Talk to Me

Talk to Me. Image courtesy of Bristol City Council. Photo © James Harris.


Bristol Metropolitan Academy is one of a number of new schools in the City developed under the first wave of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in Bristol led by BCC and the Bristol LEP (Local Education Partnership). As part of the development artist’s Ralph Hoyte and Steve Joyce were commissioned to develop a new art work for the building, working closely with the art consultant (RIO).


Their work, ‘TALK TO ME' is a series of 3 text-based artworks integrated into the fabric of a new specialist language college in Bristol at design stage. The works was produced with a group including the Academy’s staff and students in response to the following questions:

1. How can we facilitate Young People to have input into their new school buildings?”

2. How can we use the Public Art programme to facilitate the expression of the cultural identity and specialist status of each school?

3. How can we build excitement, positivity, changes in attitude, a sense of ownership and enhanced expectations  of the school communities in  preparation for occupation of their new  school buildings?

Hoyte and Joyce used a workshop format over a 6 months period with members of a dedicated  group of 15 children aged between 11 and 14. This resulted in the concept of asking the whole school the existential question WHY? Which was then interpreted by 5 small groups * as:

Why Language

WHY language?

WHY did you or your family come here?

WHY poetry – what has it got to say?

A Quest for WHY (thru' comics)

WHY do we need Fantasy?

Each group designed their own consultative A5 postcard on computer to distribute throughout the entire  school (students/staff). The results of the consultation were collated under the banner heading TALK TO ME and designed as the three text-based artworks:


TALK TO ME - about WHAT?


Ralph Hoyte

Ralph Hoyte is a Bristol-based full-time professional poet, writer and artist. Ralph believes 'poetry' is a live art. His practice includes declamatory public poetry, sculptural poetry and literary content for pervasive, or context-aware media applications. He specializes in epic poetry and ballads (from about 40min to 3 1/2 hrs declamation time). His sculptural work is, usually, word-based and realised in collaboration with sculptors.

One of Ralph's current major interests is the role of emerging digital technologies in 21st century literature, and specifically that of so-called 'pervasive media' (or 'context-aware media'). In this field, Ralph idea-initiated then (with filmmaker Liz Crow) co-wrote, -directed and -produced 1831 RIOT! 'the world's first GPS-triggered pervasive media play', based in Queen Square, Bristol, for Mobile Bristol & Hewlett-Packard Labs. Having recently completed a pervasive media producers summer school (with the Digital Cultures Research Centre of the University of the West of England), Ralph is actively seeking partners to produce context-aware applications in the areas of literature, poetry and live art. As a live art performer, Ralph is actively seeking opportunities to perform his epic poems and ballads ('the mytho-poetic voice') as well as his distinctive 'fragmentary' 21st century poetry.

Bridge Metropolitan Academy

Bristol Metropolitan Academy is a secondary school (ages 11-19) with currently  530 students. Bristol Metropolitan became an academy in September 2009 and is a member of the Cabot Learning Federation. There are approximately 42 languages spoken by students in the academy of which Somali, Polish, Urdu and Pashtu are the most common. The school ethnic profile: 57% BME, 43% White British.

  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by

    RIO (Real Ideas Organisation)

  • Partners

    Building Schools for the Future (BCC, Skanska, LEP)

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council