Bristol Western Harbour, UK

New localism
Waterfront placemaking

Crafting a vision through creative research


Bristol’s Western Harbour lies at the heart of this major city. Set around working heritage docklands, with epic views across the icon suspension bridge, it’s a place that is big and bold in character. Yet also an area that welcomes a spirit of adventure, and spaces people have made their own — from saxophonists and street artists who animate spaces under the flyover, to communities of avid gardeners and watersports enthusiasts. In a city that punches above its weight creatively, Bristol City Council wanted to develop new creative methods of involving the community in shaping the vision for the future of a prominent area.


Harbour Hopes is a creative engagement programme that started a fresh conversation about the future of Bristol’s Western Harbour. Drawing on memories that connected people to Bristol, their own identity and hopes for the future. Creative Workshops across the city with the team at Play Disrupt explored Western Harbour as it was, is and will be through creative storytelling and collective map making. We commissioned a cohort of Creative Ambassadors including the City Poet, Portrait and Documentary photographers, a Filmmaker and Illustrator. Each brought a skillset that contributed to the final vision: from poetry to articulate use of language and tone, through to portrait photography to reveal who makes Bristol’s Western Harbour today. This was backed with an online platform and social media campaign that gathered over 15,000 visits over 3 months, gathering thousands of comments and ideas.

Creative Ambassadors:
Caleb Parkin and Tom Sastry – The Poets
Jazz Thompson – The Illustrator
Alexie Segal – The Documentary Photographer
Ibe Fehrer – The Portrait Photographer
Christy Nunns – The Videographer

Love Local
Waterfront Placemaking

Creative Communication
Destination Playbook

  • Bristol City Council
  • Turner Works
  • Play Disrupt
  • Barney & Beech
  • Participatr