After 9½ years of serving the community of Bristol,  we have acquired a reach across the city which is enviable and unique.  The multi-dimensional mix of people that we bring together at our astonishing events and the inclusive practice demonstrated daily here at the Pierian Centre in Portland Square is extraordinary and has huge value - but the equation between money, energy and output no longer balances. In spite of such a successful year we have been over-committed & under-resourced, and in our present form we're losing over £5,000 a month.  To achieve last year's amazing successes, the team here were over-stretched, and we picked up a shortfall of £50,000.  We did this more than willingly, and the results of the year speak for themselves - but the pot has now run dry.  So with real pride in our achievements, we will sail the Good Ship Pierian on her last voyage back into harbour this December.  It has been the most extraordinary adventure - and there'll be much that we'll miss - but everything has its season. I'm confident that the Pierian Centre will live on in people's hearts, and optimistic that this decision will produce a completely new direction not only in mine, but in everyone's lives.    So instead of a wake, we invite you to a celebratory Open House on Tuesday 6th December, 10.30am -10.30pm!  We would love to see you here to acknowledge your part in the long & exciting journey we've taken together.It feels really important to send out this news with love, respect and great appreciation for the support and encouragement that you have all given to the Pierian Centre and its contribution to Bristol.  We very much hope to see you on December 6th! Much love.




Wednesday 22nd June was a day to remember - and a gateway to the future! The Council House, College Green and Bristol Cathedral were overflowing with people celebrating Bristol's new status as a City of Sanctuary - a place that offers welcome & support to those fleeing war & persecution. Dignitaries, citizens and refugees from many lands joined together to affirm their faith in the creative and generous nature of humanity. The umbrellas were purely symbolic - and the sun shone throughout!


To find out more about City of Sanctuary, go to www.cityofsanctuary.org/bristol   

City of Sanctuary logo


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The Pierian Centre - Regional Co-ordinator for Platforma

The Pierian Centre is proud to announce that we are now the Regional Co-ordinator for Platforma in the South West.

Platforma is a national project for supporting and developing refugee related arts. The project is developed in partnership between Refugee Week UK and Oval House Theatre, and is supported by The Baring Foundation and Arts Council England. This exciting new project will seek to improve networking and practice development among arts organizations and practitioners whose work relates to refugees.

In providing a national framework for refugee related arts, the project will be a catalyst for relevant stakeholders to share practice, debate issues, explore new and innovative ideas and engage with new audiences. It will also aim to create a space for debate and critical questioning of practices that relate to refugees; the space that will also be used for testing out new notions of identity, culture and interaction between refugee and host communities.

For more information please visit the website : www.platforma.org.uk




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A Meeting of Many Minds!




For follow-up on the day, outcomes and photos and videos ...

please visit the website on www.aworldinwaiting.eu

Bristol’s Colston Hall was over-run with dozens of different discussion groups on Thursday.  A World in Waiting was a free event bringing together people of every age, ability and background to generate ideas on how to make our world a better place.  The result of this day-long exercise in direct democracy was hundreds of thoughts and suggestions – and an inspiring sense of hope!

Both halls and the various levels of the Colston Hall’s foyer were thronged on Thursday 10th February with people talking, discussing and listening.  One delegate to A World in Waiting felt that the Colston Hall had been turned into the best sort of college, with topics and suggestions posted on the walls and people moving from group to group exchanging ideas.

People came from all across Bristol and the surrounding region, but the day was also attended by policy makers from the city council, from the Department for Work & Pensions in London and by Julien Van Geertsom from the Federal Public Service for Social Integration in Brussels.  Julien opened proceedings, as did Helen Ball, Director of the Bristol Partnership – but the day’s theme was most vividly introduced by a poem read by Katie Morrison, a young single mother. 

The day was addressing the question “What courageous changes must we make to forge a Fairer Future?” – and the theme of social exclusion was graphically explored by Katie’s poem Youth Of Today, drawing on her experience of drug addiction and homelessness.  Indeed throughout the day it was people’s willingness to share experience and to listen to others’ ideas that made the four dozen different discussions so valuable. 

The subjects for discussion were chosen by delegates themselves – and the range was impressive.  Pedestrian routes around the M32, complementary medicine on the NHS, writing a letter to your future self, harnessing the experience of older people, and the creation of a People’s Bank – the sheer variety made it difficult to choose which group to join, and many people opted to move from group to group like bumblebees gathering pollen.

The success of A World in Waiting was summed up by the reaction of delegates at the end of the day.  The individual discussion groups were compared to “little pools of passion”; and many remarked on how refreshing it was to hear people being so positive and creative.  It was felt that if days like these were held more often and more widely, then the world’s problems would seem a lot less daunting.  People felt empowered – more engaged with and more responsible for the world around them.

The day ended with A World Beyond – two hours of astonishing free entertainment and surprises.  Magic, music, dance and clowning filled the Colston Hall’s lifts, toilets and foyer spaces, rounding off an event that showed what rich resources our communities contain.  A World Beyond was organised by Liz Mitchell, the discussion groups by Vivian Broughton and Liz Martins – and the whole event was produced by the Pierian Centre.  The next task is to edit a day’s worth of ideas and suggestions down into 5 “policy asks” to present to the Department for Work & Pensions!  


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June Burrough of the Pierian Centre is flying out to represent the UK at the Brussels Conference that officially rounds off the European Year for Combating Poverty & Social Exclusion.

June’s energy and commitment to the goals of the European Year resulted in her being named one of the UK’s national campaign Ambassadors for EY2010. In that capacity she attends the Brussels conference on Friday 17th December with the Presidents of the European Commission, the Council and Parliament – bringing a Bristolperspective to the top table of Europe.

