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Where Strangers Meet – Art in the Public Realm

Friday 20 October 2017, 17:15 to 18:15

Please join us for an international panel discussion with Claire Doherty, Arnolfini Director and previously of Situations; Beatrice Pembroke, Director, Creative Economy, British Council; and contributors David Olusoga, historian; Papa Omatayo, architect, Lagos; Jay Pather, Director, Infecting the City, Cape Town and Gabriella Gomez-Mont, Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Mexico City.

Panel Discussion

Can participation in arts and cultural experiences in the public realm catalyse change for a society? The panel will consider the changing face of arts in the public realm, both in terms of how it is produced and what it symbolises, bringing experience from their international work. As traditional monuments and static representations of art are challenged and supplanted by spontaneous, unannounced artist and citizen-led interventions, the panel will discuss what is the value of participation in the public realm? How can the artist act as change agent and provocateur, and can community and individual movements influence cultural and social policy?

This panel also represents the launch of the collection of essays Where Strangers Meet – Art in the Public Realm, edited by Claire Doherty for the British Council.

Where Strangers Meet – collection of essays

Building on its multifocal work in cities concerning artistic and cultural participation, this panel marks the first publication of a new digital essay series by the British Council to explore emergent new forms of participation and cultural experience in the public realm. Where Strangers Meet is edited by Claire Doherty and brings together some of the latest thinking from around the world. Contributors to the collection include: Professor Paul Heritage and Director of People’s Palace Projects on With One Voice, Rio; Editor-in-Chief of Gal-Dem, Liv Little interviews Cuban artist Tania Bruguera; former member of Moscow-based Partizaning, Shriya Malhotra; Professor Lynn Froggett from the University of Central Lancashire Psychosocial Unit; Cairo-based Architect and Urban Planner Omar Nagati; Jay Pather, Former Infecting the City (Cape Town) Director; Jen Stein,Professor of Design Futures, UWE; Karolin Tampere on Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers, Oslo; writer Tony White on his library collaboration with Blast Theory in London; Gabriella Gomez-Mont from Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Mexico City; Lagos and London-based architect, Papa Omatayo; architect Diba Salam on Dubai and historian David Olusoga on the debates surrounding the removal of statues. 


Booking via Watershed Box Office, in person or over the phone: 0117 927 5100 

Watershed's box office is open Monday – Friday from 09:00 and Saturday & Sunday from 10:00.


This event is part of Festival of the Future City, which takes place across Bristol from 18-20 October. 

Set over three days, the festival – which aims to be the largest public debate about the future of cities – brings together politicians, writers, artists, scientists, change-makers, academics, journalists, students, the public, economists, futurists, policy makers, roboticists, philosophers, filmmakers, think tanks, charities, social enterprises, city-builders and more. 

Join us to explore the key issues for the future of our cities: how we can solve growing inequality and segregation; build healthy cities and places; foster sustainable cities; and explore a future of devolved powers. Find out more at

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