The Rooms

About The Rooms

The ROOMS was a festival held in November 2015 to share the work created by many of REACT's partners. REACT was a collaboration between the University of the West of England, Watershed, and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter. It was one of Four UK Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) from 2012 to 2016. The Rooms was produced by REACT and took over the spaces of the Island, Firestation and Old Magistrates Courts in central Bristol, UK. This website has been maintained as an Archive of the festival and the work it displayed. 

From a playground filled with battling robots and fabulous beasts, to an interactive light garden, haunted study and enchanted library, The ROOMS aimed to reimagine our digital future. 

For three days in November, THE ROOMS was a Playground for new ideas. Alongside a series of installations showing 53 projects, there was an exciting programme of free talks, workshops, film screenings and house parties. 

THE ROOMS was Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. REACT invested in collaboration, cultural experimentation and creative innovation between University researchers and creative businesses, supporting them to make new kinds of digital products and experience.

THE ROOMS is supported by:

REACT is a partnership between:

THURSDAY
PRIVATE VIEW: 6PM – LATE

THE ROOMS partners are hosting a preview evening of the Festival for REACT Alumni and invited guests. If you would like to attend the preview, but haven’t received anything from the team, please email us and we'll arrange a ticket. 

6pm – OPEN HOUSE, DRINKS & HOUSE TOURS

As the November sun sets, take a journey into The Rooms, a series of installations that will play host to 53 inventions designed to change and brighten your world. 

From a Playground filled with battling robots and fabulous beasts, to an interactive light garden, haunted study and enchanted library. Get lost in a bio-activated maze, contemplate the future of death and reimagine our digital future. 

We recommend 90 minutes to visit all the rooms, if you’d prefer a host to show you around, there will be house tours running throughout the evening – Just talk to one of the team on arrival. Food and Drink will be available in the Kitchen. 

8pm – WELCOME SPEECHES

Join us in the Kitchen for a bite to eat and a celebratory toast to the last four years of work and play. 

9pm – SITTING ROOM SESSIONS

Hear from some of the most thoughtful makers and creative visionaries from the South West and beyond in our Sitting Room Sessions; an informal setting to hear stories from some of the REACT Alumni, Friends and Family. We'll also have open mic slots available on the evening, so let one of the team know if there’s something you’d like to talk about. 

10.30pm - HOUSE DJ

Enjoy some live music from our house DJ.

 

Friday
Talks, Film Screening & HOUSE Party: 11am - LATE

The Rooms will play host to parties, performances, panel sessions... even a dancing Elvis. We're open to all, and nearly everything is free to attend. Make sure you book a place to the talks & panel sessions and Orion Screening, as places are limited.

10AM – TEA & COFFEE

11AM – TALKS & PANEL SESSIONS

REACT & AHRC present a FREE series of talks and panel sessions discussing the method behind the work presented at the Rooms, and the other UK Creative Economy Hubs.

This is an opportunity to learn more about collaboration between companies and universities, and to contribute to a dialogue about the future of this type of working. Lunch is provided for all delegates, full programme to be announced in October.

VIEW PROGRAMME & BOOK A PLACE

This Orion screening is supported by:

4PM – OPEN HOUSE

As the November sun sets, take a journey into The Rooms, a series of interactive installations that will play host to 53 inventions designed to change and brighten your world.

From a Playground filled with battling robots and fabulous beasts, to an interactive light garden, haunted study and enchanted library. Get lost in a bio-activated maze, contemplate the future of death and reimagine our digital future.

We recommend 90 minutes to visit all the rooms, if you’d prefer a host to show you around, there will be house tours running throughout the evening – Just talk to one of the team on arrival. Food and Drink will be available in the Kitchen.

The Rooms Open House is free to attend, and there's no need to book... Just come along! 

8PM – ORION SCREENING

ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING a film by Jeanie Finlay tells the story of Jimmy Ellis – an unknown singer plucked from obscurity and thrust into the spotlight as part of a crazy scheme that had him masquerade as Elvis back from the Grave. Come early to explore the Rooms before the screening, and after the Screening, stay for the House Party. 

