In 2008, Watershed, in collaboration with the University of West of England and the University of Bristol, launched the Pervasive Media Studio – an arts and technology research space designed to develop talent and new ideas in the cultural and creative economy.
By co-locating a network of artists, creative companies, technologists and academics, we support the exploration of ideas, experiences and applications over time. We are a space of many languages, united by curiosity and a desire to ask questions – we enjoy an international reputation for collaborations crossing cultural, commercial and academic sectors.
The Studio supports a growing community with 165 residents and an active alumni of 450 creatives. The community is curated – applications are open year-round and we think carefully about how new residents will complement the people who are already working here. We look for curiosity and a collaborative spirit – we want the Studio to be a safe space for people to take risks with early-stage ideas.
Our desk spaces are provided free of charge but we ask our residents to think about how they can be open, generous and interruptible – this way expertise is shared and connections are deeper. From sharing ideas and resources to running events, skills swaps or meet ups, to circulating client leads and funding opportunities, testing prototypes or even just offering to get a round of tea in – this is what makes the space uniquely collaborative.
“As a business and entrepreneur, I fully appreciate everything that Watershed offers Bristol. Watershed is playful; it encourages expansive thinking and curiosity. Great products and experiences are built by teams with diverse backgrounds, skills, and knowledge. This value is at the heart of Watershed and you see it whenever you engage with them.”- - Sammy Payne, Open Bionics Pervasive Media Studio resident.
We have an annual funded Residency Programme where we seek out ideas that blend creativity and technology through an open call. We’ve explored food futures, bionic limbs, theatre that makes us think differently and much more – all brilliant projects which have had a profound impact on the artists involved.
Since 2008 Watershed and the Pervasive Media Studio has been designing and delivering new R&D methodologies to the creative sector.
With £10m+ funding from Research England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we have initiated two major projects to explore the potential of new technologies to produce new products, experiences and jobs. The South West Creative Technology Network and Bristol+Bath Creative R&D cluster will explore themes like Immersion, Automation, Data and Performance through fellowships, prototyping and talent development.
"We felt very cared for during our residency and that the Pervasive Media Studio (and the people in it) were genuinely invested in and excited about our project. There’s literally no way we would be where we are now without it. The residency has genuinely opened up a bunch of new possibilities that will be felt in our practice for many years.”- - Action Hero, Artists in Residence
"It is the heart of the ecosystem - the UK lead of virtual reality and augmented reality working alongside other key players such as BBC, Aardman and the Universities.”- Tom Fleming, Conversations
Pervasive Media Studio