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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.


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 throughout 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


Arnolfini Podcast: Imagine New Rules

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

Episode 7. Claire is joined by David Jubb, the artistic director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre. They discuss David's use of SCRATCH in organisational decisions and public performances, the relevance of inclusivity, and how to make the public feel at home in arts centres.

Episode 6. Claire is joined by Bristol's Mayor Marvin Rees. They discuss the essential need for artists to be at the table in the planning of future cities; the role that arts and culture can play in telling the stories of individuals, communities and places, and importance of heritage and individuality in the face of globalisation.

Episode 5. Claire is joined by artistic director of CommonWealth, Evie Manning. They talk about what it means to be open, collaboration and the value in sharing knowledge and expertise.

Episode 4. Claire is joined by Bristol performance artist, producer and compere Tom Marshman. They talk about Tom's artistic practice, residencies, artist support and the experimental performance ecology in Bristol.

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. 

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

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 lead a morning of discussions that broughting together cultural leaders and producers who are testing out new ways of programming, collaborating and effecting change in their cities.

The event was part of the Festival of the Future City in partnership with the Festival of Ideas. 

Listen back here. 

Part One:  


Part Two: 


#ShopLoves #ShopLoves
Favourite picks from the staff team at Arnolfini available to buy from the Arnolfini Bookshop.
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