BOOK TICKETS

9.30PM – ELVIS IS ALIVE! HOUSE PARTY

Pack your blue suede shoes and prepare to do the Jailhouse Rock. After the Orion screening we’ll be dancing the night away- come join us! The House Party is free and there's no need to book- Just come along.

1AM – ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING  

..and we will too. We’ll be shutting the doors for the night, but welcome you back in the morning if you’d like to join us.

SATURDAY
WORKSHOPS & OPEN HOUSE: 10AM – 6PM

Come along on Saturday to experience The Rooms, take part in workshops and eat in the amazing Kitchen. Workshops will be running throughout the day led by some of the most thoughtful makers and creative visionaries from the South West and Beyond. Everything is completely free and open to all. 

10AM – 6PM: WORKSHOPS

We’re working on a really exciting programme of workshops from some of the most thoughtful makers and creative visionaries from the South West and Beyond. All of the workshops will be completely free and appropriate for a range of ages and interests. Booking will be via sign up at the Venue, on a first come- first served basis. 

Come and meet the people behind the work at The Rooms. There will be workshops on toys, memory and health; opportunities to make your own films, apps and books; and discussion sessions on the small matters of sex, ethics and death. 

View Programme

 

10AM - 6PM: OPEN HOUSE

Take a journey into The Rooms, a series of interactive installations that will play host to 53 inventions designed to change and brighten your world.

From a Playground filled with battling robots and fabulous beasts, to an interactive light garden, haunted study and enchanted library. Get lost in a bio-activated maze, contemplate the future of death and reimagine our digital future.

We recommend about 90 minutes to visit all the rooms, if you’d prefer a host to show you around, there will be house tours running throughout the day – Just talk to one of the team on arrival. Food and Drink will be available in the Kitchen. Open house is free to attend and open to all, just come along. 

Inside The Rooms

 

NEWSROOM


It’s been important for REACT to reflect on and share ideas with generosity, and we have asked our projects to do the same. At The Rooms this is happening live! Meet the editors at work, read our newspaper, find out what’s happened at the event and become a part of our story. Featuring:

  • Book Kernel
  • In Touch
     

STUDY


One of the things that our projects have taught us is that there’s a rich layer of historical and cultural material embedded in the world around us. These projects each propose a new way of interpreting that world, of delving deeper into the buildings, landscapes and objects with which we share our lives. Featuring:

  • Curpanion
  • Fans on Foot
  • Moor Stories
  • Page To Stage
  • Reflector
  • Sex and History
  • Splash & Ripple
  • Tact.to
  • The Exeter Book Project
  • The God Article
  • With New Eyes I see

 

BEDROOM


Examine your own desires and imagine how experiencing them might be different if we were able to craft our own intimate objects. Featuring;

  • Intimate Objects

 

LIBRARY


REACT wanted to explore how the way that we read, write and experience literature is changing, and to uncover the future of the book where technology means more than just e-books and self-publishing. Featuring;

  • A Volume of Circumstance
  • Book Hive
  • Theatre Book
  • The Secret Lives of Books
  • Writer on the Train

 

WAITING ROOM 


One of the projects that REACT supported combined accessible mobile phone technology with a sophisticated web interface, to create a space for some of the 300,000 women and 25,000 men affected by Peru’s mass-sterilisation programme in the mid-1990s to share their stories. Step into a Peruvian medical clinic to bear witness to their testimonies. Please be aware that this room contains sensitive material that may be upsetting to some audience members. Featuring;

  • The Quipu Project

 

THE CWTCH


A room taking its name from the Welsh word meaning ‘cuddle’ or ‘safe space’, The Cwtch is a place to listen more closely to the sounds of your life. Featuring;

  • Mayfly

 

BREATHING ROOM


It’s important to find space in your day for quiet contemplation, a moment to stop and take a breath. Listen closely to the original soundtrack for this room that responds to your heartbeat as you interact with the space. Featuring;

  • Breathing Stone
  • The Beacon Choir

 

GALLERY


Arthur Buxton wants to enable us all to make unique works of art. He has developed Colourstory, a web platform that builds unique colour timelines from any set of images, be it a holiday, your wedding or your favourite book. Here, his pop up exhibition will show some of the most beautiful examples of these prints to date, and allow you to make your very own. Featuring;

  • Colourstory

 

SITTING ROOM


REACT is a space to meet, to share ideas, discuss, argue and make friends. Over the course of The Rooms, our Sitting Room will host our Sitting Room Sessions, a conference, a film screening, parties and workshops.

