The evening, which was aimed at celebrating the wide range of local cultural amenities and activities, was already buzzing with conversations well before the meeting had officially begun, this while the exhibitors were variously setting up their displays. Conditions were clearly ideal for some serious networking.
The meeting was held at 7.30 pm on April 2nd, the venue being the Gloucester County Cricket Club. It was fortunate that the GCCC had upgraded our meeting room to the larger one as we needed all the space available for the 25 different exhibitors who turned up to spread the word regarding their particular local activity or organisation. (A full list of those partaking is given at the end).
Representatives covering areas as diverse as Art, Photography, Literature, Music and Drama, Local History, Community and Media, Parks and Gardening, and Sport and Wellbeing were all present to inform us about their work and how one can get involved in or support what they do.
Thus local photographers Paul Bullivant and Colin Moody found they were advertising their work alongside Mike Manson, local author and historian, while the Kelvin Players were promulgating their amateur dramatics group, cheek by jowl with RiffRaff choir. Friends of Horfield Common, Friends of St Andrews Park and Horfield Organic Community Orchard had to jostle slightly for display space next to North Bristol Community Project and the two local news media publications, Bishopston Matters and Bishopston Voice.
There was plenty of time allowed for those attending to wander round the stalls and learn about what was on offer, and the usual refreshments of a selection of organic fruit juices were provided as the meeting morphed into smaller discussion groups. What had been learnt from the displays? What suggestions and ideas had been generated by the first part of the evening?
Feedback from the small groups was generally very positive and it was felt that the event had been well worthwhile, with all groups, individuals and organisations successfully delivering and disseminating information about themselves. However, there were clearly gaps missing among the exhibitors. U3A, ‘Playing Out’ Project, Ramblers/Walking Alliance, Traders’ Associations/reps from local independent shops, North Bristol Arts Trail, Children’s activities, Dance groups and Amnesty Bookshop were among those listed as ‘should have had a presence’ at the event.
It was agreed that the number attending the meeting was somewhat lower than usual and that wider use of networks in the future would create levels of publicity to pull in a bigger audience. It was also felt the age demographic of those present showed that generally younger people (in their 40s and 50s!) had not been attracted to the event. Ethnic diversity was also not apparent either among the exhibitors or among the audience. It was also suggested that if a similar event had been held at a weekend, and maybe in a more public space like the Gloucester Road, it would have reached out to a much larger and more disparate audience.
TBS is considering an appropriate follow-up to this event including publishing the slideshow that was on display during the evening and possibly some sort of “culture map” that covers all the groups and organisations that took part during the evening. You can read the article giving the background thinking behind the planning and aims of the meeting here
Groups and individuals partaking in the exhibition:
Sally Coulden – Local artist, Red Dog Glass Design: https://www.reddogglassdesign.com/
Colin Moody, Photography: https://twitter.com/MoodyColin
Paul Bullivant, Photographer: http://www.paulbullivant.co.uk/
Max Minervas,: https://maxminervas.co.uk/pages/about-us
Bishopston Library and Friends of Bishopston Library: http://bishopstonlibrary.org.uk/
Mike Manson, author: https://about.me/mike.manson
Kelvin Players: https://www.kelvinplayers.co.uk/
RiffRaff choir: http://www.bristolchoir.co.uk/
Stepford Singers: https://franbolton1.vpweb.co.uk/
Bristol Civic Society (Blue plaques): https://www.bristolcivicsociety.org.uk/blue-plaques/
Bristol Radical History Group: https://www.brh.org.uk/site/
Know your Place: https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/knowyourplace/
David Cemlyn, Local historian: https://www.bishopstonsociety.org.uk/bishopston/history/9-history-of-bishopston
Bishopston Matters: https://www.bishopstonmatters.co.uk/
Bishopston Voice: https://www.bishopstonvoice.co.uk/
North Bristol Community Project: https://northbristolcommunityproject.org.uk/
Gloucester County Cricket Club: https://www.gloscricket.co.uk/
Avon Organic gardening: http://www.groworganicbristol.org/
Friends of St Andrews Park: http://friendsofstandrewspark.ning.com/
Friends of Horfield Common: https://friendsofhorfieldcommon.weebly.com/
Horfield Organic Community Orchard: http://www.community-orchard.org.uk/
Winter Wanderland was down to attend but unfortunately had to cancel at the last moment: https://www.windowwanderland.com/