Bristol Arena Public Art Programme

Bristol Arena Design, image courtesy of / copyright Populous Arena Team.


The Bristol Arena will be a new world-class 12,000 capacity entertainment venue for Bristol. Located on the former diesel depot site adjacent to Bristol Temple Meads station and within the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, this £91M venue will host over 100 music, sport, exhibitions and events a year. As part of the development, and in keeping with the Council’s public art policy, a budget for the development of a public art strategy and commissions programme has been agreed by Bristol City Council.


The creation of the arena will mean that residents living in the city and surrounding areas will have a major performance venue on their doorstep and will no longer have to travel to other cities to see touring arena shows. The arena development will regenerate a derelict city centre site and be a catalyst for development in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone (BTQEZ), creating jobs and stimulating growth. Over time, Arena Island will become a new destination for Bristol residents and visitors, and will contribute significantly to creating a vibrant new quarter for the city.

The Arena is being delivered by Bristol City Council and global entertainment and sports design firm Populous with Bath based architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, working with BuroHappold Engineering and sound specialists Vanguardia. The public art strategy and commissions programme are being led by Field Art Projects who were appointed in March 2015 as part of the Populous Design Team.

The public art programme is overseen by an Arts Advisory Group made up of representatives from key arts organisations in the City and further afield, and chaired by the City Council. The public art strategy – which will be available in September 2016 – will cover a two year arts programme for the Arena and wider island site. To date a lead artist has been appointed to work on the design of the Arena building itself, working as part of the design team.

The Arena is designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, making it the UK’s most sustainable arena – and a fitting tribute following Bristol’s tenure as European Green Capital during 2015.

Lead Artist: Jonas Dahlberg

Renowned artist Jonas Dahlberg was appointed as a member of the Populous Arena Team in 2015. As the lead artist for the Bristol Arena Project, he is working with the design team on a collaborative proposal to provide an integrated art work to the façade of the building using lighting to reflect the tidal movement of water in the City and Bristol’s history in the development of moving picture technology.

Jonas Dahlberg is an extraordinary artist of international standing.  His remarkable proposal, Memory Wound, for the memorial to mark the terrorist event of 22 July 2011 at Utoya and in Central Oslo have been widely acclaimed.  He uses universal references in his work such as time place and memory and brings poetry to bear on his wide range of practice, from video and film to integrated architectural projects.

Other public projects include The Mirror at Tele2Arena Stockholm; a permanent sound installation for the new architecture academy in Stockholm (both 2015) and the scenography for Verdi’s Macbeth at the Grand Theatre, Geneva (2012).  Dahlberg has exhibited internationally including at Manifesta 4 (2002), the Italian Pavilion at 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003), and Prospect II New Orleans (2011).

Dahlberg was appointed through a process led by Field Art Projects with the involvement of the Arts Advisory Group and Bristol City Council.

Field Art Projects

Field Art Projects, lead by Theresa Bergne, was appointed as a member of Populous Arena Team in March 2015.

Theresa is an art consultant based in Bristol with a clear understanding of what makes a successful and popular arts programme and an interest in the way artists interact and create work in response to the public realm.

Field Art Projects have worked with local communities, public organisations, private companies, developers, architects, festivals and venues.  Theresa Bergne has produced a number of high profile projects as a curator and producer both locally and beyond.  She is the co-curator of Future Perfect Bristol, the first public art programme to be funded through a Neighbourhood Partnership in which governance is extended to members of the local community; she was curator of West Wing, the landmark art programme for Barts and the London’s Breast Cancer Unit; and spent twelve years running the public art programme for the Canary Wharf Group as well as curating and producing a series of independent prorgrammes and commissions.

Arena Design Team

The Populous Arena Team comprises Populous (Lead Consultant), Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, BuroHappold Engineering, Vanguardia Consulting, Field Art Projects and artist Jonas Dahlberg.

Creative, passionate and collaborative, many of the team members has established working relationships through past projects of similar complexity and national significance, including the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, The 02 Arena, Emirates Stadium and St Mary Magdalene Academy.

The team were appointed in March 2015 through a design competition managed by the RIBA.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol City Council

  • Produced by

    Field Art Projects

  • Partners

    Populous, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, BuroHappold Engineering, Vanguardia Consulting, and artist Jonas Dahlberg.

  • Supported by

    Bristol City Council