View all news

University of Bristol announces partnership with the Bristol Festival of Ideas

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Press release issued: 1 October 2012

The University of Bristol today announced its partnership with the Bristol Festival of Ideas which will include access to its leading academics in the formation and execution of festival programmes, as well as joint marketing and other support.

The University of Bristol today announced its partnership with the Bristol Festival of Ideas which will include access to its leading academics in the formation and execution of festival programmes, as well as joint marketing and other support.

Bristol Festival of Ideas – an annual programme of 200 talks, debates, conferences and linked programmes of exhibitions, education projects and publications – was launched in 2005 and is widely regarded as one of the leading festivals of its kind in the UK. It is run in association with the Observer.

The University of Bristol partnership will support the festival in increasing the number and range of events and in commissioning new events with international thinkers and writers, as well as opening up festival events to the University’s students. 

David Alder, Director of Marketing & Communications, University of Bristol, said today: “The Bristol Festival of Ideas plays a key role in Bristol's cultural calendar and is rightly recognised nationally for the quality of its programmes.  We have been working with the festival for a number of years and this partnership builds on our existing relationship. We're very excited by this meeting of minds and the opportunities this will open up for our students, our academics and for Bristol generally.”

Bristol Festival of Ideas is an initiative of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership (BCDP) – Bristol City Council and Business West. Simon Cook, leader, Bristol City Council, added “This partnership is brilliant news for the festival and the city. The University of Bristol has always played a major role in the city and its cultural life. We can now look forward to more events and debates making Bristol one of the leading centres for creative and cultural ideas in the country.”

Phil Smith, Managing Director, Business West said: “Bristol Festival of Ideas is one of the jewels in Bristol’s cultural crown. The work it does in celebrating and debating ideas is of great benefit to the people of the city and to city prosperity.  It’s international, but deeply rooted in the genius of Bristol – those people and companies transforming the way we live, work, play and learn. This new partnership with the University of Bristol will allow the festival to further extend its work and its impact.”

BCDP is also an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation. Phil Gibby, Arts Council England’s Director for the South West commented:  “It is excellent news that the University of Bristol is partnering with the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and the Festival of Ideas. There is huge potential in links between arts organisations, heritage bodies and higher education and this new partnership is a model for others to adopt. I’d like to thank the university on behalf of the Arts Council for its generous support.”

Bristol Festival of Ideas has just launched its autumn programme. The events address many issues, from the campaign at El-Alamein to why the world has become more peaceful; from the seductive escapism of the movies to the war on drugs; from William Morris and the art of the book to contemporary graphic novelists; from the story of China’s migrants to a personal journey from Islamic extremism; from a little-known hero of the French Revolution to the British Coalition Government; and from black holes in the universe to the atomic physics of Robert J Oppenheimer. There’s also the first Festival of Economics which brings together academic economists, practitioners of economics, and challengers from both inside and outside the subject.

Speakers appearing between now and January 2013 include: novelists Richard Ford, Will Self, Denise Mina, Thomas Keneally and Juan Gabriel Vásquez; food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; journalists Aditya Chakrabortty, Seumas Milne, Peter Hitchens, Daniel Trilling and Polly Toynbee; advocate of recreational drugs Howard Marks; polymath Jared Diamond; broadcaster and writer Jonathan Dimbleby; psychologist Steven Pinker; economists Diane Coyle, Rachel Lomax, Vicky Pryce and Jonathan Portes; and many more.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, one of Britain’s greatest writers, broadcasters and campaigners on food will be talking at a special free event to mark this new partnership between the festival and the University of Bristol.  Hugh will be talking about his approach to food, his new recipes, and his food campaigns which have seen him take on intensive farming and Tesco in recent years including promoting a more ethical treatment of chickens used in the food industry and sustainable fishing.


Edit this page