Our aim is to take you on a journey, from sharing personal experience, to uncovering history, to creating positive change for the future.

We are an all-ages learning project for any community.

You can join in as an individual, or as a street, school, neighbourhood, town, city. It is fun and easy.


We’re kicking things off in Bristol in Summer 2021, but we hope people will run with this project globally, and eventually join in with Bridging Histories activities in cities and towns all over the world.

Bridging Histories is a project of the We Are Bristol History Commission and University of Bristol, together with Bristol Archives, the Legacy Steering Group, One Bristol Curriculum, Rising Arts Agency, University of the West of England, Bristol Beacon, the Bristol Mayor, the London Mayor, and many more partners in Bristol and beyond.

We're partnering with the London Commission on Diversity in the Public Realm and the London Mayor to deliver Bridging Histories in London.

If you would like to be a Bridging Histories partner, please contact us at

The Bristol History Commissioners include Tim Cole (Chair), Madge Dresser, Shawn Sobers, Joanna Burch-Brown, Edson Burton, David Olusoga, Helen Godwin, Estella Tincknell and Nigel Costley

Creative Team


Joanna Burch-Brown is Director of Bridging Histories, and Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at University of Bristol.

Joanna Burch-Brown

Her innovative model of research and teaching has empowered young people in Britain and the US to develop their own projects addressing concerns that matter in their communities. She works with grassroots and institutional leaders across the city and internationally to find balanced ways to address difficult history and its contemporary legacies. She has a strong commitment to democracy and participation, and a particular interest in bridging between viewpoints and promoting understanding of the positive intentions of people on all sides of a debate.


Derek Edwards is the creative designer for Bridging Histories, and is the director and owner of Patwa, a Bristol based design practice.

In helping to shape Bridging Histories, he has drawn on 20 years of experience, and his work is often community based, visually communicating ideas and issues to get a powerful message across in areas such as mental health, FGM, inequalities and education. It’s also a celebration of arts, culture, diversity and inclusion. His emphasis is on creating meaningful design that people feel connected to.

Creative advisor, media and comms

Kate Grant is an inclusive editorial consultant who has worked across the disability sector for over 20 years, and is former publications and editorial manager at the Disability Rights Commission. Kate has been part of all stages of the creative process,

from visual design to copy editing to promotions, media and support for project managing.


Rob Saunders is the web developer for Bridging Histories. He has worked in both the web and film industries and now focuses on working with startups and community projects.

He runs Splendid Web: Managed web hosting promoting renewable-powered internet and making getting online easier for small or new businesses.


Who started Bridging Histories?

Bridging Histories was started by the We Are Bristol History Commission. The History Commission was brought together by the Mayor of Bristol after the fall of Edward Colston's statue in June 2020. Its purpose is to get everybody in Bristol participating in telling the city's story and making connections so that we can bring about positive change for the future.

It is being delivered via University of Bristol with an ESRC Impact Accelerator Awards and UKRI Citizen Science grant (Citizens Researching Together).

How much does it cost to join?

It is free.

We just ask that you share what you make with us by emailing With your permission, we'll post your contributions on our website and socials.

What do I get by joining?

By taking part, you'll be building your skills and confidence, having fun, learning new things, connect, and inspire others as you go.

You'll also be eligible for our Summer Stars Competition (£100 + a chance to be featured in a podcast) and our Changemaker Competition (£100 - £1,000 and a session with a mentor to develop your changemaking further).

If you complete at least three activities, you will be eligible for a Certificate of Participation from University of Bristol.

How do I claim my certificate?

Just email with 'Certificate' in the title and include a copy of 3+ completed activities.

What if I just want to do 1 activity?

That's fine! You can dip in and out, and do however many you like.

How many activities do you suggest doing?

A great option is to do 3 activities:

  1. One personal activity (poem or recipe),
  2. One history activity (street, family, or monuments), and
  3. One change making activity (personal or community).

If you're running a classroom, youth group, school, church, mosque, elders group, or any other organisation, we'd love to have you as a partner! Why not do 3 activities as a group workshop, and then share what you've made with us afterwards? Be sure to take pictures!

How is Bridging Histories funded?

We are funded by the ESRC Impact Accelerator Awards, UKRI Citizen Science, Bristol Mayor's Office, London Mayor's Office and University of Bristol.

My group would like to be a Bridging Histories partner. What do we need to do?

If you run a Bridging Histories workshop or offer other support, you're a partner! Just let us know, as we would love to hear about it - and don't forget to send pictures!

We don't have funding to distribute for partners, but we hope Bridging Histories will help you achieve meaningful new connections in your group, and will inspire positive change. You and your participants will of course be eligible to be considered for our Summer Stars and Changemaker competitions, so be sure to share what you're doing. Email:


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