Watershed is Bristol’s film culture and digital creativity hub crossing boundaries of culture and commerce, art and technology, with a clear commitment to diversity of participation. Pervasive Media Studio is a world leading open innovation centre developing new talent and emergent creative technologies practice. Watershed services are designed to increase choice, diversity and innovation beyond the collective offer of the commercial market to create new knowledge and build inclusive cultural capital. Programmes constantly deliver high quality and Watershed differentiates its offer from the competition through its distinctive focus on embracing diversity and promoting emergent ideas and talent.How is Watershed structured and run? Watershed is structured as a group of three companies, the parent company Watershed Arts Trust Ltd and two wholly owned subsidiaries, Watershed Trading Ltd and Watershed Ventures CIC. The Arts Trust delivers the main cultural programme and owns the strategic business plan. Watershed Trading Ltd manages venue experience to provide an open and inclusive venue, while Watershed Ventures CIC is an innovation and exploitation vehicle. Each company has its own board with appropriate professional specialists to ensure grounding in wider market realities. The chairs of Trading and Ventures are also members of the main Watershed board. Through this structure we can focus our risk while maintaining stability, creating a highly adaptive and resilient organisation. What is the Pervasive Media Studio and how does it relate to Watershed? The Pervasive Media Studio is a creative technologies collaboration between Watershed, University of West of England and University of Bristol. It is as a multi-disciplinary lab where a brilliant community of artists, creative companies, technologists and academics work on commercial and cultural projects in the area of pervasive media. The open-plan workspace allows and encourages ideas to be shared and developed collaboratively. The Studio was set up in 2008 in Leadworks, Anchor Square by Watershed in association with HP Labs and the South West Regional Development Agency. In 2011 it expanded, formed a new partnership with the two Universities and moved into the Watershed building. What is pervasive media? Pervasive Media is basically any experience that uses sensors and/or mobile/wireless networks to bring you content (film, music, images, a game…) that’s sensitive to your situation – which could be where you are, how you feel, or who you are with. Oyster Cards are a simple pervasive device: so are audio guides at tourist attractions, which can give you extra information according to where you are and which bits you’ve been to already. Read more. How is Watershed funded? Watershed is funded through self-generated income from the Box Office, Café/Bar and Conference and events hire. We also receive 17% in grant funding from a wide range of sources. Our diverse programme would not be possible without the support and generosity of our individual donors, funders and partners. I thought you were just a cinema and Café/Bar – tell me more about what you do? The most public-facing parts of Watershed are indeed the cinema and the Café/Bar but we have other less publicly-visible parts eg the Pervasive Media Studio which hosts artists and creative practitioners. We have conference facilities and host many events, festivals and workshops for clients ranging from Lloyds TSB to Wildscreen Festival. We also present creative projects and activities online. We own the Watershed building and are landlords to the businesses on the ground floor along the walkway. Part of our responsibilities and aims as a landlord is to encourage culture and diversity on the Waterfront. Essentially what Watershed does is curate ideas, spaces and talent, to enable artistic visions and creative collaborations to flourish. Take a look here to see a variety of stories that help explain the work we do. How old is Watershed? Watershed opened in 1982 as the UK’s first media centre. Find out more about Watershed's history. Do you own the building? Yes we do, in 2007 the South West Regional Development Agency created a new fund to support the creative media sector in Bristol and enabled Watershed to buy its home, the historic dockside E&W sheds. This investment helped to give us more long term stability and the opportunity to grow a dynamic community for creative businesses on the Harbourside. Since 2007 we have worked hard with many partners on improving the area around Watershed to make it a more inclusive place, particularly in the evenings and our aim is to create an even more diverse environment in this key landmark area for residents and visitors. What are Watershed’s values? The Watershed brand is unique, trusted and respected and is driven by the following shared values:
- Inclusive: We are people led. We listen to and engage with the broadest range of people.
- Open and Honest: We provide a culture and environment that is trusting, trusted and trustworthy.
- Make Things Happen: We approach opportunity and challenge creatively, collaboratively and with a can do attitude.
- Entrepreneurial: We are inventive, try new ideas, experiment, learn and share.
- Celebratory: We celebrate culture, creativity and wonder.
with other individuals or organisations eg Afrika Eye festival and Encounters Film Festival. Our approach is to do things ‘with’ people not ‘for’ people.
The person with overall responsibiity for the film programme is Mark Cosgrove who produces a monthly podcast in which he gives his take on some of the upcoming programme highlights – including films, festivals, events and cross-artform developments and debates. How can young people get involved with Watershed? Watershed works with groups of Bristol young people – including those who are marginalised– to make sure their diverse, distinct and powerful voices are heard, and everyone is given a chance to develop their digital skills. We are committed to helping young people grow and flourish – it develops their creativity and skills, enables us to remain timely and relevant, and contributes vital talent to the cultural sector to ensure it continues to thrive.
Examples of our current engagement programmes include the BFI Film Academy, which identifies and nurtures young film talent aged 16 – 19 and the Future Producers programme for 18 – 24 year olds that develops their capacity to realise projects and ideas. We also run Rife Magazine which is Bristol’s youth-led online platform featuring content from young journalists who are mentored to cover stories covering all areas and walks of life creating online content that matters to them. Find out more about Rife. We also offer a £5.00 discounted cinema ticket for all screenings, any time any day of the week for everyone aged 24 and under. What's on for families at Watershed? Families can find current events for on our dedicated What's On For Families page. Our year-round programme for families includes Cinébabies - a weekly daytime screening for parents/carers with babies under 12 months; Cinékids - our monthly film and workshop for 6-11 year olds; Holiday Activities - such as matinee film screenings, colouring-in activities in our Café/Bar, and family workshops; Family Arts Festival - when each October we team up with other arts organisations to bring you an exciting programme of events as part of Bristol's one and only festival for families; Birthday Parties - our three cinema screens are available for hire, perfect for a private screening or computer gaming on the big screen. We also arrange School Screenings. What on-site facilities are there for families at Watershed?
We have a customer lift at our Box Office and main entrance on the ground floor, that takes you to our cinemas, Café/Bar and Events spaces on the first floor. There are baby changing facilities in the cinema side female toilets, in the inclusive accessible toilet and in both the male and female Café/Bar side toilets. High chairs, bottle warming and free WiFi are available in our Café/Bar and Buggy parking is available at our weekly Cinébabies screening on Monday mornings. We also have booster seats for children in the cinemas. See our dedicated page for planning your family's visit to Watershed.