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Imagine New Rules

Wednesday 27 September 2017 to Sunday 24 December 2017, 11:00 to 18:00

As Arnolfini enters a new chapter in 2018, we want to tear up the rulebook that decides what a centre for contemporary arts should be. Its time for us to imagine new rules.

Arnolfini has been a place for imagination and bold new ideas since 1961. This centre for contemporary arts has been the fuel for change in Bristol and embraced change, and now it’s time to do so once again. 

New types of arts organisations are being imagined to respond to the ways in which culture is being produced and experienced. The Victorian institutions of the museum, gallery and theatre are being stretched and pulled in new directions and more relevant and dynamic visions are emerging. 

Its time for us to reimagine what Arnolfini might be in the future by inventing some new rules.

From Thursday 21 September, we will start sharing our first thoughts.


What would your New Rules be?

Artists, writers, performers and musicians are giving us their new rules throughout the autumn. 

‘Capture the imagination’ – Nick Young, Creative Youth Network

‘Let out the child that you used to be’ – Maisie, Creative Youth Network

'Ditch the arts speak' - Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre

'Belong to Bristol' - Arnolfini visitor

Join them in recreating the rules for a 21st century place for the arts by contributing your suggestions in our Reading Room through Grayson Perry's exhibition.

Each week we'll post a selection of new rules up on the second floor of Arnolfini and online through social media.


Find the rules suggested so far, share your own ideas and join the discussion online #newrules


Find a collection of #newrules on Storify


Arnolfini Podcast: Imagine New Rules

Arnolfini director Claire Doherty will be imagining an arts centre for the future, and for Bristol, with invited guests through a new fortnightly podcast.

Episode 1. Claire reflects on the opportunity to reimagine arts organisations of the future as catalysts for the imagination and social change.


Episode 2. Claire is joined by writer, historian, curator and performer Edson Burton who treats us to a reading of his specially commissioned text 'Imagine New Rules' which you can read in the Arnolfini Bookshop window. Claire and Edson then discuss broadening access to the arts, and the importance of relevance and exchange across the city.

Episode 3. Claire is joined by Nick Young, Creative Director of Creative Youth Network in Bristol, and Maisie Evans, who is one of the young people involved with Creative Youth Network in this city. They talk about the importance of dialogue, connections, creating networks and collaborative process.

New podcasts will be available fortnightly each Thursday afternoon.

Future podcast guests will include visionary artists, directors and individuals who are spearheading a new movement of arts organisations which are playing active civic roles in their home towns and cities.


Participant from Elmfield School in Theaster Gates, Sanctum, Bristol 2015, Photo: Max McClure 

What If? Reimagining the Role of Cultural Institutions as Agencies of Change in Cities

On Friday 20 October, Arnolfini leads a morning of discussions that bring together cultural leaders and producers who are testing out new ways of programming, collaborating and effecting change in their cities.

The event is part of the Festival of the Future City in partnership with the Festival of Ideas. Free, but booking essential.

The audio recording from this event will be available on this page on 23 October.

October 2017
Saturday 21 October 2017

Galleries 11am-6pm
Bookshop 11am-6pm
Café Bar 10am-10pm
Reading Room 11am-6pm

Events and Exhibitions
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