Black man holding a sign which says 'Not one more'.
'Rest In Power Ahmaud Arbery' illustrated by Jasmine Thompson



Watershed stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Posted on Mon 15 June 2020

We are FOR equality and ANTI-racist. The global events of the last few weeks, the injustices faced by Black people in the UK and the clear demands for change in Bristol on the weekend of 7 June, speak powerfully to the need to make real commitments.

We recognise that we have more to do to ensure our organisation is representative of society and to dismantle the systems of privilege that sit at the heart of our sector. We recognise that there are times when we have fallen short of our values, and times when we haven't acknowledged and understood the labour and toll that doing our inclusion work has taken on people of colour. We have worked hard to diversify our creative community and our programmes, but we have not met our own targets to develop the diversity of our teams and we need to continue to address our staff training and working cultures.

The following commitments were created with our inter-departmental inclusion group before lockdown. This group takes an intersectional view of inclusion and seeks to identify and facilitate where there is a need for change. Today we share our commitments, and will hold ourselves to account in taking these steps in the next six months:


  • We will publish the demographics of our staff team and how they compare to the demographics of Bristol on an annual basis, including at which levels in the Organisation they work. Currently 7% of our staff members are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds and 18% of our board.
  • We will create an inclusive HR strategy and target for each department, addressing diversity at every level.
  • We will create a set of shared principles for all Watershed staff, studio residents and collaborators that defines what we mean by inclusion and sets out clear expectations around behavior and language.


  • We will continue to work with our team members, studio residents and wider community to develop new collaborations and representative programmes, working with and for the black communities of Bristol.
  • We will annually publish the demographics of Pervasive Media Studio residents, Watershed programme participants and audiences, including the steps we will take where they fall short of our target to at least match the demographics of the city.
  • We will seek to amplify the voices of Black creatives, organisations and businesses in the city.
  • We will ensure all of our opportunities are inclusive and representative of the city in which we work.
  • We will continue to screen films which reflect and represent the diversity of local and global cultures.
  • We will continue our partnerships with CARGO, St Paul's Carnival, Black South West Network, Afrika Eye, Ujima, Come the Revolution and the new Bristol African Caribbean Culture Space.

The current pandemic and subsequent economic crisis means we need to do things differently - this is the right time to do the thinking, develop the practice and make the commitments to change, to ensure we re-develop a fairer, more equitable, more representative culture sector.

This statement represents our understanding of where we are today - we commit to keep listening, learning and reviewing our approach and to undertake this process with love, open-ness and collaboration.


For Black artists and creatives looking for support with their practice, the following opportunities are currently live:

New Creatives Interactive 2020

An open call to any new creatives in the South West, aged between 16-30, who have something to say via the medium of interactive art. We are looking for enthusiastic, curious, and driven individuals that have an idea that they wish to develop through the collaborative process of the project.

Beyond Boundaries 360

A collaborative network, skills development opportunity and rolling fund aimed at South West based individuals and organisations who are interested in showing films and are under-represented in the cinema sector (particularly people of colour, disabled people, LGBTQI people, women and those from low socio-economic backgrounds).


These rolling open calls for short film funding and early development funding are open to South West based writers, directors and producers at the start of their careers with original stories to tell and inspired approaches to their craft.

Creative Workforce for the Future events
For creative companies looking to develop a more inclusive workplace, register for Creative Workforce for the Future events.


For those wishing to learn more about racism and inequality, we recommend the following talks and articles from the Watershed family:

Young people's voices:

Rife on Black Lives Matter

Lucy Turner explores her thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement and addresses some false and damaging statements.

This Hair is Beautiful

A short film about how hair and identity are intertwined, directed by Akosua Lune

Speaking with Colour

A podcast exploring the relationship between language and cultural identity by Keziah Wenham-Kenyon.

Rife: Twenty-one Stories from Britain's Youth (edited by Nikesh Shukla and Sammy Jones)

Rife, Watershed's youth-led online magazine, published a book of essays by young people in 2019, packed with their viewpoints on gentrification, dating, politics and more

Events and cinema

What does it take to belong?
A panel event with film makers Judy Kibinge and Alain Gomis in partnership with Afrika Eye

Immigration and Future Cities

A Bristol Festival of Ideas panel with Jeremy Cliffe (Economist) and Sunder Katwala, John Harris (Guardian), Gary Younge, Councillor Hibaq Jama (Bristol City Council) and others.

What Does Malcolm X mean to you?

Featuring Dr. Edson Burton & Adam Murray in partnership with Come the Revolution

Artists films

Uprising2020 -

The CARGO collective document the uprising in St Pauls in 1980.

Under the Bridge by Firstborn Creatives

Bristol made the first significant civic acknowledgement of its connection to transatlantic slavery in 1999. The film uses this event to go through some historical facts of Bristol's African trade and its legacy.

Creative Technology

Digital Placemaking: Whose new normal?

With inclusion and celebration of difference at its heart, Bristol and Bath Creative R&D's Digital Placemaking project see's organisations collaborate in a new way.

Edson Burton: Infusing Afrofuturism & Landing the Last Blues Song

Writer, historian, curator, performer and Studio resident Dr Edson Burton's discusses his project, The Last Blues Song of a Lost Afronaut

Lily Green: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

In this talk, Studio Residents Lily Green & Tim Kindberg talk about how their project Grapevine works, how you can get involved and some insight into the process of transforming an R&D project into an inclusive company.

Stomping Ground

Pravanya Pillay, poet Maida and animator Chris create a patchwork quilt of the stories of young people of colour living in Bristol right now.

Coming soon...

The Residents

A new Podcast exploring community in the Creative sector by Pervasive Media Studio Resident Will Taylor with Residents from marginalised groups based specifically within the Studio.