One of the main strands of the Avon Stories project is a weekly podcast. This is a series of interviews with people who are connected to the rivers and water in Bristol, whether directly or via a more tenuous link.
The subjects are deliberately eclectic, covering the physical river, history connected to it, art and artists who have made work about or alongside it, and about places connected to the river and people who work in them.
You can find the most recent podcasts here, and go back in chronological order, or find some under some very broad topics:
- The physical rivers and people who work on them
- Art and artists
- Podcasts recorded on walks
Some of the podcasts fall into multiple categories, so don’t be surprised to see them popping up in different places. And while the walking category is specifically for podcasts recorded on walks, there are walking routes, maps and photos in the posts for many of the other podcasts too.
History podcasts – from earliest times to modern
- Abona and the Romans in Bristol, with Gail Boyle of Bristol Museums
- Bristol and the Medieval Avon, part 1 – how the city developed, because of the rivers, with Dr Peter Fleming
- Bristol and the Medieval Avon part 2 – who were the Bristolians, and how did they live? with Dr Peter Fleming
- Weird Bristol murders from Georgian and Victorian times and ghost stories about the Harbour, with author Charlie Revelle-Smith
- How and why the Avon New Cut was built at the beginning of the 19th Century, how it’s changed and become a nature reserve – and why it’s under threat, with Roy Gallop.
- A tour round the Underfall Yard, with Sarah Murray, talking about the histories of the site, and the balancing acts running a heritage site in a working environment
- The Portishead to Bristol railway – why it developed, declined and may come back, with Dave Chillistone of the Portishead Railway Group
- The Sylvia Crowe landscapes around the Cumberland Basin bridges, and how the 1960s utopian city park ultimately failed, with landscape architect Wendy Tippett
- How Bristol nearly lost the Floating Harbour, and other stories of Planning in the 1980s to the present – interview with former Bristol City council Planner Richard Holden
- Tom Brothwell’s Bristol History podcast – why he makes it, his approaches to history, and more
The physical rivers and people who work on them – about the structure of the rivers and the water in them
- John Raymond-Barker of RB Boatbuilding told me about how the Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters evolved on the river (with photos of one being built)
- The work of the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust to keep the rivers healthy, including what we all can do to help
Art and artists – whose work may connect to the water directly or indirectly
- Dr Shawn Sobers is a film-maker, photographer, curator and educator, whose work has included the TransAtlantic slave trade, the sinking of the SS Mendi in World War I, Emaperor Haile Selassie’s exile in Bath, and much more. We went walking along the Avon in Lacock, the birthplace of British photography, and talked about various strands of Shawn’s work,
- Back in 2007, artists Kayle Brandon and Heath Bunting were exploring Bristol in different, subversive ways, including their Avon Canoe Pilot project, wild swimming, and much more.
- Poet and artist Dru Marland told me about living on the Kennet & Avon Canal, and about her work in general, and how it is influenced by boat life. The podcast includes Dru reading some of her poetry.
- Vocal artist Ellen Southern took me to see Over Bridge, an abandoned bridge to nowhere on the River Severn, and told me about how she makes work about this and other heritage sites. The podcast includes sound pieces she made on the trip.
- Nikki Pugh makes work that combines sculpture and GPS technologies to make objects used to explore and interact with our surroundings, and told me about it on a walk down the Avon
- Poet, writer, performer and so much more, Edson Burton, talked about his creative life, and read one of his poems by the Harbour
- Walking artist Richard White on his work, including his Sweet Waters project exploring the legacies of TransAtlantic slavery on the Avon
Podcasts recorded on walks – with maps and photographs (or ones that have maps with them)
- Dave Chillistone of the Portishead Railway Group took me on a walk around Portishead, discovering the railway that used to run to Bristol
- A slow walk down the Chocolate Path with artist Nikki Pugh (with photos and films of the silt, mud, water and more)
- A walk down the St Philips Greenway to Netham, via the closed path, with artist Richard White
- A walk around the Sylvia Crowe landscaping at Cumberland Basin and Ashton Meadows, with landscape architect Wendy Tippett
- A walk along the Avon New Cut starting and finishing at Gaol Ferry Bridge, finding out all about it, and its Friends, with Roy Gallop (includes the Chocolate Path, which sadly now is closed indefinitely)
- Walking the Avon in Lacock, Wiltshire, around the birthplace of British photography, with Dr Shawn Sobers.
- A soundwalk down the Greenway and closed path, with acousitician Dan Pope
Miscellaneous – which may end up under categories of their own
- Pete Insole told me about the Know Your Place website, a fantastic resource to explore the history of Bristol through maps, photos, art-works, and more, using a wealth of different categories
- Ben Barker has been involved in community development in the Avon-side neighbourhoods of Southville and Bedminster for over 25 years, and we talked about his approach, collaboration, and projects from the micro to the macro.
- Every two years, the Harbour Master’s Office holds a Salvage Auction of boats that have been abandoned, seized or given away, with the proceeds going to the Harbour maintenance. Auctioneer Graham Cockle told me about the 2018 auction, in this mini-episode.