Preview: Bristol Festival of Ideas, 18-20 October 2017

Kye Parkin
Communications Executive | Business West
25th September 2017

Bristol Festival of Ideas is back with its compelling programme of events, this year including topics exploring the City, its future and how we can work, live and learn within it -  many of which are free to attend. 

Here are some of our Festival highlights which businesses can look forward to:

Workshop: Collaborating with Communities in Creating Their Own Spaces with the City

Wed 18 October, 09.00-10.20

Watershed - Free

Grass-roots activities can regenerate areas and empower communities to take ownership of their own shared spaces within the city. The panel explores the interplay between ‘top down’ and ‘ground up’ interventions and places in between. What would an entirely co-created city look like? What role can universities play in supporting these kinds of activities? And who participates in participatory place-making?

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The Future of Metro Devolution

Wed 18 October, 13.10-14.30

Watershed - Free

Six new combined authority mayors were elected in May 2017. Together they have responsibility for nearly ten million people and economies worth over £200bn. What can mayors do with the powers they have now? And what will the future bring? West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles and Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram debate the issues, joined by Alaina Harkness (Brookings Insitution, Chicago) and Peter Kurz (Mayor of Mannheim) who will share lessons from the USA and Germany.

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Future Cities Catapult: City Information Models

Wed 18 October, 13.30-15.20

Watershed - Free

Digital platforms are increasingly becoming the dominant business model for the delivery of key services in cities; and how citizens use Uber, AirBnB, Deliveroo and CityMapper is also having an impact on how our cities function. In addition, we are seeing the big technology companies increasing their presence, with Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod linking our physical and digital worlds, and Google and Facebook taking early steps to becoming housing developers. This session will explore some of these trends and how the concept of city information models can begin to tie together some of the disparate developments in technology, city planning and management.

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Good Work in the Future City 

Wed 18 October, 14.30-15.30

Watershed - £9/£6.50

But work is changing rapidly: jobs for many are insecure; flat-lining productivity is failing to promote growth; there are fears that the robots will take all the jobs. What is the future of work in cities? What can city leaders and businesses do to promote good work? Panellists (Kate Bell, James Bloodworth, Gavin Kelly and Anthony Painter) examine work trends, low-pay, universal basic income and the evidence base for the future of work, among other issues.

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Delivering for Bristol: The Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address 2017

Wed 18 October, 19.30-21.00

Wills Memorial Building - Free

In his first State of the City address in 2016, Mayor Marvin Rees put forward his vision for Bristol. Now he turns to how he is delivering this vision. Against a background of financial difficulties and austerity, Rees looks at the positive future plans for Bristol – from the arena to transport; how the council will help solve the housing crisis; and how he will make a city that works for all. He’ll also launch the Bristol One-City Plan for debate.

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The Challenge of Inclusive Transformation: Towards a Sustainable City

Thu 19 October, 18.00-19.00

Hamilton House Stokes Croft - Free

What does it take to transform a city? Bristol is working to become a carbon netural city by 2050. Such a transformation is challenged by ingrained behaviour and centuries old infrastructure that works for some but not all. This workshop will explore the vital role of inclusion in brining about the transition to a sustainable city.

In association with Bristol Green Capital, University of Bristol and Ujima radio.

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If Women Built Cities

Thu 19 October, 19.40-21.00

Watershed - £9/£6.50

How different would cities be if women built them? How do we extend the rights to the city to all? Leading writers, architects, campaigners and researchers debate the challenges facing women living in cities and explore how cities could be made better for all in the future.

In association with B24/7 and Ernst & Young.

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Bristol: One City – Shaping the Future 

Fri 20 October, 13.00-14.30 and 14.45-16.15

Watershed - Free

Bristol is a fantastic city but like many it faces its challenges. The ambition of ‘The One City Plan’ will enable a truly collaborative and integrated approach to deliver for the city. The plan will look forward and provide an overarching vision for Bristol, aligning partners across the city on the key challenges and opportunities.

This is a participative session, allowing attendees to share their vision for the city and shape Bristol’s future on topics such as health and well-being, education and skills, growth, communities and transport and infrastructure.

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How do we Create Child-Friendly Cities? 

Fri 20th October, 14.30-17.00

Watershed - Free

What is a child-friendly city? How does this link to other city visions for healthy, green, resilient, connected and fair places? What policy changes need to be achieved to make cities truly child-friendly?

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Brexit and the Future of Cities

Fri 20th October, 18.00-19.00

Watershed - £9/£6.50

Nearly 52 per cent of people in the UK voted to leave the EU in the referendum of 2016. However, most major cities – apart from Birmingham – voted to remain. In Bristol, 61.7 per cent voted to remain. What caused this split between major cities and the rest of the country? What does it say about the future of the UK? And how can UK cities post-Brexit retain good relationships with other European cities and the EU as well as operate effectively within a cohesive UK? The panel (including Anna Lisa Boni, Andrew Carter, Matthew Goodwin, Margaret Heffernan and Anand Menon) will discuss.

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A full festival programme can be found at:

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  • Festival Programme

  • About the Festival

    Bristol Festival of Ideas is an initiative of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership - a body established and funded by Arts Council England, Bristol City Council and Business West.