Major investment and redevelopment of UWE Bristol Bower Ashton Campus

Issue date: 10 August 2015


The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) will now forge ahead with exciting developments at the Bower Ashton Campus in the south of the city following a positive outcome of the latest planning application.

New buildings and major refurbishments coupled with the strong partnerships forged with the artistic and cultural sector in Bristol will provide students with a vibrant university experience.

Professor Alex Gilkison, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education, said, “The new vision that this significant investment will underpin is anchored in our aim to be externally connected, practice oriented and professionally accredited.

“It is critical that we maintain a metropolitan base for the University in the city and Bower Ashton's proximity to Bristol's creative and cultural organisations, based in and around the harbour and city centre, enables us to continue developing new and strengthening existing partnerships.

“We have strong long term connections with Aardman, Arnolfini, BBC, Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives, Spike Island, and Watershed that we have developed in order to support the practice-oriented learning of UWE students.

“Bristol is becoming well known as a creative hub. Increasing numbers of production companies, digital entrepreneurs and creative business incubators are establishing their base here and making the city a magnet for creative people. This, in turn, is attracting record numbers of applicants to UWE Bristol who are keen to make the most of the opportunities that come from being based in such a vibrant city. The established local, national and international links that UWE has spent years forging are also beginning to fire sparks globally as the University attracts increasing numbers of international students through the maturing of overseas partnerships

“We need to be sure that UWE Bristol provides students with industry standard resources grouped around discipline hubs that support practice based learning as well as delivering an inspirational learning environment.”

The plans include demolition of three of the current blocks at Bower Ashton Campus and the addition of three new three storey buildings that will house both Digital Media and Physical Making Resources.

Refurbishment of remaining blocks will include development of a student hub and the entire site will benefit from improved vehicle, pedestrian and cycle access and related facilities. The student hub will bring together catering, retail, Students Union, Student Support Services, Library, and IT support. A new entrance supports the Drama facilities, giving students the potential to offer public performances in an easy-to-reach space.

Professor Gilkison is also excited to announce a public art strategy that will be linked to 'Building 2' and a new central courtyard. “The Public Art strategy will open up opportunities for students to respond to briefs that will commission a new piece of work each year,” he said.

The developments will take place in phases, with 'Building 1' completing in spring 2017 and 'Building 2' aims to be completed in autumn 2018. The proposed new buildings and refurbishment of existing buildings at Bower Ashton has been carefully considered to respond to the needs of students and staff and also to the surrounding area and the overall environmental impact.

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