News

Watershed receives continuing Arts Council England National Portfolio Funding until 2022

Posted on Tue 27 Jun 2017
Beacon Choir by Thomas Williams. Photo by Paul Blakemore.

Beacon Choir by Thomas Williams. Photo by Paul Blakemore.

Watershed is delighted to be confirmed as a continuing part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio and looks forward to sustaining Watershed’s leadership and innovation role in the cultural ecosystem. 

With a focus on collaboration and partnership, Watershed is recognised for its internationally distinctive programme of invention and talent development; as a leading centre for film culture and as Bristol’s city centre cultural meeting and debating place of choice.

Watershed will continue to champion inclusion, imagination and ingenuity, putting artists and audiences at the core of our business. The programme will focus on cultural cinema, talent development and new forms of artistic practice, enabled by technology.

Over the past four years Watershed has delivered inclusive innovation and sustainable development in the following areas:

  • Art and Technology – The Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed is a world-leading centre developing talent and emergent practice in the cultural and creative economy. It is a partnership with UWE Bristol and University of Bristol.
  • Young People – The next generation of creative talent is developing its voice through Watershed’s ground-breaking engagement programmes such as Rife Magazine, Bristol’s youth-led online platform.
  • Moving Image – Watershed is both an internationally renowned cultural cinema and the home of BFI Film Audience Network Hub for the South West, developing film culture across the region.

Audiences and talent are at the heart of everything Watershed does, we believe that to release the true potential of the artists and audiences we work with, we must draw from the widest pool of collaborators and ask them to engage with people not like them. Distinctiveness and difference are curated into our programmes and open calls and community partnerships ensure a consistently vibrant mix.

 “Being around people from such different backgrounds made me realise that you don’t have to give up if you can’t do something, you can dream as big as you like because there will always be someone who knows how to do something you can’t” Tenaya Steed, New Talent Residencies 2016.

Clare Reddington, Creative Director says:

“We are delighted with today’s announcement and particularly proud that Arts Council England recognised Watershed's 'Outstanding' work around Inclusion and our advocacy for the power of the arts to lead (rather than play catch up) with new technologies. It is a ringing endorsement of our continuing role as a connecting hub and an anchor for Bristol’s creative economy and ecology. I am looking forward to continuing our work to develop connections, create opportunities and exchange knowledge with audiences and partners in Bristol and beyond.”

In 2016/17, Watershed reported:

  • 1m people visited us on the web
  • 450,000 people visited our building
  • 154,000 people bought tickets for our venue screenings and events
  • 20,000 people engaged with projects beyond the venue
  • 25,000 young people engaged with our programme
  • 139 artists and creatives benefited from the support of the Pervasive Media Studio
  • 90 Full Time equivalent jobs at Watershed
  • 4 continents hosted Playable City events

Watershed’s economic impact is in excess of £18m

  • Watershed Group Turnover in 16/1 7 is £5.2 million
  • PM Studio residents reported turnover of £13.7 million
  • Watershed Arts Trust Ltd is a registered Charity no 284188 and a Social Enterprise

Forthcoming highlights to look out for:

Bristol VR Lab
Opening in Autumn 2017 Bristol VR Lab is a new space for research, development, product design, teaching, company incubation and investment within Virtual and Augmented Reality that will open in central Bristol.

Bristol VR Lab is a collaboration between the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England with Watershed and Opposable VR - organisers of VR World Congress.  Partners in the VR Lab include the BBC, the At Bristol Science Centre and Bath Spa University.  With this range of supporters, and with relationships throughout the city and VR / AR industry globally, Bristol VR Lab will be able to provide VR developer space, technology and advice to a range of projects and companies.

Playable City Award
Playable City puts people and play at the heart of the future city, re-using city infrastructure and re-appropriating smart city technologies to create connections – person to person, person to city.
The winner of the 2016 international Playable City Award, is UK based design and technology consultancy Hirsch & Mann, who will transform everyday pedestrian crossings into playful multi-sensory experiences.

Cinema Rediscovered
Thu 27 – Sun 30 July 2017
Join us for the second edition of Cinema Rediscovered - a chance to discover some of the finest new digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities from across the globe where they were meant to be experienced - on the big screen.