The Pierian Centre was named the lead project partner for Bristol’s response to the European Year – and it has spear-headed a series of projects like Portents that give a voice to those in the city experiencing exclusion and hardship.

June is delighted to be taking Bristol’s experience to Brussels.  “This year has been an amazing year to raise awareness of some of the UK’s fantastic projects – many of them here in Bristol,” she says.  “But it has also served to highlight how much more there is to do in the years to come.  Whilst it is the end of the European Year, it’s just the beginning of the work we need to do to combat poverty and social exclusion.  The Brusssels Conference offers an opportunity to people from all over Europe to decide how we do this.”

One of the items on the Conference agenda is the announcing of the EU Journalist Award 2010 for which June was one of the four UK judges.  She also hopes that the Conference will feed into Bristol’s own round-up event, A World in Waiting at Colston Hall on February 10th.  This will look back at the achievements of EY2010, give a platform to those experiencing social exclusion, and develop specific “policy asks” for central government.


Year 2010 logo.jpg




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Break-through vote by City Council!

On Tuesday 16th November the motion supporting the City of Sanctuary movement in Bristol was passed overwhelming by city councillors. This decisive vote was the last of the four criteria needed for Bristol to become a recognised City of Sanctuary.
Powerful speeches by council leader Barbara Janke and Labour leader Helen Holland laid out the moral case for taking action. Caroline Beatty of the Welcome Centre in Easton said: “To make a public declaration is important, to show asylum seekers and refugees they can take part in our society. Our experience at the Welcome Centre is that diversity means health. There is strength in difference.”
City of Sanctuary is a national movement of local people and organisations working to make their city a place of welcome and safety for people seeking sanctuary from war and persecution. Asylum seekers have a huge contribution to make to our city – bringing new skills, enriching its culture and creating prosperity.

For more information please visit the website www.cityofsanctuary.com/bristol


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PORTENTS (College Green)
18th – 26th September 2010

Thousands enjoy Community Art on College Green

Over 11,265 people visted the spectacular Portents project on College Green. 50 vividly decorated tents stopped people in their tracks, and brought them face to face with individual lives lived in communities across Bristol.

Portents ran from Saturday 18th to Sunday 26th September on one of Bristol’s iconic green spaces, College Green. It brought into the heart of the city lives and communities that are usually banished to the margins. It invited the public to meet some of the rich diversity that makes this city tick. It proved to be a feast for the eye and an education for the heart. People were filled with delight, but they were also moved and informed.

Responses from the public included: “Thank you – moving and thought-provoking – reminds me why Bristol is such a great place and has so much to offer.” (Jon) “Simply stunning – what a wonderful, moving, inspiring exhibition. I’m just here for the weekend – and so thrilled I could come! Well done, and thank you to everyone who made it happen!” (Heather) “Thank you for your Art and Hope!” (John) “A great stroll through many faceted Bristol. Beautiful work.” (B Hotwells) “Moved in every way – the best exib I have seen! I love Bristol village – and the good people who share it with me. Thank you!” (Graham)



community art public art portents



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Support us and serve the community of Bristol!


The Pierian Centre is a Community Interest Company with a social purpose to serve the community of Bristol. Our new Friends Scheme aims to raise funds for the community projects which are now such a crucial part of our work. In particular we work towards inclusion of marginalised,  disadvantaged and excluded groups,  through our events and arts programme.  The more support we can get then the more we are able to do for Bristol!

friends scheme

Ways to support the Pierian Centre:

  • Become a Pierian Centre volunteer - we are always looking for new people to help out at our regular community events, it's great fun and a valuable experience all round.
  • Make a donation - even small donations are welcomed and appreciated.
  • Use us! The best way to support us is to use us as your conference or event venue.

Contact us for further details on 0117 924 4512 or info@pieriancentre.com (online payments and subscriptions coming soon!)


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WORKING TOGETHER FOR POSITIVE CHANGE - the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion
BRISTOL LAUNCH, MARCH 22ND - a success at Bristol Cathedral

Monday March 22nd saw Bristol launching its programme for the year "Working Together for Positive Change". In the face of challenging times Bristol is doing some great work and we want people to know about it! The launch was a fantastic and rich event - Bristol is facing difficult truths with positive vision for the future.

ey 2010 logo EY2010 is gathering momentum!

The Pierian Centre has been funded by Bristol’s Legacy Commission to act as lead partner for Working Together for Positive Change – Bristol’s response to 2010: European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. It has been amazing to discover how many innovative schemes already exist in the city – and we hope to build a web of support for everyone working to make Bristol a prosperous and inclusive place to live. Good ideas should be heard and shared!


June has been appointed the UK's national campaign Ambassador for EY2010. In that capacity she's been invited to speak at the Edinburgh Festival about the role of the arts in combating social exclusion. With her on the platform will be Paco Pena, flamenco star and lifelong campaigner against poverty, Neil Mitchison, Head of the European Commission office in Edinburgh, and Jonathan Mills, Director of the Edinburgh International Festival. For details CLICK HERE !


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News has just come in of an astounding victory for the Dongria Khond people of India in their battle against mining giant Vedanta.  We showed the Survival film of their struggle last October at our Indigenous Perspectives conference – and it’s heartening to know that campaigning can work!  Full details at http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/6385  – copies of the film Mine: Story of a Sacred Mountain from Survival International.


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In February 2009 the Pierian Centre became the first Community Interest Company to be awarded with the Social Enterprise Mark. This quality mark shows that our intention is to make positive social and environmental impact and that everything that we ever have goes into creating that impact.

To find out more about Social Enterprise Mark, visit their website: http://www.socialenterprisemark.org.uk



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