Glenside Campus is not your conventional university campus. Now home to the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, in its past, Glenside was once home to war heroes, patients with mental illness and the sick. It’s a place of refuge and healing. At UWE Bristol, that history is shared to this day.
How and where we study is different right now and so it’s more important than ever to find a place where you feel safe and supported, so that you can focus on getting the most out of your course.
‘The Ideal Study Space’ is different for everyone. Some prefer to be in the comfort of their own space, (These people are fascinating to me, like, how do you not nap…At all?!) Some prefer a coffee shop type setting, and some prefer the calm outdoors.
As for me, I get too distracted in all of those settings, but I’ve found that studying on campus actually really works for me!
I’m currently studying Drama and Creative Writing and am based at UWE Bristol’s City Campus. Contrary to most belief, doing a Drama degree is a bit more than remembering lines and getting bruises from Physical Theatre exercises — there’s a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ knowledge that needs to be learned. Using the City Campus Library makes me feel like I’m at home, but with a fresh element of productivity that helps me get stuff done.
The library is a great space for me to concentrate, with staff and resources on hand if I get stuck. It’s usually open pretty much all day (although it’s subject to some extra regulations at the moment due to Coronavirus restrictions), so you can get a good day’s work in without worry of having to leave early evening, and the space is perfect for group work in the main area as well as a section for silent study with a view of the Ashton Grounds to keep you at peace.
Here’s my favourite feature…You may or may not have heard of a software called Adobe Creative Cloud, you know…the one that costs a pretty penny to get for yourself? Well in the library at UWE Bristol they offer FREE use of the full package! In fact they’ve provided a wall of MacBooks that you can take out for the day to use on site, and you have access to all of the apps. I’ve found this so useful for my course and am pleased UWE Bristol makes the effort to cater to the needs of the student, whilst providing great places for focus.
UWE Bristol makes the effort to cater to the needs of the student, whilst providing great places for focus.
Even after the workload has gone down, you’ll still find someone chilling there with their music and a book, or groups of students planning a creative project on one of the roundtables, or someone making beats in the corner, or someone editing photos from their shoot — It’s a space for everyone to use!
So, where do you prefer to study? If, like me, nothing really works for you, why not give the UWE Bristol spaces a try?
Bower Ashton is part of UWE Bristol’s City Campus and is only a 20-minute bus journey to the city centre. Right next to the campus is Ashton Court which is an 850-acre country estate and a great place to escape to when uni gets a bit stressful.
For any football fans, Ashton Gate stadium is an easy walk from the campus. Alongside hosting football games, they also have live music and recently a drive-through cinema. One of Bristol’s iconic landmarks is Clifton suspension bridge which is only a half an hour walk away which is a great place to admire the beautiful surrounding area.
What do I like most about the campus?
The Open Spaces
Before I moved to Bristol I lived in Devon and was constantly surrounded by greenery and large open spaces. I was worried that this is something that I would miss when living in the city. However, the Ashton Court Estate and the deer park next to the campus is an amazing place to escape to. During our lunch breaks me and my friends would take a walk through the surrounding grounds and take a picnic which is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The short walk up to Ashton Court carpark has amazing views of the city. From here you can also take a route through the woods close by and this will take you up to Clifton Suspension bridge.
One of the main features that attracted me to UWE Bristol is the location of the campus I would be studying on. As I study fashion textiles and take a lot of inspiration from nature and different textures and themes, Bower Ashton is an amazing location that is both close to the city centre but also surrounded by so much nature.
From the fourth floor (Fashion Textiles floor) you can get some amazing views from our studio spaces and I have found this can really help inspire my work.
Due to being so close to the city centre it is a great for those who have part time jobs in the city and finding placements or internships close by. Part of the course is usually based in the Arnolfini or the Watershed (right by Bristol harbour) for lectures as part of the Visual Culture module that most creative courses have. Its easily accessible from campus meaning you can go to the lectures and then go back to use the library or equipment. I enjoyed going to these venues as they are right in the city centre, meaning afterwards it’s a short walk to get to Bristol Shopping quarter or to go out for a meal in one of Bristol’s many restaurants and cafes!
