Projects

University of the West of England: Bower Ashton

Superkilen, Copenhagen, Denmark, a collaboration with BIG architects. Photo courtesy of the Superflex.

Synopsis

Superflex is being commissioned by the University of the West of England to produce designs for a permanent new courtyard at the heart of the University’s redeveloped Bower Ashton site in Bristol. The commission forms part of the University’s Bower Ashton public art strategy developed in pursuance of a public art condition attached to the Campus expansion. The commission is being produced and delivered by Suzanne Heath.

Description

The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) is commissioning a public art programme that supports the second phase of a £25m redevelopment of their Bower Ashton site in south west Bristol. Danish artists’ group Superflex has been appointed to produce concept designs for the central new courtyard at the heart of Bower Ashton, between the new and old University buildings, for the use of students, staff and the public visiting the site. Following completion of the courtyard, UWE will commission an annual series of temporary artworks in the finished courtyard from UWE graduates in creative disciplines.

Bower Ashton is the home of the University’s Departments of Art and Design, and Film and Journalism which both sit within the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. Bower Ashton is one of four sites that form the University’s ‘City Campus’ alongside Arnolfini, Spike Island and Watershed, arts venues that share space with the University. Bower Ashton hosts key University facilities including the Library and creative production spaces for film, photography, ceramics, woodwork and metalwork alongside production space for drama, dance, fashion and journalism.

Designs for the courtyard will be developed during 2016-17, with construction coming forward in 2019, subject to planning permissions being granted.

Superflex

Superflex was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Rasmus Nielsen and Bjørnstjerne Christiansen. They describe their projects as ‘Tools’ or proposals that invite people to participate in and communicate the development of experimental models that alter the economic production conditions. Often their projects are related to economic forces, democratic production conditions and self-organisation. Superflex’s work is shot through with the humour and the politics of public space.

In 2011 they worked with BIG architects (Bjarke Ingels, designers of the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion) on Superkilen, a major new urban park in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, where lamp posts, manhole covers, fountains and seats have been gathered from more than 50 different countries. There are more than 100 different objects in the park all with a special history, including an elephant slide from Chernobyl and an Ethiopian bench from the site where the first humans walked the earth. Superflex were commissioned by Liverpool Biennial in 2012, and Emscherkunst Triennial in Germany in 2016.

In 2016 Superflex's Superkilen project was awarded the Aga Khan award for architecture which was established in 1977 to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence. Superkilen was one of six projects awarded in 2016.

UWE Bower Ashton

Bower Ashton is the home of the University’s Departments of Art and Design, and Film and Journalism which both sit within the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. Bower Ashton is one of four sites that form the University’s ‘City Campus’ alongside Arnolfini, Spike Island and Watershed, arts venues that share space with the University. Bower Ashton hosts key University facilities including the Library and creative production spaces for film, photography, ceramics, woodwork and metalwork alongside production space for drama, dance, fashion and journalism.UWE Bristol is a thriving, modern university, offering a wide range of highly respected courses and employment-enhancing opportunities – in one of the UK’s most vibrant cities.

Suzanne Heath

Suzanne is a freelance project manager, curator and consultant based in Bath who specialises in developing and delivering public art projects ranging from one-off events to permanent visual art commissions. Suzanne is currently developing and delivering a number of projects and art programmes across the South West and works closely with housing associations, developers, arts organisations and local authorities. Past projects include Edith & Hans by Sarah Staton (a project managed by Suzanne on behalf of Field Art Projects), Spaceplates Greenhouse, a commission by Danish artists N55 and Anne Romme (managed on behalf of Ginkgo Projects) and an Arts Council England funded programme of small commissions in Totnes, Devon.


  • Commissioner

    University of the West of England

  • Produced by

    Suzanne Heath

  • Partners

    University of the West of England, Suzanne Heath, Austin Smith Lord

  • Supported by

    University of the West of England