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Transforming Futures: Brunel’s influence on Bristol

Event organised by ICE

16 March 2022
18:30 - 19:30 GMT
St. George’s
Great George Street
Bristol, BS1 5RR
United Kingdom

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To coincide with the inaugural performance of a new musical composition for the University of the West of England (UWE), dedicated to the transforming influence of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s work in Bristol, ICE South West presents a pre-concert lecture.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel's association with Bristol has left the city with an enduring architectural and engineering legacy that includes the Clifton Suspension Bridge and his original Great Western Railway station at Temple Meads. Brunel's pioneering steamship the SS Great Britain still remains in the original dry dock, where she was launched in 1843 as a tribute to his imagination and ingenuity.

In the first part of the lecture, Tim Bryan, the Director of the Brunel Institute at the SS Great Britain Trust, will provide an overview of the Victorian engineer’s work and life in Bristol over more than twenty years, and explore how Brunel’s reputation still looms large in the city.

The second speaker is Professor John Parkin, Professor of Transport Engineering at the University of the West of England (UWE). John’s talk is entitled, Transforming futures: carrying on boldly imagining grand novelties, drawing on a key phrase from Brunel’s obituary. John will consider the necessary imagining we need today to tackle the current issues and problems facing humanity. He will discuss the engineers’ critically skill of design in the context of the climate emergency, carbon budgets, and the opportunities of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs.)

Important information

This is a free face-to-face lecture at St. George’s, Bristol, organised by the ICE South West Bristol & Bath Graduates, Students and Apprentices Committee. The lecture takes place ahead of the Transforming Futures concert by University of West England’s Bristol Centre for Music.


18:30 - 19:30

Lecture - Free – Book via this web page

20:00 - 21:30

Concert - £6 (concessions available) – Book via St George Bristol.


Professor John Parkin

Professor John Parkin

University of the West of England, Bristol

professor of transport engineering

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Professor John Parkin

John has experience in all stages of transport from policy formulation, modelling and forecasting, operational analysis and economic appraisal, design and construction, and evaluation. He leads teams undertaking quantitative and qualitative empirical research and evaluations of sustainable transport schemes and autonomous vehicle trials.

His work is at the nexus of infrastructure design and user behaviour. A specialism is street design, with emphasis on active modes. Research includes side road crossing user behaviour, eye movement of cyclists; passing distances; pedestrian and cyclists trust in autonomous vehicles real-world trials.