From Bower Ashton Campus there are regular buses that take you all the way through the city centre to Frenchay Campus which is great for joining societies or going to SU events at the main campus.
When looking for a flat for second year we found that Bedminster, Southville and Hotwells are great places for Bower Ashton students to live, close by to both the campus and the city centre. Alongside this Bedminster is a great place to visit to see some amazing street art and enjoy some local independent businesses.
The Buildings and Facilities
On my UWE Bristol open day, I was really impressed by the facilities available compared to other Uni’s I had looked at. Since then part of the main building has also been refurbished and a new block has been built.
The facilities are vital for the course and every student has access to everything across the campuses.
Inside the campus has its own art shop which has also recently been refurbished which is great for buying course supplies. The uni also provides a £70 fund for eligible students and this can be used in the art shop as well as paying for use of equipment (embroidery machines, screen printing, laser cutting.) This money has been extremely helpful when studying and any that you don’t use gets rolled over to the next year!
The library is definitely one of my favourite places to get work done in because of the lovely views of the surrounding grounds and of all the resources available. Students are able to hire out MacBook’s using their student cards and the laptops have access to software’s such as: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, etc. This is great for students who may not have access to this software on their own laptops or don’t have one. The library is a great place to research because of the large variety of books, magazines, DVDs, journals, etc available and most can be borrowed out for a whole year.
I found that their archive of fashion and textile magazine has been a great help for my course.
Having access to the printers is another great thing about the library as you have £20 printing credit at the beginning of each year which has really helped complete my sketchbook work.
For the last three years, I have studied BA Fashion Communication at UWE Bristol. My primary campus was at the Arnolfini (Part of UWE Bristol’s City Campus), and one of Europe’s leading centers for contemporary arts; hosting guest speakers, art exhibitions, music and film events.
Prior to moving to Bristol, I lived in a small village in the countryside, but studying at the Arnolfini allowed me to become immersed in city life. As a graduate from UWE Bristol, I really enjoyed studying at the Arnolfini due to the central location, the opportunity to collaborate, and the support provided by staff.
The city centre location
The Arnolfini is situated on the picturesque Bristol Harbourside, surrounded by thriving bars and restaurants, it is one of my favourite spots to go to in the city. The campus is accessible by bike, bus or train and within walking distance of the major shopping centre, Cabot Circus.
A real benefit of studying at Arnolfini is being located within walking distance to both arts, historical and cultural landmarks including the city Cathedral, Bristol Hippodrome, MShed Museum and Watershed Cinema. With so much going on around you, it enriches your experience and studies with the range of activities and events.
Support and collaboration
Inside the UWE Bristol campus, students have access to a number of computer suites where IT Staff provide technical support, offer workshops and help to bring your ideas to life. Across the creative campuses, collaboration is encouraged especially when sharing the facilities with Fashion Communication, Graphic Design, Illustration and Fine Art.
I enjoyed being able to work with fellow creatives on internal projects, which has now given me the confidence to approach external individuals and network.
As a graduate
Studying at the City Campus in Arnolfini, I became familiar with the city, surrounding businesses and prospect work opportunities. Since graduating in June 2020, I have worked as an in-house graphic designer and now secured an internship in a Bristol-based creative agency. My confidence to network and collaborate is down to studying at UWE Bristol, in the heart of the city.
by Chloe, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing
Delights on campus
Moving to a new city and starting a new chapter at university is by far one of the most exciting things I have ever done. There is so much exploring to do in Bristol, from the Clifton Suspension Bridge to Millennium Square, not to mention all of the amazing independent businesses and quirky stalls in the popular markets. However, it never occurred to me that there were so many hidden gems on the UWE Bristol campus itself!
As well as having quick and convenient bus links to and from the city centre, amazing resource centres and helpful career hubs, Frenchay Campus boasts some beautiful spaces to work and chill with your friends. Due to the fact there is so much choice, there is always somewhere you can go.
Whether you prefer somewhere that you can have a bite to eat or somewhere quieter, there is no doubt that you can find it on campus.
Frenchay Campus library
One of my favourite places to study is the library, which has a range of zones over five floors! Each level has a different purpose which means you can study in a variety of environments, allowing you to find a space perfect for you.
