On the evening of 21st November, Bristol & Exeter House hosted a business briefing event to introduce the Animating BTQ programme. Dick Penny of Watershed made a presentation to a number of EZ businesses.

Dick first thanks TCN  for hosting the evening briefing and said that this would be the first of a series of briefing events. He then went on to say:

I am Managing Director of Watershed and I want to begin by explaining why Watershed is interested in the Enterprise Zone. Watershed opened in 1982 in what were then redundant dockside transit sheds. Back then the dockside was virtually derelict. It was a no-mans land cut off from the rest of the city. SS Great Britain had been brought back to the drydock in which she was built, but was surrounded by a working timber yard and semi-derelict warehouses. The area around what is now Millennium Square and At Bristol was a vast un-kempt parking area by day, and an illegal street-racer gathering by night. One plan to address the increasing dereliction was to fill in part of the docks and knock down the redundant dockside sheds to create land for housing and a new inner circuit road. This sparked conservation groups into action and both water and sheds were saved – but what to do with them?

In the case of Watershed – or as it was then E Shed and W Shed – the JT Group offered to take on the sheds and re-develop them with commercial uses on the ground floor and cultural use on the first floor. Bit by bit, Harbourside, as we now know it, has been regenerated as a thriving space in our city – for leisure, for living, for business and for culture which has been a mainstay of that regeneration, and tomorrow The Queen will be visiting the newest dockside cultural centre, M Shed. The previously derelict Harbourside area has opened up to be a much used public space for our city and a magnet for visitors.

Experience of Urban Regeneration across the world tells us that culture and creative industries play a major role in successful regeneration. Within Bristol we have significant evidence of culture led regeneration having a major impact and this is why Watershed wants to engage with the Enterprise Zone to help renew this area of our city. We want to help extend regeneration upstream to open up new opportunities.

Around the world culture is a vital part of city infrastructure. Not only do cultural activities have direct economic impacts through the income generated and the number of people employed in the arts and at heritage sites, they provide multiple inputs into a wider range of creative industries, in the form of content, inspiration, skills and disciplines, intellectual capital and trained staff. Increasingly, cultural activities also provide a point of focus for creative networking and cluster development.

Animating Bristol Temple Quarter is a new collaborative initiative co-ordinated by Watershed with funding from Arts Council England. The objective is to encourage artists and audiences to explore the area now designated as the Enterprise Zone, engaging with its history and its future economic potential as a major location for creative digital industries.

The Zone has always been an enterprise area based on the transport links of water and rail. Industrial brands of old such as Puritan Soap and Redcliffe Crown Galvanised Iron have been replaced by creative digital brands like E3 Media and IBM.

But many people just do not know about what the Zone offers or indeed exactly what geographic area it is. The new Spatial Framework begins to re-imagine BTQ as four linked areas:
1. Temple Meads City Gateway – the transport hub;
2. Temple Quay – a modern business area of sustainable office buildings;
3. Silverthorne Lane – 19th century industrial streetscape located between railway and feeder canal with potential for heritage-led regeneration with a rich mix of live-work and leisure uses;
4. Avon Riverside – the tidal river corridor alongside the Bath Road running from the old Diesel Depot site to the creative community at Paintworks.

We will be commissioning pop up artworks to get more people to engage with the opportunity of BTQ. It will be a mix of projects to excite and entertain. We are going to primarily focus on the Gateway and Silverthorne Lane areas. The purpose of this evening is to begin to meet with businesses already in the Zone so that we can work with you to promote the opportunities.

In developing the programme we will be working closely with two Bristol based partners, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK who are producing the first pop up event, City Running. This will take place on the evening of Fri 30th Nov when 30 artists of different disciplines will gather at Jackdaw Hall in Paintworks to be briefed on the Zone. They will then go out into the evening armed with map and torch to collect inspiration and material returning at 10.00pm to make an artwork which will be shown at midnight. Audiences are invited to Jackdaw Hall from 9.00pm to share the making and showing. The event is free but reservation via Eventbrite is essential http://cityrunning.eventbrite.com/

Projects will pop up over the next few months and will include calls for ideas, imagined futures, interactive bikes, photographic documentation, theatre performance and exhibitions.

We will be seeking to support a creative digital focus – the creative industries are a key growth sector for the UK and for Bristol. The current edition of the CBI Magazine : Business Voice makes this clear. In reporting on a new CBI growth strategy it focuses on three high growth sectors.
UK Aerospace :133,000 Direct Employment : 0.4% contribution to UK GVA
UK Chemicals : 157,000 Direct Employment : 1.7% contribution to UK GVA
UK Creative Industries :1.4m Direct Employment : 3.2% contribution to UK GVA and a 10.6% share of UK exports.

Events will be publicised via the BTQEZ website and Catherine Frankpitt from BCC will be co-ordinating communications. So thank you very much for coming this evening, and please come along to City Running.