Freedom News

Bristol: Radicals in print and film

An entire weekend of radical politics is taking place in Bristol this weekend — and with a film festival to follow in October the south-western city is setting a high bar for radical culture this year.

The Bristol Anarchist Bookfair starts at 11am tomorrow and with over 20 stalls and workshops, will cover issues from legal rights at demos, how to take direct action and staying stable amid the stress of dissent, to fixing bikes and climbing trees.

The venue is new and a little smaller than last year’s, but will have plenty of room for talks and fascinating stalls on all things anarchist at St Werburghs Community Centre, Horley Road St Werburghs, Bristol


It will be followed the very next day by an entire festival dedicated to Bristol’s Radical History at M Shed, running from 10.30am talks, walks, puppet shows and readings, films, bookstalls and displays uncovering radical histories in Bristol, the South West and beyond.

From mutinous Bristolian soldiers to rebellious anarchist women, from Bristol’s underground networks of war resisters to its rioters of 1831 we promise a ‘history-from-below’ approach, with speakers and performers eager to share authentic glimpses of a hitherto undocumented past.

Two important anniversaries are also being celebrated at the Radical History Festival. It is 800 years since the Charter of the Forest was signed granting rights, privileges and protections for the commoner, something which has been central to recent and past struggles to protect the nearby Forest of Dean. It is also 50 years since the ground-breaking History Workshop project was founded, aimed at breaking down barriers between universities and local historians and researching working class ‘history from below’.

Silver Screen

Then next month on October 13th-15th there will be the Bristol Radical Film Festival. The festival was founded in 2011 to showcase a different kind of cinema; contemporary and historical works of formally innovative, risk-taking, and/or overtly political left-wing documentary and fiction filmmaking.

The full programme is here and promises a great selection of flicks to see, from short stories and frontline reporting to features like Girl Power and Cradle Willl Rock.

All tickets are available from Party For The People and cost £6 for full price tickets, £4 for concessions. A festival pass, which gets you into all events, costs £30. Most of the screenings will also have intros, panels or Q&As with them and organisers hope to make the festival interactive (in an analog way).

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