Bristol Cultural Development Partnership (BCDP) is the organisation through which all of our work happens. There are currently three main strands to our work programme: Cultural Development, Cultural Partnerships and Festivals.

At the heart of everything we do is ideas. Over the past 25 years, our work has helped to establish Bristol as a city of ideas where a broad range of diverse ideas on all areas of life and culture are celebrated, shared, debated, challenged, welcomed and put into action. We have the ability to develop a vision which is shared widely. We build partnerships which bring together people, organisations, business and public bodies for successful project ideas and delivery; we develop effective programmes of fundraising which cover the financial costs of  this work allowing organisations and artists to do the work they want to do; we produce books, events, exhibitions, schools activities and other works which are known for their high quality, innovation and city-wide engagement; and continue to have new ideas and new projects which help make Bristol a cultural centre of excellence in many ways.

How we run/

Our ethos and practice is rooted in partnership and collaboration, national and international, past and future. We seek to…

  • Ensure that engaging with Bristol’s past contributes to understanding the city’s present and building its future
  • Embrace arts and sciences – with the artist central to all work
  • Encourage cultural organisations and commercial businesses to work together
  • Link the arts and the creative economy
  • Represent the diversity of Bristol and promote previously unheard voices
  • Encourage opportunities for successful creative thinking and action
  • Conduct extensive research for all work and share findings widely
  • Support creative project work with effective marketing, campaigning and learning
  • Evaluate extensively
  • Act flexibly and responsively
  • Position Bristol’s cultural and academic thinking in the context of the regional, national and international

Our history/

Our History

BCDP was founded in 1993 in the belief that investing in culture makes a city a better place to work and live.

In our 25 years, we have led major programmes on Brunel, Charles Darwin and the Bristol aerospace industry: the Great Reading Adventure, including The Siege (2005), Around the World in Eighty Days (2006), Small Island (2007), The Bristol Story (2008) and The Lost World (2009); and the biggest project marking the beginning of the First World War outside of London. In 2015 we had a special season on Romantic Poets and Bristol. Work in 2016 included Bristol800, a year-long series of events celebrating significant anniversaries starting with the 800th anniversary of Bristol’s first elected mayor. In 2019 we launched a programme marking the centenary of the 1919 Housing Act: Homes for Heroes 100. Our programme for 2020 includes A Poetic City, which marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Bristol-born Thomas Chatterton, celebrates the city’s present-day poets and aims to inspire the poets of the future. We also led the initial development of At-Bristol, Encounters Festivals, Digital Arts Development Agency, South West Arts Marketing and Bristol Legible City.

BCDP is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.


BCDP is a member of Bristol Festivals.