Temple Quarter -tales of yesterday, today and tomorrow

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.

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.

 

 

Awais Rashid, Professor of Cyber Security – Bristol Faces

“I was attracted to the University’s academic excellence and its future ambition. Particularly the Temple Quarter Campus and the ambition to be a modern civic university that’s integrated with the city and has a social mission.”

Awais Rashid, Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Bristol gives his views on cyber security, Bristol and the Temple Quarter Enterprise  Campus #bristolface

Read the full interview here.

Goodbye to the Cattle Market Tavern

In May Bristol City Council demolished the Cattle Market Tavern to help make way for the university’s new Temple Quarter campus. Built in 1910, this is not the first time the Tavern was pulled down as it was rebuilt in 1915 when G.W.R. extended Temple Meads over most of the old cattle market. The Cattle Market Tavern won’t be forgotten though. A group of students are currently researching the history of the site and our artists- in-residence will start work soon to help capture stories of the area including those that used to drink at the Cattle Market Tavern.