Istoria Group commissions Martin Parr to shoot new board as part of major rebrand

3rd April 2019

Bristol creative business Blue Flint Group has re-branded under a new name – Istoria Group – and has commissioned world-renowned, Bristol-based documentary photographer Martin Parr to photograph its seven-strong board, in celebration of the re-launch. The strategic business re-brand has been undertaken to ensure that Istoria Group – already a multi-million pound business and a highly successful, independently-owned collective of five creative and innovation companies, including exhibition, events and experiences company Ignition; interiors and branding agency Phoenix Wharf; strategic communications agency Caroline; children’s book publishers I am a Bookworm and pioneering innovation platform Solverboard – is ready for the next ambitious stage of its growth at a regional, national and international level.

We can now offer clients access to a raft of specialist talent, based in a single, collaborative office’Sam Rowe explained. ‘Our point of difference is that we have shared processes and systems throughout the group, so that clients can decide if they want to work with a single specialist agency – on a shop, restaurant, re-brand, event or exhibition, for example – or else liaise across the group via a single point of contact for all of their creative and design needs.’

The business favours a direct and honest way of working with a highly personable approach and the commission of Martin Parr is a perfect embodiment of this. ‘We’re great fans of Martin Parr’s portraiture and of the frank and wryly humourous edge he brings to his work’, Sam Rowe, CEO of Istoria Group, commented, adding that ‘The commission also reflects our belief in Bristol as a centre of world-class creative talent’. Istoria Group, which is based in Bristol’s Paintworks, is located only a few hundred metres from The Martin Parr Foundation, which the photographer opened in 2017 to preserve his archive and legacy and to showcase and archive the work of other new and established photographers.

New Changes to the Istoria Group Board:

Part of the re-brand includes the confirmation of changes for the Group at board level. Former MD Sam Rowe has now become Group CEO, whilst former CEO & Founder Claire Menzies becomes Istoria Group’s new Chairwoman.

‘My new role will see me managing the board and keeping Group business strategically on track, as well as acting as an ambassador-at-large for our activities, expertise and pioneering values’Claire Menzies explained. Claire Menzies previously served on the London Olympics Steering Committee in 2012, helping to create new models of sustainable accreditation at what was the world’s first-ever fully-sustainable event. Ignition subsequently became the first business in its industry to receive ISO 2012-1 accreditation for sustainable event management and now has a total of three ISO accreditations, helping to fly the flag for both sustainability and for what Bristol businesses can achieve on a global basis.

This is an extremely important moment for Istoria Group’, Sam Rowe added. ‘We are full of ambition for the future. Ignition, our largest creative company, already works with corporate giants in the aerospace and pharmaceutical worlds, including Etihad Airways, Pilatus, Eli Lilly and Roche, but we are keener than ever for all the members of the group to partner with some of the great companies, large and small, that are located in the immediate Bristol and wider South West region. We believe this part of the country has so much potential as a powerhouse for innovation and creativity within the UK and we are here to help companies achieve that.’

The Istoria Group Companies:

12-year-old Bristol- and Indianapolis-based exhibition, events and experiences giant Ignition (included in the Top 20 of the UK’s Best Workplaces 2018Small Business category and a double winner in the prestigious, national EN Elite Awards 2018, taking both the Best Employer and Best Eco Supplier gongs) works across 8 main industry sectors, including aerospace, technology, pharmaceutical, health and education. The company recently communicated its ‘we can all do more’ message on sustainability at MEETSouthWest. Istoria Group CEO Sam Rowe is also the CEO of Ignition.
Phoenix Wharf           
Interior design and branding agency Phoenix Wharf has national clients such as SpaceNK, Yeo Valley and The National Trust, as well as regionally-based clients, including hospitality operators Pigsty (Bristol) and Ensemble (Wells).
Strategic communications agency Caroline, which has previously collaborated with another Bristol creative giant – Aardman Animations – on a project for The Macular Society             (
I am a Bookworm      
Children’s book publishers I am a Bookworm is one of the Group’s ‘Incubator Hub’ companies, whereby promising small businesses are supported in their growth and direction.
Innovation management platform Solverboard helps organisations bridge the gap between creativity and actualisation by bringing together idea generation, validation and project management into a single workflow. The platform helps bring more of the best business ideas to life and measures the impact of innovation programmes.

About Martin Parr:

Martin Parr is one of the most significant documentary photographers of post-war Britain and the former President of Magnum, the world’s most famous photography agency. Martin opened The Martin Parr Foundation in late 2017 to preserve his archive and legacy and to hold a growing collection of works by selected British and Irish photographers, as well as images taken in the British Isles by international photographers, together with an expanding library of British and Irish photobooks. The space encompasses a gallery and event space, library, studio and shop.


About Bristol Creative Industries

Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone. 

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