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University of Bristol and Bristol Cathedral formally strengthen their relationship

Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol and The Very Reverend Dr Mandy Ford, Dean of Bristol signing the Memorandum of Understanding at Bristol Cathedral on Tuesday evening. Bristol Cathedral

Press release issued: 26 January 2023

The University of Bristol and Bristol Cathedral have formally strengthened their relationship by signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the Cathedral this week.

The purpose of the document, which was signed by representatives from both organisations on Tuesday, is to record strategic partnership ambitions and to outline areas of mutual interest with the aim of strengthening collaboration.

Bristol Cathedral has worked with the University on numerous successful projects over many years which have included events, conferences, exhibitions, research and performances. Choral scholarships for Bristol students have long been offered at the Cathedral, with up to four available at any one time.

The Cathedral’s research partner, who is currently exploring the history of those memorialised in the cathedral who benefited from the slave economy, has been given associate status at the University and access to the library.

Over the coming years, both organisations aim to build on their thriving relationship by organising visits to the Cathedral for students and staff and offering more placements and short-term internships for students and staff undertaking research that is relevant to the Cathedral.

Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Bristol, said: “The University and Cathedral have enjoyed a brilliantly successful and fulfilling working relationship for several years. The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding will cement this formally and we look forward to working together for many more years to come.”

They also hope to co-host more visiting scholars who might wish to research and interpret the Cathedral’s history and archives and enhance professional development opportunities for clergy, staff and volunteers at the Cathedral to attend or co-host seminars, lectures and events at the University.

The Very Reverend Dr Mandy Ford, Dean of Bristol, added: “I’m delighted that we are today strengthening the formal relationship between the Cathedral and the University, which has proved to be creative and enriching in the past. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the University as new projects get underway.”

An archive of collaborations will be maintained and there will also be more research and joint projects between University staff and students and the Cathedral. A key and immediate priority is for the Cathedral to work with the University's Cabot Institute, and allied researchers, to move towards the Church of England's Carbon Net Zero ambitions.

Further information

About Bristol Cathedral

Bristol Cathedral is part of the Church of England and is the seat of the Bishop of Bristol in the Diocese of Bristol. The site of the Bristol Cathedral has been a place of worship for the last 1000 years. Originally founded in 1140 as St Augustine's Abbey, in 1542—after the Dissolution of the Monasteries—it became Bristol Cathedral or the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity.   

The Cathedral was the first to ordain women as Church of England priests, with the first ceremony taking place for a total of 32 women in 1994.

Bristol Cathedral continues to be an open and welcoming space for all people to pause for thought, find beauty and peace, feel the sacred and come together as communities.

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