From Help Zones (Level 2), Quiet Study (Level 3) to the main Study Zone (Level 4), to silent Study (Level 5) you can find the perfect spot to work on assignments and research.
You can also book study spaces and individual study rooms which are so useful if you have a group project and want your own room, or even if you have a conference.
The Library Lounge on Level 4 gives you the chance to buy drinks and have a quick break in between sessions, which is a huge bonus to keep yourself refreshed and stay focussed.
For me the library has been somewhere that I have used most frequently since joining UWE Bristol because you can stay focussed in any zone that makes you feel comfortable – plus the staff in the help pods are so helpful and approachable.
I think that having such a good environment to use and enjoy, with so much choice, has enhanced the way I look at studying and means that me and my friends can use each zone depending on how we feel when we come in.
Business school booths and the Atrium cafe
Talking of places that you can get a bite to eat, another one of my favourite places on the UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus is the beautiful Business School.
This is one of the newest builds on campus and one of the most gorgeous buildings inside and out! It has such a modern feel and the Atrium Café on the ground floor is a great place to just hang out even if you haven’t come for a lecture or self-study. The food on offer is really tasty, quick and healthy – no wonder it’s such a popular spot!
As well as this, X block as it’s more commonly known, flaunts teaching and office spaces and booths over seven floors, so there is more than enough space to find a spot.
The Students’ Union
Now the real community hub of UWE Bristol is the Students Union! This is where students hang out, go to events and a hot spot for food and drink. There is always something being run either at the SU building or online, meaning there is never a dull moment. UWE Bristol wouldn’t be complete without the SU – it’s all part of the experience!
The SU team run so many competitions where you can win some ace prizes and connect with new people. It is a great place to mingle and I met some students there that are now still close friends.
It’s good to have somewhere that isn’t study related where you can chill out and just have a break.
The variety on Frenchay Campus at UWE Bristol is something that has made my experience at UWE Bristol both productive and fun. The choice is unbelievable and there is always somewhere to go that has exactly the vibe you want. Being comfortable and confident is so easy when there are so many options to hang out and I think that’s what is so unique about UWE Bristol – we aren’t just a university, we are a community.
by Lydia Cerguera, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing
It’s time to look at the hard work behind UWE Bristol’s fantastic campus grounds and the plans for this year
Maintaining a high standard of care throughout three large campuses is not easy, but this hasn’t put off UWE Bristol’s Grounds Team from setting high targets for the year ahead.
The hard work from last year has already been recognised on an official level, granting the team a DEFRA Award for Frenchay’s ‘Beeline Project’ and a recognition of Bronze Status by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society for 2019/20. The recent praise is just what the Grounds Team at UWE Bristol deserves, as Grounds Manager, Richie Fluester, says. “There’s about 17 of us in total, spread across all the campuses. There’s a really good team ethic among everyone.”
The team manages the grounds at Frenchay, Glenside and Bower Ashton. In the past, attention was paid greatly to the upkeep of more traditional hedges and lawns, but the team’s vision has evolved more recently to reflect the environmental needs of the British landscape. Improving the university’s natural sustainability by planting more pollinated and edible fauna, developing eco-balanced pond areas, encouraging orchards to flourish, and meadowscaping previously baron lawns, has been at the forefront of the Grounds Team’s initiative for the past several years.
There have been lessons learned in the process. According to Richie, the positive impact on campus has also helped “encourage sustainable gardening for staff and students alike” and that individuals’ ideas are always taken onboard in UWE’s supportive community.
We want to engage people – locals, staff and students alike.
Grounds manager, Richie Fluester
Some projects have made the team particularly proud, like the Grounds Team’s mission for all machinery to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2030. “Several years ago, students would have had to dodge their way around petrol tractors on campus to get to their lectures,” says Richie, “but in recent years the golf-style buggies, powered by batteries, are barely noticeable. We’re 80% there already with hand-held tools so now we’re looking at replacing old equipment with new sustainable equipment over the next decade.”
