emphasising the exciting potential of developments like the Temple Quarter, we must also give space for uncertainty, for fear, for lament and respectful commemoration of what has been.  

I don’t want to be a vessel for glib evangelising for the campus, as brilliant as I think it has the potential to be. This residency, for me, is a chance to think deeply about the stories we tell ourselves about the cities we hope to inhabit. It’s nigh on impossible to disentangle truth from myth, hope from delusion, blue sky thinking from bottom line economics. With the help of my fellow Bristol citizens, I hope to make work that holds this dissonance with humour and care, that understands the trauma that comes with change and also the hopeful progression. Rather than forcing neat conclusions, I hope to make work as messy, provocative, angry, complex, beautiful and compelling as the site itself.

Student, Chelsie Bailey, on the rich heritage of the Old Bristol Cattle Market

As a History student at the University of Bristol I’ve had the privilege of looking into the heritage of the University’s new Enterprise campus and the history of the old Bristol Cattle Market, operating from 1830 until the 1960s. I’ve discovered a rich and extensive body of archival material, both locally in Bristol, and nationally and I was really excited to be part of the film celebrating the history of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.

I looked at changes in both legislation and public opinion around cattle markets in the nineteenth century, spurred by protests against the treatment of animals at Smithfield market in London. Working with members of the History and Veterinary departments at the University, an interdisciplinary approach has helped to uncover fascinating details of the experience of animals in the market and their treatment on journeys to and from the Temple Meads site.

Bristol Cattle Market initially held market day on Thursdays, with an additional opening on Mondays added later due to high demand. With numbers in the thousands at full capacity, the market held a range of livestock, including cows, calves, sheep, pigs and horses. The establishment of the Great Western Railway station at Temple Meads in 1840 increased the ease of access to the market, both for consumers and animals. Cattle travelled to the market on foot from local farms, by rail from the surrounding areas, and by boat from Ireland and Canada. The journey by boat in particular was reported to have been long and strenuous for the animals, with the minimum amount of food, water and physical space provided in efforts to keep costs low.

Bristol Cattle Market was nevertheless seen by many as the model of good practice in animal welfare, particularly in comparison to Smithfield. In Bristol, drovers – who walked the animals into the city – did not use the sharpened sticks commonly known as ‘goads’ to herd the cows. The location of the Market itself also ensured that the pens were of regulation size and there was less overcrowding in Bristol than at other major city markets, especially Smithfield. However the extent of animal welfare provision in the market should not be exaggerated. Butchers’ reports noted bruising and cuts on slaughtered animals, and a number of contemporaries observed unnecessary cruelty to cattle on the part of the drovers. One resident of St Phillip’s Marsh recalled her terror of market day as a child:

It was terrifying to hear the herdsmen shouting and hitting those maddened cows, and the Bulls had rings through their noses with men pulling them along on huge ropes. Blood would be running down from their faces where the rings had cut into their nostrils. Sometimes men would put a sack over the Bulls heads to quieten them down. Once a Bull put his backside against my Aunties front door and broke it down, and then one of the cows ran into the house.
Source: St Philips Marsh, The Story of an Island and its People, BRO Pamphlet/2054. P39

Through the nineteenth century, public awareness of animal cruelty was on the increase , exemplified by the establishment of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now the RSPCA) in 1824. The Bristol branch of the society was established in 1842, and funded regular inspections of the market, increasing the number of cruelty cases brought to court. Contemporary newspapers frequently reported the details of such cases, with cases commonly involving the binding of calves mouths with twine, which became ‘quite sunk into the flesh’, to prevent the calves from suckling and the exposure of diseased animals in the market.
Source: The Bristol Daily Post, Monday February 11 1861

The Market allowed the city to grow, putting Bristol on the map as having a good market for space for the animals and closeness to a train line. The significance of the market, and it’s long history, should be reflected in the new development of the University to commemorate the lives of the people and animals who dedicated their lives to it. We hope the essence of the market can be understood for the importance it held for Bristol, and for feeding all those who benefited from it. I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project, and would like to thank the Brigstow Institute and the Temple Quarter group for their help and support. I hope you enjoy this film about our project and the history of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus.

Professor Guy Orpen on the civic university

The University of Bristol has its roots firmly planted in the city from its formation as a civic university. When University College Bristol opened in 1876, in rented premises on Park Row, it had two professors and five lecturers offering courses in 15 subjects – with local people as students, many of them studying at night.

Drawing on a local history of education in medicine and engineering the University itself was formed in 1909 with the support of the City Council and individual citizens alike.

And it was always innovative – the University was the first higher education institution in England to admit women on an equal basis to men.

Over the past century the relationship between the city and its University has waxed and waned, but the last decade has seen a strengthening relationship as the mutual benefits to be gained have become strikingly obvious.

Bristol is a wonderful city in which to live, work and study, and for its citizens there is much to be gained from having one of the world’s top 100 universities at its heart. That said, for much of the past century neither the University or the city has actively sought to build on that mutual benefit.

This dynamic changed after the 2008 financial crash. The world now needs much closer partnership between cities, their communities and their anchor institutions, universities included, across the public, third and private sectors.

Now is the time to reimagine our University as one of the world’s great civic universities

We welcome the opportunity to build on the education and research that is our core mission by actively partnering with the health, educational, cultural, industrial, community and governmental organisations in our city-region.

We have been following this path for a decade and more. We were founder members of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, Bristol Health Partners, the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and the Learning City Partnership – to name but a few. The University played a key role in launching the Science Park by basing the National Composites Centre we own and operate there as its anchor tenant. Likewise, the University runs the Engine Shed and the global number one SETsquared Centre at Temple Meads.

