image for The BBC Bristol Partnership signs its 3rd ‘Memorandum of Understanding’

The BBC Bristol Partnership signs its 3rd ‘Memorandum of Understanding’

Published on Monday, 15th February 2016

On Saturday 13 February 2016, the BBC Bristol Partnership signed its third Memorandum of Understanding at the BBC 6 Music Festival in Bristol.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was again, signed by six locally engaged organisations that are based in and have a strategic commitment to Bristol:

  • 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 and Provost, University of 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. 

The partnership will build on the creative profile of the city, framed by Mayor, George Ferguson, as “a laboratory for change”, and will take in the 2nd Mayoral Tenure and the next BBC Charter period.

The three year MOU offers a suitable timescale for the planned development projects with Higher Education and Foundation Education institutions and the creation of new, diverse pathways into employment. Through partnership working and the action groups, the BBC Bristol Partnership aims to increase creative media talent at every level, and become an even more networked and collaborative partnership.

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.”

Nicola Yates OBE, City Director, Bristol City Council, said: “We have worked closely with the BBC and other partners for over a decade and have seen some remarkable developments in terms of talent, innovation and collaboration in the city. As steering group chair for 2016 I aim to help build on this momentum and ensure the next three years of the BBC Bristol Partnership are our best yet.”

George Ferguson CBE, Mayor of Bristol, said: “What better way to kick-off the next stage of our BBC Bristol Partnership than playing host to the hugely popular 6 Music Festival. Bristol has the strongest creative industries sector of any large urban area in the UK outside London and the South East and we are famed for our music scene which I am encouraging with the development of what will be the best arena in the UK, bringing yet more cultural activity to Bristol. The BBC plays a vital role in Bristol's life and this MOU signals our intention to play an active part in collaborating to ensure creative media talent is supported at every step from school through to industry.”

Lynn Barlow, Director Creative Industries, University West of England, said: “The BBC partnership is a force for good in the city and enables us at UWE, Bristol, to work alongside the very best creative talent to ensure our students understand the world of work and the demands of the their chosen careers.”

Dick Penny, Managing Director, Watershed, said: ”Collaboration across institutions and disciplines is essential to staying relevant and competitive in the increasingly globalised creative digital economy. By working in long term Partnership across Bristol (and Bath) we are building a powerful cluster with innovation and diversity as core drivers. I celebrate the City Partnership with the BBC and the clear focus on talent development.”

Paul Appleby, Chair, Bristol Media said: ”Bristol Media is delighted to be a signatory of the renewed BBC-Bristol Partnership. Now in our 11th year, our vision is to create the best-connected creative community, and our 500-plus members represent the breadth and depth of the creative ecology of the region, in which the BBC is the largest employer.  The Partnership enables connections with key drivers of the future of the region, and will help showcase the talent and work of the region, which is loved throughout the world.”

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, 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."

In signing, 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 amongst partners so that we achieve 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.

Photo Credit:

Front row, left to right - George Ferguson CBE, Helen Boaden, Dick Penny, Nicola Yates.

Back row, left to right – Pat Conner, Lynn Barlow, Professor Guy Orpen, Paul Appleby.

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 BBC Bristol Partnership has fostered robust new relationships to underpin talent development and innovation. During the past 6 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 Universities of Bristol and West of England have both created new joint ventures with the BBC to deliver technical innovation and to develop the next generation of talent.

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone with a creative digital focus to build on the city partnership.

One of four national Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Creative Economy Knowledge Exchange Hubs is based in Bristol at the Pervasive Media Studio. The REACT Hub is led by UWE as a collaboration between Watershed and the Universities of West of England, Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff, and Bath.

Building on the BBC’s NHU, Bristol is an international centre of natural history film production with a cluster of high quality producers. It is the home of Wildscreen, Festival of Nature and ARKive, and in 2015 Bristol was EU Green Capital. Combined with established excellence in Factual and Animation, Bristol boasts a strong and diverse talent base supported by the Bristol Media cluster group.

Watershed Media Centre provides the public hub for networking, festivals and new talent showcases with Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival the premiere event for spotting emerging talent. The matrix of community based organisations and established links with schools enable the city partnership networks and digital projects to engage with local communities developing media literacy to create a ‘digitally inclusive’ community.

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. This is a powerful time at which to renew these relationships.

The BBC Bristol Partnership is non-exclusive and works with many other organisations and partners depending on the aims of each project. They include but are not limited to, 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.