 

PLAYROOM


There is a lot of concern about how digital technology is affecting the way that children play, learn and socialise with one another. REACT supported six new ideas that offer more playful, engaging, thoughtful experiences for children, made in collaboration with a team of fourteen Young Coaches aged between 8 and 12. Featuring;

  • Fabulous Beasts
  • Fleapit Cinema

 

THE KITCHEN


Unfussy food and drink in a warm, friendly environment, the place to go to eat, meet and relax. Featuring;

  • The React Jukebox

 

PLAYGROUND


There is a lot of concern about how digital technology is affecting the way that children play, learn and socialise with one another. REACT supported six new ideas that offer more playful, engaging, thoughtful experiences for children, made in collaboration with a team of fourteen Young Coaches aged between 8 and 12. Featuring;

  • Millie Moreorless
  • Trove
  • Teleportation Tent
     

GARDEN


There’s something about gardens that allow you to shake off the constraints of everyday life; a space to play, dream, relax and socialise. These are all things that are important to REACT, who believe that if you give ideas space and room to grow, magical things can happen. Featuring;

  • Lightbug
     

CEMETERY


As our physical and virtual lives become increasingly intertwined, so do our deaths. From Facebook memorialisation to environmentally sound disposal techniques, REACT know that this is only going to become more important to us all. So take a moment to consider the future of death and dying and contribute our wall of remembrance. Featuring;

  • Future Cemetery

 

THE LABS


Photography and film has long had the power to amaze, inform and inspire. From lantern slides and Zoetropes to apps and virtual reality headsets, explore The Labs and experiment with a series of intimate installations that engage you in compelling documentary stories. Featuring;

  • Boron Mon Amour
  • Doc360
  • How the Pictures Learned to Walk
  • In the Shadow of Things
  • Magic Lantern
  • The Risk Taker's Survival Guide

 

THEATRE


Spend some time in Bristol Old Vic, re-imagined here through the memories of its players, audiences and backstage team. Featuring;

  • Memory of Theatre

 

THE MAZE


In the Black Maze your bio-data acts as the controller and you have 1000 heartbeats to escape the dark. A game played in groups of four, taking place in a series of Victorian Prison cells. This prototype game will experiment with some of the questions that REACT project Hyde asked about the relationship between our humanity and technology.
- Simon Evans, Anthony Mandal and Simon Johnson
- Cardiff University

 

The Venue
How to find us

We’re making The Rooms across a collection of buildings that used to be the old Bridewell Police Station, Firestation, CID buildings and Magistrates Courts in the heart of Bristol’s city centre. This is the first time that the whole site is being used together for one event, so it should be a really special experience. 

 

Address

The Rooms

Garden Gates on Silver Street

Bristol

BS1 2AG

Trains

The Rooms is little more than a 10 minute walk from Bristol Temple Meads Station, which has regular trains to London and Cardiff. 

Parking

There's lots of city centre parking nearby, check out Parkopedia for options. 

Access

We're working hard to make The Rooms as accessible as possible for our audiences. A detailed accessibility statement will follow shortly, but in the mean time if you have any questions or concerns regarding the accessibility of the Rooms, or would like to discuss what you can expect, please contact us

Venue Partners

The Island a self-funded multi use arts facility and creation centre based in the old Bridewell Police Station.

The Station a world-class youth hub based in a (once derelict) old Firestation, managed by the Creative Youth Network.  

The Kitchen serving great value, unfussy food and drink in a warm friendly environment. Managed by the YMCA. 

Bristol Airsoft like paintball, but without the mess. Bristol Airsoft have made the old Crown Courts on Bridewell their home, which they're kindly letting us take over for The Rooms.

 

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