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The Arnolfini Story

Presenting the contemporary arts in Bristol since 1961

Arnolfini has always been committed to showing new art work, to looking forward along the cutting edge of artistic experimentation. While to look back at what we have achieved, after more than 5 decades of programming, is to find a uniquely rich and valuable heritage.

Arnolfini’s story is interwoven with many others: the story of the development of the contemporary arts from the middle of the 20th century to the present day; the story of our home city, Bristol; and, of course, the stories of the many, many individuals who have been involved in the organisation over the years, whether as visitors, artists, or staff members.

The Arnolfini Story project is an exploration and celebration of this. Through it, we offer information and material from our archives, invite our visitors and colleagues to share their own memories of Arnolfini, and commission artists and writers to produce new responses to our history (see links below). We hope that as a result, our heritage will become a rich public resource.

Follow the links at the right hand side of this page to learn more about current and upcoming Arnolfini Story events.

To find out more about Arnolfini’s history, please see the link below.  

Arnolfini’s physical archive is housed at the Bristol Record Office. More and more of it is being catalogued – including our artists’ book collection, exhibition slides, and Arnolfini publications - making it accessible for public viewing at the Record Office search room. For details of Bristol Record Office opening hours, please see here.

For any queries pertaining to Arnolfini’s history or archive, please contact Programme Assistant (Archive) Phil Owen on


Enjoy Yourself

Enjoy Yourself

An introduction to Arnolfini's history, by Phil Owen, Assistant Curator - Archive.
Corridors, Stairways and Corners

Corridors, Stairways and Corners

A new publication designed by artist Clare Thornton to help us to understand Arnolfini's past performance programme - through doing it ourselves.
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Wednesday 26 April 2017

Galleries 11am-6pm

Shop 11am-6pm

Cafe 10am-10pm

Reading Room 11am-6pm

The Arnolfini Story Events
The Arnolfini Video Library: Archive Display The Arnolfini Video Library: Archive Display
Saturday 16 January 2016 to Sunday 10 April 2016, 11:00 to 18:00
Marie Yates Marie Yates
Saturday 03 October 2015 to Sunday 04 October 2015, 11:00 to 18:00
B-Boys, B-Girls, Break Dancers, Wannabes and Posers: 'Graffiti Art in Bristol' 30th Anniversary Party B-Boys, B-Girls, Break Dancers, Wannabes and Posers: 'Graffiti Art in Bristol' 30th Anniversary Party
Sunday 19 July 2015, 14:00 to 20:30