The University of Bristol is one of six civic universities created in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. As our Chancellor Sir Paul Nurse noted in his installation ceremony, ‘civic universities draw their origins and their strengths from being embedded in their local communities’. As work continues apace on our new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus near Temple Meads train station, we look at how the University is already engaging with local communities in Bristol and how plans are afoot for this integration to be a key part of the new campus. The campus is being built close to complex communities in east and south Bristol, some of which experience multiple deprivation. It will be near to Barton Hill, an area where 77 languages are spoken and home to the Barton Hill Settlement, a community centre originally established by the University back in 1911.
In late 2019, the Barton Hill Settlement will be building a micro-settlement, made out of shipping containers, which will include office space and small residential units. The University will be renting a space to create a ‘micro-campus’, a place for teaching, research and outreach and where we can build new projects in collaboration with other partners based at the Settlement and in the surrounding areas. It will be an opportunity to pilot some of our activities for the new campus.
Pilot projects in the area, funded by a newly established Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus Public Engagement Fund, kicked off in summer 2019. These include a partnership with the Nilaari Agency working on mental health services in ethnic minority communities, a digital engineering project for schoolchildren and a business planning workshop delivered by SETsquared Bristol.
‘Partnering with the University of Bristol has meant we’ve been able to use our community engagement experience and local expertise to complement the discipline of academic research. This would usually be beyond our means as a small third sector street agency.’ – Nilaari Agency
Bristol’s new campus will be an inclusive place of research, education and collaboration, bringing together expertise and experience from a wide range of sectors and parts of society. It will offer a model for similar city-university collaborations worldwide. The public realm of the new campus will have welcoming and inclusive civic spaces with programmes to serve the local community, including a programme of activities in the evenings and weekends called Twilight Temple Quarter.
Not only are we designing digital and physical infrastructure across the campus with inclusivity in mind, we are developing an innovative and flexible undergraduate programme specifically aimed at local students without conventional qualifications and new initiatives to recruit a broader range of staff to the University. The spaces on the campus will include the Bristol Rooms, a ground floor space offering hotdesking to civic partners, social enterprises and community groups to work with us on research questions, student internships and big civic challenges.
‘So much information was covered so comprehensively but clearly. I felt like this session was really helpful and a very efficient use of my time.’ – Participant in SETsquared Bristol’s Jump Start your Business Plan
We are creating a socially responsible and sustainable campus that ensures a wide range of individuals and communities have opportunities to participate in, and shape, research, education and wider university life.
The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus Public Engagement Fund has been generously kickstarted by The Lennox Hannay Charitable Trust. Any alumni and friends who are interested in supporting Civic Engagement projects are welcome to get in touch. These are projects where even small donations can have a real and identifiable impact. To get involved and for the latest news visit: bristol.ac.uk/temple-quarter-campus.
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