Another new initiative to look forward to this year is the re-usage of ground coffee, starting with Frenchay’s Student Union bar and the coffee cart by the fruit and veg stall. Certain chemicals in used coffee can be damaging to plant growth, so the team are trialing quantities to make sure it can be added to the nearby compost areas without any negative effects. Once this has been successfully established, the recycling process will be applied to the other campuses.
The Grounds Team are eager to share the Frenchay campus success with Glenside and Bower Ashton this year. Their achievements with the Beeline project means more edible herb gardens and pollinated plants can be added to flower beds in Bower Ashton soon, with maps and biodiversity grids currently being designed. A new cycling path plan is also in development to run alongside Ashton Court Road to keep commuters safer.
At Glenside, the team have been working hard to build up the varied tree population. Students and staff can journey through the woodlands during the Tree Walk which will run each month during term time. There is also a continuing effort to meadow-scape the once very traditional lawns on the campus to bring bees and other pollinators back to the area.
Making all three main campuses hedgehog-friendly is also a key priority for Richie, but his team needs the help of everyone to make it work. “We want to engage people – locals, staff and students alike. It’s beneficial for all animals, not just the hedgehogs.”
Getting outside, exercising, breathing in fresh air, meeting new people – it’s something anyone can get involved in, whatever their experience.
Grounds manager, Richie Fluester
Bringing people together in an effort to preserve the local wildlife and fauna is a big focus for 2020. Students and staff can get their hands dirty in the Community Garden at Frenchay. Held twice a month, these drop-in sessions are great for learning new skills in vegetable growing, tree planting, making bug hotels, pruning fruit trees and other plants, learning more about seasonal horticulture, and much more. Richie finds this has helped many students struggling with stress.
by Lydia Cerguera, BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing
There is something quite serene about stepping outside into
the dark and breathing in the cool air as you leave campus after a long day.
How can we pause the thoughts that run through our minds of
tasks to complete, of lessons we’ve learned, of when to fit in work before the
Stand still for a moment. Breathe in the night’s sky. Look up for the moon.
Listen out for the birds who have yet to make it home to their nests. Feel the wind pass you before it rustles through the hedgerows. Take stock of your surroundings.
Winter can be a stressful time for students and staff at
university. Deadlines need to be met and content has to be delivered. Take the
moments in between to enjoy the nature around you and remember that it, too, is
letting go of itself; trees are shedding their leaves, flowers are drooping
down to their underground bulbs, and the regular rain aids minerals to spread
across the land, nurturing the soil in preparation for spring.
If you’re looking for a place of quiet, the pond areas at Frenchay Campus provide tranquility, where the fish rest on the pond beds to calm their hearts in the cold.
As well as enjoying our Frenchay Campus’ natural comfort, a bus ride to Bower Ashton will take you to the doorstep of Ashton Court Estate, where deer wander freely and a trip through the woodlands to the top of the hill allows for incredible views across the Bristol landscape. Being wheelchair friendly, Ashton Court is a great place to appreciate Bristol’s terrain for everyone.
Have you got a festive feast coming up in the holidays? Now is the time to take advantage of our Frenchay herb gardens! There are spots in the Walled Garden, and outside K Block and R2 Block, with labelled herbs available for all staff and students to pick and take home to cook with. Some rosemary and parsley with your roast potatoes, perhaps?
If you are finding the last week of lectures hard, then why
not bring some nature back indoors with you to craft with in the evenings? You
could collect fir cones, dry them on the radiator, paint their tips and dangle
them on your bedroom wall with string. Or gather some fallen twigs, dry them
out, and glue them into star/tree shapes as decorations.
An effective addition for your room at university would be
to paint small stones you’ve found outside – either by creating the patterns
yourself or by picking up leaves on your walk, drying them, painting them and
printing them onto each stone. Not only is it free (you can ask for some paint
at the Resource Centre), but crafting will help to soothe your worries during
this busy time. Placing the stones in a dish or along a bookshelf in your room
will make for a lovely feature.
There are plenty of ideas to find on Pinterest and other crafty sites, but make sure you only pick up natural items that have fallen – nothing still attached to trees as they are still vital to the network of our wildlife!
Wherever you are during the next few weeks, I would like to wish you a happy and well-rested holiday.
And don’t forget, there is always time to breathe in the night’s sky and stand still for a moment.