What is Bridging Histories?

Bridging Histories is an educational project for all ages. It invites you to explore your personal history and heritage, learn from others, and make positive changes in yourself and the world around you.

Our 6 activities will take you on a journey, from sharing personal experience through recipes and poems, to uncovering street and family history, to creating positive change for the future. Please share what you make with us and we will add it to our online gallery.

What is Bridging Histories?

Bridging Histories was started by Director Joanna Burch-Brown as part of the work of the Bristol History Commission. The Mayor of Bristol set up the History Commission after the fall of Colston's statue, to help the city "understand where we have come from, so we can better decide where we want to go".

October 2021 sees the launch Bridging Histories in London, where it is being led by the London Commission on Diversity in the Public Realm, and funded by the Mayor of London.

To inspire people of all backgrounds to participate, Bridging Histories is being kick-started in London by six groups leading workshops in London communities, with funding by the Mayor of London.

We hope this project will grow globally, so that eventually we see Bridging Histories activities in cities and towns all over the world.

Partners to date include the Mayor of Bristol, Mayor of London, Rising Arts Agency, Bristol Archives, East and South East Asian Solidarity Group Bristol, the Bristol Legacy Steering Group, One Bristol Curriculum, University of the West of England, Barton Hill History Group, Bristol Older People's Forum, Bristol Beacon, Mile End Community Project, Culture Tree, Joseph Clarke School, Humble Gallery, Museum of Diversity, Numbi Arts, and the Bristol Scholars programme at University of Bristol, and the UK/US Fulbright Commission.

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

Or you can join as an individual or a family - all you have to do is get stuck in on the activities and share them with us!


In Bristol, Kiara Corales and the East and South East Asian Solidarity Group led our first Bridging Histories workshops based on recipes, family histories, and community aspirations.

How many activities do you suggest doing?

A great option is to do three activities:

1. One poem or recipe (personal activity),

2. One street, family, or monuments (history activity), and

3. One personal or community changemaking activity.

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!


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 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.

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

By joining in, 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).

How do I claim my certificate?

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

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 city, school, business, community 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! Email:


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.

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