Our role is clear – we can and should work with others to change the city for the better – to create jobs, cultural, social and learning opportunities. So, what next?

The city faces great challenges in building on success in challenging times, while bridging its divisions and sharing opportunities more fairly. Similarly, the University is under tremendous competitive pressure to be able to deliver public good while public funding is on the retreat.

The good news is that we can rise to these challenges together. The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus is the most visible of these opportunities. Its development is gathering pace, and the prospect of us having a campus that is for open collaboration with business, third sector partners and communities of the city has attracted great interest.

Research and innovation on the campus will co-create solutions to the challenges faced by society in Bristol and around the world – in the face of climate change, technology and demographic shifts – and bring out the talent that we need to deliver those solutions in practice.

To succeed, co-creation will require us to learn from, and partner with, our wonderful city and learn from the expertise of its diverse and challenging communities, businesses and organisations.

We invite you to join us on this journey – help us to reimagine how the University and city can work together to meet the challenges we face over the century ahead.

 

 

Artist-in-residence – Paul Hurley

Paul Hurley is one of three Artists-in-Residence working with local communities on projects to celebrate the regeneration of the Temple Quarter area and document its heritage.  Paul, who is a Bristol-based performance artist, will look at how both human and animal communities inhabit the site and connect with each other.

His insights will be turned into a series of films to be shown on multiple screens to create a thought-provoking and immersive experience.

I’ve lived and worked in Bristol for a number of years but am always seeing it in new ways. The city is always changing, but so am I – my perspective shifts when I meet new people, learn new things about Bristol, or see and observe different lives being lived here. This was one of the starting points for my residency at the Temple Quarter. How can I make an artwork about a city that is always changing? And whose story is most important? Mine? The University’s? Someone who’s been born and raised here? Someone who’s recently arrived and wants to feel welcomed?

This then got me thinking about ‘communities’ (never a simple term) around South and East Bristol and the encounters they might have – encounters with me and my art project, as well as with the broader project of the new campus and the University at large. I have a long history of making performances with communities as well as performances with and as animals, but have never mixed the two. It struck me that in a big development project like the new campus, the communities around it are multiple – both the different human communities that live and work around here, and the nonhumans that also inhabit its spaces.

My plan is to create a performance for video work that will bring together some of these different communities in a kind of council or community meeting to reflect on the area’s past and to think about its future. This meeting will be attended by representatives of different human and nonhuman communities, expressing their interests and concerns. The work will be a space for differences to be explored (differences of opinion as well as differences of lived experience), and to consider how the campus might fit into a broader ecology of human and nonhuman lives in the city.

Fun Palace Barton Hill Settlement blog: – 6th October

On a slightly cold and rainy October day I went to Barton Hill Settlement, to take part in one of Bristol’s annual Fun Palace events. The Settlement is a community centre dated back to the early 1900s. There are some interesting archival photos here. Although the clothing and the centre might look very different today, the activities of the centre remain focused on creating opportunities for local residents to participate in positive and life-affirming activities. Fun Palaces are an initiative that “promotes culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture”. At Barton Hill, the day brought together artists, University staff and families to play video games, make bubble paintings, eat samosas and enjoy a free lunch from Food Cycle.

I used the opportunity to do a creative mapping exercise with families, drawing a map of East Bristol and asking people to draw where they thought different nonhuman communities might live. I discovered not only that most children can draw animals better than I can, but that they see the city as a place shared with a huge a range of nonhuman animals. As well as obvious ones like cats and dogs, people drew ladybirds, snakes (spotted near the river Avon), gulls, bats, nits and a pet tortoise. Almost 60 species (although that included a panda, two monsters and a reindeer).

Just one afternoon spent chatting to families not only opened up my own thoughts about the nonhuman communities around here, but felt really encouraging about how the project idea can connect to peoples’ imaginations. We will see how bringing human and nonhuman communities works – maybe the final piece will include a panda and a monster!

 

What will education look like tomorrow? Martin Parker looks at how universities can help local economic regeneration

Martin_Parker

Universities are clearly important players in their local cities, with huge effects on employment, housing, and culture. Bristol is no exception, with the Temple Quarter project by the main railway station set to transform that area of the city and have huge effects on its neighbouring communities. I am the new Director of an institute established at the University which tries to understand just how the development can maximise benefits for the citizens of the city who often have nothing directly to do with higher education. Why should they care about Temple Quarter?

Speaking at the Economics of Happiness conference at Bristol Harbourside in October, I will be talking about my research on what university Business Schools should be doing to help local economic regeneration. Together with Sado Jirde from the Black South West Network, and Chris Brink (ex head of Newcastle University) we will be discussing just how universities shape dominant ideas. What are the roles and responsibilities of universities in relation to local economies? Can higher education respond better to the needs and demands of society? Can it help create different futures?

Given the challenges that face us, we will need economies that are low carbon and hence more local. This probably means smaller organizations, and a renewed attempt to govern and think in regional or civic frames. The age of the big organization might be behind us, and we need to plan for a future in which we can no longer afford long supply chains and a throwaway society. Neither can we afford the kind of social exclusions which mean that organizations tend to be dominated by middle aged white men. We know that the future will not be the same as the past, so can universities begin to shape it?

Martin Parker

Mustafa Rampuri, Research and Innovation Programme manager for Temple Quarter – Bristol Faces

“I’ve been at the university for 14 years and during that time I’ve been involved in lots of projects that cross the boundary between the university and industry. My role is to oversee the TQEC Research and Innovation programme and the Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre (QTIC). “

Mustafa Rampuri, Research and Innovation Programme manager for Temple Quarter talks about how QTIC will unlock new opportunities. #bristolface

Read the full interview here.