Bristol, a city celebrated for its vibrant culture and community spirit, is taking a significant step towards rejuvenating its high street through the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme.
Through the programme, Bristol City Council has appointed Public Art Producers, Paul Channing and Diana Hatton, to oversee the creation of public artwork across five high streets in Bristol, with a further four streets organising their own projects.
Their approach has been focused on collaborating with artists to infuse new life into urban spaces. Bristol is renowned for its street art, with local artists adorning walls with vivid murals. The Paul Project ‘Love our High Streets’ project has worked with both established artists for large-scale murals and emerging talents for smaller commissions. The artists are currently adding the finishing touches to their creations before being unveiled.
At the heart of the Bristol Pocket Park project lies an innovative approach to an often-overlooked space in Stockwood. The project, aptly named; Stockwood Pocket Park;
aims to transform this neglected area into a vibrant showcase for the future of public spaces and rejuvenate the use of the local library as a community hub.
The desire for more green spaces was a recurring theme in previous public consultations. During initial community outreach efforts, several groups with interests in gardening, green spaces, and well-being emerged. The idea took shape to create a space adorned with planters and seating, allowing people to enjoy a book from the library or savour a coffee from the nearby Bristol high street. The project also aims to integrate artist-designed decorations into the space, fostering a unique and meaningful connection between the community, the library, Stockwood Open Space, and the high street. Paul Channing has played a pivotal role in designing the space. He was responsible for selecting suitable furniture, organising the creation of text panels, and coordinating the planting and installation. A modular system was chosen to facilitate collaborative design discussions with community groups. A workshop held on-site, complete with a model, allowed for an in-depth exploration of the placement of planters and seating, ensuring that the space would be both functional, accessible and aesthetically appealing.