University of Bristol Centenary Portraits

Terry Flaxton

The director in action

Terry Flaxton's unique film was premiered in autumn 2009. Shot in Royal Fort Gardens and featuring staff and students from across the University, the film was made on 20 May 2009 (Charter Day) to mark the 100th anniversary of the University receiving its Royal Charter, which granted it university status.

The work

The film, shot in ultra-high-resolution format, depicts the rich diversity of University life through portraits of a broad cross-section of the University community.

Staff and students were filmed on their own or in groups for about one minute, standing still while looking at the camera. Most of them had props, indicating who they are or what they do – the swimming team in their Speedos; security guards on motorbikes and on foot; archivists with rare items; palæontologists with animal skeletons; porters with trollies; musicians with instruments; rowers with oars; University leaders in robes; cleaning staff with equipment; scientists with instruments; drama students in costume. The approach was deliberately redolent of both Victorian photography and 18th-century portraiture.

In autumn 2009, the finished work had a formal premiere on a very large screen. It is on display at various locations throughout the University and on the University website and, potentially, at galleries and other venues elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

Members of the University leadership receive directions from Terry

Members of the University leadership receive directions from Terry

The artist

The artist, Terry Flaxton

Terry Flaxton is an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Creative Research Fellow in the University's Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television. He is a distinguished and innovative cinematographer, artist, cameraman and writer whose work has been seen and admired in many countries.

The location

The film was shot in the University’s Royal Fort Gardens. The Gardens are listed Grade 1 and represent part of a large, 18th-century estate that belonged to the wealthy Tyndall family. They form the grounds of Royal Fort House, which was built between 1758 and 1761 in Baroque, Rococo and Palladian architectural styles. In 1799 the grounds were landscaped by Sir Humphry Repton, England’s pre-eminent landscape gardener at the time.

Staff from Information Services

Technical staff from Information Services strike a pose

Security Services

Security Services

University sports teams

Student sports stars