First Friday is somewhere between the last meeting of the week and the first event of your weekend. You might meet an artist or an engineer, a school teacher or a city leader. It is a place to connect with someone you might not otherwise meet, and hear about stuff you didn’t already know. All are welcome - from inside and outside the city, online or in the Watershed building. Grab a drink and settle in for a short burst of serendipity and connection.
First Friday began over ten years ago in our bar as a place for people who shared an interest in innovation and creativity, no matter their sector or background. It has happened every month for ten years – creating new collaborations, businesses, friendships and ideas. During lockdown we took the conversation online, enabling people to join who otherwise wouldn’t be able to. In the process we realised that Watershed isn’t only a physical space; we are a network that reaches out across the world. We also found that First Friday was never really about the free drinks, it is about togetherness and discovery.
First Friday now takes place both in Watershed Café & Bar and on our bespoke online platform. It happens on the First Friday of every month from 17:00 to 18:00. Each month we share some work from our community for you to engage with if you want to. We will test ways of connecting the people participating online with the people who are participating in the building.
As ever, First Friday only works if it works for you. So – as we trial this new way of doing things – please do let us know what you think. You can send any feedback or get in touch if you have any problems during the event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to join us online
To join us online sign up here. You will be asked for your email address so we can send you your personal link. Please try and use either Chrome or Firefox on your computer (rather than a mobile device). You will be paired up at random for a series of five minute conversations, one on one with other guests.
There is an option to take a break between each chat and you are welcome to pop in and out whenever you like (just use the same personal link to start again).
How to join us in person
There is no need to book to join us in the building. Please come through Box Office and into the Café & Bar. First Friday will be in The Link (the first area you walk into when turning right at the top of the stairs) and you can buy your drinks at the bar. We have a capacity of 50 so if The Link is full when you arrive will be directed to other tables until there is space. There will also be a chance to join the online conversation if you would like to.
We would like you to do a lateral flow test before attending. Our bar is spacious with a lot of natural ventilation and we are taking care not to crowd people in. We will also be making sure that any shared objects (such as headphones) are sanitised between uses.
This month: Redrawing the Ocean
First Friday this month is happening during the 26th UN Climate Change Conference and coincides with two days of global action and mobilisations towards Climate Justice. As part of the event, we invite you to participate in Redrawing the Ocean.
Can art help us rethink our relationship to the environment? We have all heard worrying statistics about rising sea levels and melting glaciers – but can art offer a way to engage with these issues beyond data? As the crucial COP26 climate summit takes place in Glasgow, take a moment during First Friday to explore how artists in the UK and in Chile are experimenting with different media to challenge our understanding of the ocean, rivers, lakes and our impact on them. If you are in the building you will also have the option to have a go at redrawing the ocean yourself, with some drop-in activities led by illustrator Jasmine Thompson (no skills required!).
Redrawing the Ocean includes research from the Reimagining the Pacific project at the University of Bristol, which is supported by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
We’d love to hear how you get on and who you get talking to – use the hashtag #WshedFirstFriday to share your experience.
At Watershed we want to be as welcoming, inclusive and accessible as we can. Find out more about access here.