• WatershedWatershed

Place Category: Arts & Culture

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Social Impact Statements
  • An accredited social enterprise, Watershed is a multi art-form venue and producer, sharing, developing and showcasing exemplary cultural ideas and talent.

    Based in Bristol, but connecting with artists and audiences across the world, Watershed hosts three cinemas, a large Café/Bar, conference and events spaces and the Pervasive Media Studio, which brings together a network of over 100 artists, technologists and academics to explore the future of mobile and wireless media.

  • Address: The Watershed
    City of Bristol
    BS1 5TX
    United Kingdom
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  • Social Impact Statements:

    Social Impact Statements

    The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.

    In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders must submit Social Impact Statements that summarise their headline activities and achievements, helping show how they are striving to make a difference and stand up to scrutiny of purpose as a social enterprise.


    Updated July 2016

    1) Delivering diverse cultural programme

    Watershed delivers a diverse cultural programme of films, events, festivals, artists commissions, workshops and conferences with audiences and participation at the heart of the organisation.

    We are distinctive in our attitude to curation and programming innovating at the intersection of art, technology and society; playfulness, relevance and care are key to our approach. Watershed takes a hands-on approach to nurturing and developing talent. We respond to emergent opportunity and opportunity and constantly develop new mechanisms to support the people we work with. We work with artists, creative companies, schools, young people, universities, graduates and early career artists to support people in discovering and developing their creativity.

    Our work is curated for difference, and open calls and community partnerships ensure it is vibrantly mixed. For example:

    • Five new talent residencies in the Pervasive Media Studio, including Open Bionics (3D printed prosthetic hands), Roz Dean (creative producer) and Thomas Williams (composer and designer)
    • Design of a collaborative MA for Creative Producers at UWE Bristol
    • Eight creative businesses developed through REACT’s unique Alumni Programme with Station 12 and Upstarter
    • BFI Academy, RIFE and Future Producers career development programmes for young people
    • RAM Camp, a week long residency in collaboration with YCAM media centre in Japan which tested their sensor system with dancers of a range of physical ability
    • Come the Revolution is a collective of curators, programmers and creatives from Bristol & Birmingham committed to exploring and challenging black life, experience and cultural expression through cinema with screenings, discussions and special
    • Queer Vision is Bristol Pride's film festival showcasing the best of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cinema
    • Play Sandbox R&D programme in collaboration with a group of 8-12 year olds as our Young Coaches
    • Unfixed Australia creative investigation into the characterisation of bodies as ‘disabled’ and ‘abled’
    • Pride LGBT Employer of the Year


    2) Breaking down barriers to attendance

    Bristol has a growing population of young people – and a more diverse one at that. Watershed recognises how hard it can be for them to access opportunities: they are the age group who have been most disadvantaged during the recession, with rises in unemployment and university fees alongside a reduction in state support.

    The introduction of our Under 24 ticket (flat fee of £4.50 for all films) in July 2015 has resulted in attendance from this age group becoming consistently higher month on month with an average of 48% increase in student and under 24s since the introduction of the this pricing structure.

    The 2015 Playable City Award, Urbanimals by LAX, was a site specific artwork that was presented across the 8 sites in the city. Over 26,000 people played with Urbanimals over the 10 week life span of the project.

    The Rooms (November 2015) was a festival of innovation to share work created through the 4 year REACT project (collaboration between UWE Bristol, Watershed, and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter and funded by AHRC). We produced and promoted The Rooms taking over a large space in central Bristol. Over the 3 days 6,000 people attended.

    • Total admissions for screenings, talks and events - 159, 180
    • People engaging with projects beyond Watershed - 118, 799
    • Young people attending events - 27, 387
    • Artists and creatives supported - 311
    • Cultural and community organisations collaborating on projects - 50
    • University students engaged in study modules - 41
    • Academics collaborating on research projects - 102


    3) Welcoming, inclusive and accessible for all

    We aim to be as welcoming, inclusive and accessible as possible: for all of our customers, audiences, staff and visitors.

    This year we have specifically focused on welcoming Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, proving that co-production, creativity, innovation and practice can encourage diversity and increase participation.

    • BBC Bristol's flagship programme See Hear celebrated BSL and the Deaf community with a weekend of film and events, attracting 573 admissions including 80% new bookers. 100% of survey respondents said the event was brilliant/good. The event was fully accessible to Deaf and Hearing audiences
    • Building on this we then participated in the six month Agent for Change project. We have introduced a monthly Deaf Conversations About Cinema event, a relaxed, informal opportunity for both Deaf/Hard of Hearing and hearing customers to come together to talk about a film (following a Descriptive Subtitled screening )with BSL interpreters present. In this period we have presented 7 Deaf Conversation About Cinema events, with over 200 attendances
    • We have also been training our staff in Deaf Awareness and BSL, and improving our communications and the ways to reach this community. In this period 36 members of staff from across Admin, Front of House, Ushers and Café/Bar have attended the training

    The response from our Deaf and Hard of Hearing customers has been incredible. See the below article in Bristol Post:


    ‘wonderful to read how @wshed are engaging with Deaf audiences in Bristol and promoting Deaf awareness.’

    ‘Delighted to be able to celebrate the transformative #AgentsForChange @VS1Productions @wshed partnership today as part of #SignLanguageWeek – do drop by to find out more #culturematters'

    'Over the decades everything about film and media has changed and Watershed has always kept ahead of the wave, especially when it came to embracing the game-shifting digital technologies. It’s been truly inspiring to see Watershed thrive and excite people.’ David Sproxton, Executive Chairman, Aardman Animations.


    Please click here to see an overview of our activities and achievements (June 2016)