“By playing the connector role, Watershed has developed to be a public-facing cultural and creative economy hub for the Bristol city region with strong networks amplified through the public programme. It is the open cultural approach combined with wide public engagement and a strong showcasing ethos which has enabled Watershed to leverage its profile to become a trusted connector”
Jon Dovey, REACT Report 2016
Watershed acts as both a hub and an anchor for the city’s creative economy – raising its profile, developing its connections and creating opportunity to share its strengths with the world.
Watershed team members act as mentors and advisors to creative organisations across the city, and advocate for their needs on forums from LEP to the Business Improvement District. We invest resources to strengthen individual players in the ecology and the whole.
Our open approach and accessible venue ensure people from all backgrounds feel welcome. By providing the space and opportunity for different worlds to meet, Watershed plays an active role in strengthening the aspiration and the connections of the local ecology.
Watershed provides bespoke, active and often long-term support to make a real difference to artists. The result is confident practitioners with ground-breaking ideas, appropriate business growth and national/international profile.
“Watershed has introduced me to a wealth of possibilities that have taken my idea from a long held dream to a graspable reality. Through a plethora of idiot questions, I have been able to refine my ideas, and to consider the practical challenges. Residents have been incredibly generous and have informed my thinking. ”
Edson Burton, Watershed Artist in Residence 2016
Watershed connects activities locally to flows of ideas and hubs of practice nationally and internationally. From the resources we publish online to the mentoring and support we offer, our commitment to knowledge exchange draws cultural organisations from across the UK for advice, validation and collaboration.
“Watershed is a key reference point in arts and cultural development across the UK and increasingly internationally. It is a go-to organisation to understand best and next practice – from audience development for film to R&D to cross-sector partnership”
In addition, our leadership around emerging technologies and art forms delivers inspiration and new ways of working to industry and others in the mainstream creative sector - who find it difficult to innovate:
“It is no exaggeration to say that in five months Books and Print Sandbox has delivered as much as some mainstream publishers have done in five years.”
George Walkley, Head of Digital at Hachette.
Watershed is rooted in Bristol but has international reach and ambition, connecting artists and audiences with creative, cultural and commercial constituencies across the world. This is particularly evident in Playable City which has captured the imagination of cities across the globe. In places as diverse as Lagos, Recife and Tokyo we are working with teams of local creatives to develop new skills and practice. To date Playable City has reached over 1.1m people across 5 continents and worked with 74 international partners in 9 cities.
“Watershed are an inspirational organisation. Their expertise and work ethic was a breath of fresh air, especially in Lagos where these are not readily available. Working with Watershed has allowed for knowledge exchange and learning that can be transferred to Lagos“.
Olamide Udoma, Future Lagos