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Bristol: European Green Capital 2015 update – get involved

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22 January 2014

Bristol has been awarded the title of European Green Capital City for 2015 – and there are opportunities for staff and students to get involved with the planning and organisation of the year's activities.

In June 2013, Bristol was awarded the title of European Green Capital City for 2015. This exciting award – the first for a UK city – offers Bristol the chance to celebrate its progress to date, highlight future plans, provide a role model to other European cities and engage the public via a 12 month programme of events. The award is a huge opportunity for the city, and Mayor George Ferguson has made our Green Capital status central to his vision of Bristol’s future environmental and economic development.   

The events of 2015 will be delivered by the newly-formed 2015 Company which has appointed Kris Donaldson as its Director. Working closely with the 2015 Company will be the Green Capital Partnership – the cross-sector umbrella organisation for organisations that share the vision of ‘a low carbon city with a high quality of life for all’, and a major driver of the European Green Capital bid. In election results announced on Friday 17 January, Philippa Bayley (Cabot Institute Manager) and Liz Zeidler (Director of Happy City) became the Chair of the Partnership, and Nina Skubala (GWE Business West) became the Vice Chair.

There are opportunities for all staff and students to get involved with the subgroups and in planning for and contributing to the 2015 year. The specific activities are still under discussion but will include some that we lead – eg hosting a national conference on Education for Sustainable Development; some where we partner – eg hosting academic conferences in key research areas; and some existing activities that are already scheduled for 2015. All activities will engage people and partners beyond the University. Any staff and students with existing activities for the 2015 year, or with ideas for new activities, are welcome to get involved, and should contact Mireia Bes in the Centre for Public Engagement.

The 2015 award provides a unique opportunity for the University to both contribute to the city’s environmental agenda, and to ensure that the activities and legacy of 2015 benefit our staff, students and facilities. This will further strengthen the foundation of excellent activity already happening across the University – through the Cabot Institute, Education for Sustainable Development programmes, student action, and estates and facilities. A small cross-University working group, led by PVC-Education Professor Judith Squires, has identified three primary areas for partnership and engagement, each facilitated by a small subgroup:

  • Engaged student learning: maximising opportunities for students to learn with local organisations including Bristol City Council; facilitating community members to set challenges for our students via an innovative web portal.
  • Sustainable futures: mobilising our research expertise towards city challenges; researching university-city partnerships; learning from other European Green Capitals.
  • Creative technologies: ensuring participation in the Green Capital from this growing area of University research, teaching and engagement, in concert with the creative technologies sector.

There are also opportunities to contribute to the Green Capital Partnership. All are welcome at a meeting that will scope the Partnership’s ‘action groups’ on 27 January. 

A joint Cabot, 2015 Company and Bristol City Council workshop to scope potential collaborative research projects will take place later in the Spring. Join the Cabot Institute mailing list to keep up to date with all news and activities for 2015.


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