People / My Bristol Favourites

My Bristol Favourites: Richard Potter

By martin booth, Saturday Oct 3, 2020

Richard Potter is the chief technology officer of Microsoft Consulting Services UK and the artificial intelligence ethics lead for Microsoft UK.

He will be speaking at the Anthropology & Technology Conference 2020, taking place online on October 9 and 12, about the importance of responsible AI within the development of smart cities.

These are Richard’s top-five Bristol favourites:

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The Floating Harbour

Looking across the Floating Harbour from Hotwells towards Underfall Yard – photo by Martin Booth

“For me, the harbourside is one of the key elements of Bristol that gives the city its unique identity. It represents both the challenges of the past, which came to a head this summer with the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue, but also the opportunities of the future, with thriving start-up spaces including the Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, Runway East and Engine Shed all close to its catchment. I love the symbolism in that the river is always flowing, connecting the past with the future and embracing all the changes of a great city.”

Gloucester Road

New craft beer bar Sidney & Eden has recently opened in the former Alchemy 198 – photo by Martin Booth

“I’m always struck every time I visit this area with the ingenuity and strength of community entrepreneurism. This spirit is the secret sauce necessary to drive prosperous smart cities and this area, as well as many others throughout Bristol, has got it nailed. Tapping into this is what gives Bristol its strength as a smart city destination.”

The Wave

The Wave is an inland surf lagoon with incredible, safe waves that surfers like me can enjoy all year round. I am an engineer by trade and have always admired Bristol’s iconic design feats from Brunel’s Suspension Bridge and SS Great Britain to Concorde. The Wave is one of the examples of how this innovation is still happening in our city as this is a pioneering piece of engineering and the first of its kind in the UK.”

Tobacco Factory Theatres

Help support Tobacco Factory Theatres at – photo: Farrows Creative

“I love theatre and all elements of storytelling so – in this incredibly challenging time – I wanted to recognise the huge theatrical heritage the city has. Tobacco Factory Theatres is one of my favourite venues and a place that I would hate to see disappear. We must support these venues throughout this difficult period to keep this side of culture in our lives when things start returning to normal.”

Portland Square

Artist Residence, a 23-bedroom hotel, is opening in a former boot factory on one corner of Portland Square in November – photo by Martin Booth

“This is another area of Bristol that has had its ups and downs throughout history. When it was built in the 18th century, it was one of the city’s first suburbs with the Georgian architecture designed to appeal to wealthy residents, including the Wills family, famous for their tobacco empire. Now, this corner of St Paul’s is home to many offices, including the HQ for Temwa, a charity for which I’m a member of the board of trustees. Temwa does amazing things in remote, rural areas of northern Malawi – one of the poorest countries in the world. Developing self-sufficient communities through projects in education, health, agriculture and forestry, Temwa has its roots in Bristol’s generous community and shows how our own city connects with others around the world, bringing benefit to those with far greater needs than ourselves.”

Main photo courtesy of Microsoft

Read more: A first glimpse into Portland Square’s new boutique hotel

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