Bristol hosts major festival on the future of cities

17 November 2015, United Kingdom

The Festival of the Future City is the last of six major projects supported through an Exceptional Award to put arts and culture right at the heart of Bristol's year as European Green Capital.


Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'Bristol 2015 has seen a year of extraordinary arts events and this final project, The Festival of the Future City, will give us a chance to reflect on the things that have made us smile, made us question, made us think and to debate an issue that really affects all of us - how we shape our future ways of living.  I can't think of a better or more important way to round off an exciting and ambitious year.'


Ten writers and poets commissioned by the festival will present their work, including award-winning poet Helen Mort and author Eimear McBride.  Other speakers include novelist Elif Shafek on Turkey; Jonathan Meades on the future of places and cities; Richard Sennett on cities for all; John Harris and Rowan Moore on the future of British cities; Gavin Kelly and Lynsey Hanley on social mobility; Iain Sinclair, Lauren Elkin and Matthew Beaumont on cities and walking; Edith Hall and Bettany Hughes on what we can learn from the cities of the ancient world.


Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, will be joining the debate to present his vision for arts and culture in a playable city on 19 December.  Cities have always been important areas for creativity and the exhibition of arts and cultural activity. In recent years the growth of arts and creative industries has been seen as a priority. What makes cities special places for arts and culture? And where do cities and the arts go next?   


The festival opens and closes with free events with a debate on future cities for all and the Bristol Mayor's annual state of the city lecture and debate.


Andrew Kelly, Director of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and the Festival of Ideas, said: 'The future is urban. Within 35 years nearly 70% of the world's population will be living in cities. It's essential we get cities right for all citizens now and in the future. '


'Our Festival of the Future City aims to inspire wide thinking and debate about the future of cities; to look at examples of good practice in cities that will help promote a better and more resilient, sustainable and prosperous future for all; and to examine examples of city futures and city thinkers from the past and what they can tell us now. '


The festival is managed by National portfolio organisation Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and run in partnership with InnovateUK and the University of the West of England.


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