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Archive for March, 2017

Meet the XLR Collective: Milo

Name: Milo Clack

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocalist (rap+metal), lyricist/activist

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I want to push myself to develop in every way that I can and would’ve regretted missing the opportunity to do something extra with my life. I’m also incredibly passionate about music and issues/injustices that people face on a daily basis – I’d love to be able to make a positive change around some of them

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I go to Access to Music college 3 days a week, where I study Music Performance. Through this I formed a band and therefore spend a fair amount of my time writing new material and refining our repertoire in order to be ready for eventually getting out there and performing. I also work at the Bristol O2 Academy and I’m pretty much always listening to music! Apart from that I love to be around other people and chat about almost everything. I love the outdoors, so as soon as there’s some sun I have no doubt I’ll be out playing football whenever I get the chance.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m most looking forward to seeing how all our creativity is going to eventually merge together and watching us grow as a collective. I’m also excited to see what kind of impact we’re going to have on other people.

Favourite song? As an ever-changing being who needs different music at different times, this comes as a difficult question as my favourite song is always dependent on my headspace. Having said that, if I had to just pick one out for now I suppose it’d be Gojira – The Axe, because it’s a song that just gives me something that I don’t think any other song is capable of, and fills me with such willpower and determination. Whenever I’m not so confident, I can usually depend on this song to give me a well needed lift as well as the belief of self-worth, and that my actions can have an incredible impact on others.

Favourite Music Genre? Metal.

An artist which inspires me is Gojira. They’re without a doubt my all time favourite band for so many reasons – I could go on forever! To summarize, they’ve made me who I am today. I try to be compassionate and open minded in every situation because of what they’ve taught me, and they have made me feel more than I thought ever possible through the power of music. The music alone is so powerful and incredibly innovative, but the ethos and meaning behind it has given me such passion to want to do something with my life and not waste a single moment. I aspire to be the best I can because of these guys, and although an outsider may just see them as another “angry” metal band they can’t understand, they’ve given me such determination to spread love and understanding in times of such disparity and despair. They’ve taught me life is not as it always seems and that “all illness can be healed”. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Gojira, Gojira and Gojira. I first saw them in 2012, and that was my first ever “proper” gig. When they played L’Enfant Sauvage it’s like it awoke something in me that I had no idea was there, and it was an incredibly profound experience. This is what made them my favourite band. Now almost 5 years later and I’ve finally seen them again – twice within a week! Both venues were sold out which was amazing to see, as they’ve finally gained the exposure they’ve always deserved. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd so vivid and enthused – the guitarist even said at the Bristol gig he felt it was one of the best in his so far 21 year career.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? Personally, I try to live in the moment as much as I can. It’s good to have goals and aspirations, but ultimately I know that nothing will ever turn out quite as expected. All I can say is that, by the end of this, I will have learnt a lot and will be wiser and very proud of what I’ve achieved. I hope to have met many inspiring people along the way and make some lifelong friends as well.I truly believe this programme will give me a different perspective on life.

Meet the XLR Collective: Mille

Name: Millie Grant

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocalist

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? The chance to make a positive change, go abroad, and meet more likeminded people.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I’m a full time student with Access to music so I’m usually studying. I also regularly go out and about in Bristol to enjoy the music scene.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? Getting our project off the ground, I’m really excited to see what it develops into.

Favourite song? DOPE LEMON- Honey Bones.

Favourite Music Genre? I don’t have one in particular but my favorites at the moment are Indie folk, psychedelic rock, dub reggae and drum and bass.

An artist which inspires me is Elena Tonra from the band ‘Daughter’ inspires my music, and has helped me to create some of my own pieces. This is because of her lyricism. The subject matter is quite dark and truthful, and the metaphors she uses are haunting. The honesty of her writing is admirable and made me also want to be the sort of artist that can be related to.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) I always enjoy the festival circuit, for me playing at Shambala was awesome. This was largely due to the people that you get in an audience at a festival, they’re all cheering you on and are all determined to have a good time. The energy from the audience always makes it easier to deliver a good performance and an enjoyable one.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself with the skills, knowledge and confidence to go forward and actively pursue being a teacher.

Meet the XLR Collective: Molly

Name:  Molly Perryman

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: (eg. Vocalist, Violin & Producer, Events) Drums, Guitar, Bass.

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective?  A friend who attended the course the previous year recommended to me as he couldn’t speak more highly of it.  He told me how he can now speak in public without a worry because he gained confidence and I thought I’d love to be able to do that too!

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators?  Writing music with my alt-rock band Rum & Ghost. Also composing my own electronic/rock songs and writing music video ideas.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? Getting to play more music and also maybe organising an event.

Favourite song? All Star by Smash Mouth

Favourite Music Genre? Rock

An artist which inspires me is M83 because Anthony Gonzalez of M83 , in my opinion, is absolutely one of the best composers because of his ability to write amazing songs that are used as soundtracks and trailer music. I don’t think he intentionally writes for productions but the music is so moving and emotional, it seems a lot of companies want a piece of M83. I would love to make music that can enhance a message and bring out emotion in people, just like M83.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) I once performed a song I wrote at Colston Hall for my school’s Christmas concert. It was amazing as I had my friends supporting me by performing my music whilst 100+ school children sang my chorus lyrics to over 500 people in the audience.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I hope to be a more confident, well rounded individual at the end of the programme. I would like to be in a position where I know I can face any challenges or adventures that come my way.

