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BBC Bristol Partnership to build on city’s creative profile

Front row, left to right: George Ferguson CBE, Helen Boaden, Dick Penny and Nicola Yates. Back row, left to right: Pat Conner, Lynn Barlow, Professor Guy Orpen and Paul Appleby

Press release issued: 15 February 2016

The University of Bristol has joined forces with the BBC and other partners to foster creativity, innovation and talent across the city.

A third agreement was signed by six major organisation at the BBC 6 Music Festival on Saturday [13 February], signifying further commitment to building on the creative profile of Bristol.

The six organisations are BBC England, Bristol City Council, Watershed, Bristol Media, the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol.

Building on a successful six years of partnership between the BBC and its partners in Bristol, the purpose of this third agreement is to set the framework for the next three years. 

As part of the three year 'memorandum of understanding', there will be planned development projects with higher education and foundation education institutions, plus the creation of new, diverse pathways into employment.

Through partnership working and established action groups, the BBC Bristol Partnership aims to increase creative media talent at every level, and become an even more networked and collaborative partnership.

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Bristol, said: "The BBC Bristol Partnership builds on the city's creativity and drive for innovation - something we feel passionately about at the University and which inspires our staff and students. Hosting the BBC 6 Music Festival in Bristol and the music hackathon within it is just one exciting example of what can be achieved.

"We're looking forward to the next phase of the agreement and the opportunities it will present, not just for our staff and students but for people across the city."

The University has created a number of new joint ventures with the BBC to deliver technical innovation and to develop the next generation of talent.

For example, the University joined forces with UWE Bristol to hold a hack event in At-Bristol as part of The Fringe supported by BBC 6 Music Festival, which saw teams compete to develop products or social enterprise ideas which use music to bring people together and solve real issues facing young people in Bristol.

Helen Boaden, Director of Radio and BBC England, said: "I am delighted to sign a new BBC Bristol City Partnership Memorandum of Understanding between the BBC and five key local organisations.

"Our collective ambition is to continue to build on the creative profile of the city, aiming to increase creative media talent at every level and become an even more networked and collaborative partnership."

In signing the memorandum of understanding, the partners are indicating their intention to play an active role in delivering a city-wide collaboration which seeks to deliver the following:

Talent Action Group

The goal of the BBC Bristol Partnership Talent Action Group is to co-ordinate activities, encourage engagement and disseminate information to support the development of creative media talent in the city of Bristol at every level (school, college, university, industry). To achieve this, the partnership sets out to align resources and improve communications among partners so that it achieves maximum collective impact. With an emphasis on inclusion and outreach, the group recognises that a strong talented creative economy is open and inclusive and so widening participation and diversity are at the heart of the Talent Action Group.

Partnership Action Group

The partners will work together to identify, share and amplify partnership opportunities. The partners will make connections across the creative sector and wider industries in order to support and build on Bristol’s recognized position as a centre of excellence for cross platform media production and innovation. Recognising that the BBC and its partners are part of a rich ecology, the Partnership Action Group will actively share information, highlight synergies and connect people. It aims to engage and collaborate with initiatives that support and further develop the creative economy of the region.

Further information

The memorandum of understanding was signed by:

  • Helen Boaden, Director of Radio and BBC England
  • Pat Connor, Head of Development and Events BBC England
  • George Ferguson CBE, Mayor of Bristol
  • Nicola Yates OBE, City Director, Bristol City Council
  • Lynn Barlow, Director Creative Industries, University West of England
  • Dick Penny, Managing Director, Watershed
  • Paul Appleby, Chair, Bristol Media
  • Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol

The BBC Bristol Partnership is a relationship built on talent, innovation and ground breaking high quality output. It was first formalised in 2009 to recognise and build on the decade’s long informal relationship between the BBC and Bristol.

The partnership has fostered robust new relationships to underpin talent development and innovation. During the past six years of the Partnership the BBC has strengthened its talent base in the city, and Bristol has strengthened the creative technology collaborations which underpin innovation in the connected digital market place.

The relationships built around the city partnership have fostered new levels of collaboration which has accelerated the development of the city wide innovation eco-system. This eco-system connects individual talent, SMEs and large companies across the creative digital space to grow the capacity of all to compete in the international market. 

The BBC Bristol Partnership is non-exclusive and works with many other organisations and partners depending on the aims of each project. They include the West of England LEP, Creative England, Creative Skillset, Bristol Natural History Consortium, Bristol Food Connections, RTS West of England, Knowle West Media Centre, Ujima Radio, Avon Wildlife Trust and Bristol Music Trust.

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