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Bristol's art world goes virtual

Are you missing art galleries, theatres, museums and the cinema? Get your culture fix at some of Bristol’s best online exhibitions

By Imogen Howse, Deputy Arts Editor

Are you missing art galleries, theatres, museums and the cinema? Get your culture fix at some of Bristol’s best online exhibitions.

We’ve been in lockdown for over six weeks now. We miss our families; we miss our friends. We miss pubs, sports matches, concerts, and food venues.

Something else you may be yearning for is Bristol’s vibrant arts scene. Whether you’re a Bristol Old Vic regular or were finally planning on heading to Watershed, you may be feeling a little robbed. But fear not - culture vultures can get their fix from the comfort of their own living room! Check out some of Bristol’s best online art spaces for some inspiration, entertainment, or perhaps just a touch of normality.

Check out their Instagram for more highlights from their collections / Bristol Museum & Art Gallery Website

You can get your dose of culture in an impressive variety of ways at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. They’ve put their collections online – with content on archaeology, industry, nature and more – and you can check out their hand-picked favourites or scroll through their catalogues for as long as you please. Their first collections were brought together over 200 years ago, so you definitely won’t get through everything anytime soon.

|The Big Bristol Book Borrow: finding your next lockdown read

Online exhibitions range from ‘Radical Clay,’ which takes you through the greatest potters of the 1960s, to ‘Masters of Japanese Prints,’ which showcases some stunning woodblock prints. You can also dive into Bristol’s best stories as told through the city’s objects, art and people: ‘World Wildlife: Extinction Voices’ and ‘The Seven Saints of St Pauls: Memorials and Black Joy in Bristol’ are definitely ones to check out.


If you’ve watched everything on Netflix, iPlayer, and Amazon Prime, Watershed might just be your saviour!

Portrait of a Lady on Fire received rave reviews at Cannes / IMDb

For starters, they’re streaming some great independent films. Céline Sciamma’s work is on offer, including her fourth feature – Portrait of a Lady on Fire – which won Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at Cannes Film Festival. It’s a tale of female desire, hidden love, and the phenomenon of the gaze.

Watershed is also offering some more unique content. They’re showing documentary videos on Sign Language, Q&A’s with indie directors like Jim Cumming, and they even have their own monthly cinema podcast. In May’s episode, the company’s Cinema Curator Mark Cosgrove considers the philosophical filmgoers’ crisis: ‘what does cinema mean when there is no cinema?’

Bristol Old Vic

In addition to presenting an array of productions featuring both Bristol’s most-loved theatre shows as well as work by exciting emerging artists, Bristol Old Vic is also giving you the opportunity to be creative.

‘Open Stage Online’ is a space that showcases your creativity! Anyone can submit, and if you’re struggling for inspiration, they offer creative prompts every fortnight. According to their website, this is your opportunity to ‘share the things that nourish, encourage and amuse you during isolation.’ Share whatever feels important to you.

Bristol Cathedral

Finally, you can even visit Bristol Cathedral! Head over to their website for a 360° virtual tour, and if you’re still yearning for more, they’ve included some information on its heritage, history, and archaeology.

Everything mentioned is accessible right from your desktop or smart phone - so you've got nothing to lose by checking them out. These resources are a great way to help you feel connected to the Bristol community, and they offer a source of inspiration, a place of comfort, and a platform for expression - all of which are especially important right now!

Featured Image: Bristol Old Vic / Jon Craig

Have you checked out any of these online exhibitions? Let us know!