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Bristol Fun Palaces - everyone an artist, everyone a scientist!

Graffiti-ing YoBikes with nutrition facts

Graffiti-ing YoBikes Dean Ayotte

Fun Palaces 2018 - Jacobs Wells Community Hub

Walking on optical illusions at Jacob Wells Community Hub Dean Ayotte

Fun Palaces 2018 - Bristol Ferry

Making pom poms on Bristol Ferries Dean Ayotte

22 November 2018

International Fun Palaces weekend took place on 6 and 7 October this year, bringing researchers together with residents and community partners to co-host arts and science events. Elizabeth Blackwell Institute hosts Bristol’s Fun Palace Ambassador, supporting researchers at the University of Bristol and local community groups to set up arts and science activities across Bristol as part of the global Fun Palaces campaign.

This year Fun Palaces activities were held city-wide, welcoming people in diverse areas across Bristol, stretching from Avonmouth to Barton Hill and beyond. Over 500 people took part in the Fun Palaces weekend locally, with over 50 Fun Palace makers in total - 24 of whom were researchers and students from the University of Bristol, along with 28 residents, community groups and local organisations supported by University staff.
Researchers and student volunteers partnered up with community groups and residents to create fantastic, interactive Fun Palace activities - from graffiti-ing YoBikes with nutrition facts to making brain hats, walking on optical illusions and escaping virtual rooms.
Researchers in 2018 got involved in Fun Palaces to bring their whole research lab outside of the University to connect with new communities, start a dialogue and get feedback on a research output, meet and connect with new community partners or try something new and visualise research in new ways.

Valued by researchers 

“It was a great opportunity to meet people from the local community of Barton Hill and meeting some of the other participants. [Taking part in Fun Palaces] made me more aware of the existence of very local communities within their own hubs.” Dr Havi Carel, Life of Breath project at Barton Hill Fun Palace 2018.
“We gained confidence working with the public. It is always helpful to engage with people in a non-academic context and talk about the project.” Jordan Collver, Project Coordinator for Life of Breath.
“It was fun to do and interesting to see what other organisations were there on the day.” Julie Clayton, Dementia Research Bristol and Bath Project Coordinator.
Hear from the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) about their Fun Palace activity this year in their blog: Taking part in a Fun Palace – what we did and was it worth it?

Enjoyed by local residents

The activities were enjoyed by Bristol residents too:
“New ideas. New ways of looking at things.” Attendee to Barton Hill Fun Palace
“Enjoyed walking on the urban patterns and appreciated creative activities.” Attendee to Jacobs Wells Fun Palace
“[I enjoyed hearing] young students explaining science.” Attendee to Jacobs Wells Fun Palace
“Good to learn new things.” Attendee to Avonmouth Fun Palace

What next?

In 2019 the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute will once again be working with community partners, researchers, venues and Bristol residents to celebrate and get behind the Fun Palace ethos of ‘everyone a scientist, everyone an artist’. This will start with a Fun Palaces launch in early 2019 and will be followed by pop-up activities throughout the year, all leading up to the big weekend in October 2019. In the meantime, there’s plenty to plan and consider.

Further information

If you’d like to find out more about what Fun Palaces is all about, vist the Fun Places website. If the idea of a Fun Palace appeals to you, and you would like to work with the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute, email us at

Or follow @Fun_Bristol on Twitter for updates on what we’re planning.

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