Meet the XLR Collective: Maya

Name: Maya-Blue Gamble

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Live Events, Festivals

What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I applied to Change Creators because I wanted to feel more confident as a leader. Its rare that you see long term opportunities, I’d never seen a program so dedicated to individual development. My brain is literally overflowing with ideas and I’m excited to learn how to effectively transform my creative thinking into a reality, and make important social change at the same time! In the words of Kool & The Gang ‘We need peace, we need unity, we need peace, for you and for me.’

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? At the moment I’m at Motion on the weekends and work with my pops in the week. I produce music events and go to as many gigs as I can. Large proportions of my days are spent listening to music. I’m from the kind of house where theres some kind of sound system in every room including the shed. So when I’m home tunes are blazing. I love to cook vibrant food and baking is my favourite solution to boredom. I have truly inspiring friends so I spend a lot of time with them. To be honest I’m just a bit of a thinker, I love to come up with ideas about events, festival Info structure, products, projects all sorts. This time of year I’m eagerly waiting for the festival season to kick off. When its does ill be in my element again.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? Learning, meeting new people hearing their stories. Plotting the ins and outs of our Campaigns. Building relationships with likeminded people. Not that I’m in a rush for the program to end. But I can’t wait to look back and see what we’ve accomplished, I want to feel like we’ve change at least one persons thinking around the realities of gender equality.

Favourite song? No comment, Hardest question to ask a music enthusiast!

Favourite Music Genre? I’ve got time for so many genres of music, My favourite could depend on what kind of mood I’m in.. The weather… Who am I playing music too? Generally I listen to Music of Black origin e.g. Grime, Dancehall, Afro-beat, Soul, HipHop, Jazz, and Funk. But I also love House, Techno and Dance music in general. My family have also brought me up listening to global beats, so I love those international sounds. An artist which inspires me is Eyrka Badou Because She’d unapologetically true to herself in everything she does, her music, her attitude, her activism.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Glastonbury Festival is a massive part of my existence. I’m part of a generation of festival babies. I’ve never missed a year and hope for that not to change. I love getting back in that field with the crew who are like a massive weird extended family to me, and making it all happen. Both me and my sister now work at Glastonbury within the Silver Hayes Area as assistant programmers. We focus on and bring in underrepresented genres and breaking the freshest of talent. Glastonbury/Silver Hayes has truly shaped my values and who I am today.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself fired up for more social change, I think as soon as were done ill be thinking about the next thing I can do to make a difference in my community. I’ll feel comfortable calling myself an activist! I will have some sound new friends which is exciting. I will be stronger facilitator and leader.

Meet the XLR Collective: Jerome

Name: Jerome Barrs-James

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: DJ Producer

 What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective?  I heard about it through college and the concept behind it appealed to me of using music as a medium to discuss certain issues.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? Normally studying at dBs or messing around at home on Ableton.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to finding out about how change can occur with regards to the issues being discussed and what both we can do collectively and how I can help individually with achieving this. I’ve never been to Spain before so that’s pretty exciting!

Favourite song? It changes pretty often but at the moment it’s The Flute Tune by Hidden Agenda

Favourite Music Genre? I listen to a lot of electronic music which boils down to things like Jungle/Drum & Bass, Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Techno and I like to explore other genres outside of this such as Dub, Funk, Jazz & Soul so that I can find something good for sampling in a track. An artist whom inspires me is Break Because his work rate as a producer is baffling and his style is one that is all his own.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Last year I went to Boomtown Fair and the Banghai Palace stage was particularly astonishing, as it must have been at least 50 feet tall and had fire shooting out of it from about 15 different places!

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? Hopefully with a more developed understanding of the issues that Bristol and other places face and in a better informed position with regards to how to challenge it.

Meet the XLR Collective: Courtney

 Name: Courtney Bicker

Campaign: Gender Equality

Areas of specialism: Vocals & Events Management

 What made you apply to Change Creators: The XLR Collective? I really wanted to meet some new people that are as passionate about music as I am and I was really interested in making a change through music and feeling like I’ve made a difference.

What are you up to when you’re not campaign developing with Change Creators? I am currently a music performance student at dBs music and I am the vocalist in my indie band ‘Hey Saturn’ and I am hopefully going to study events management at BIMM.

What aspect of Change Creators are you most looking forward to?  I’m most looking forward to seeing what it is we create by the end of the programme and the impact that it has as well as meeting lots of interesting people.

Favourite song? Genesis by Grimes

Favourite Music Genre? A little bit of everything but mostly Indie and Grunge

An artist which inspires me is Grimes because she has faced sexism in the music industry as she was not taken seriously as a producer and she wants to change how the music industry treats women.

Best live performance/event (either attended or performed at / and why?) Reading Festival 2012  was my first festival and I got to see several of my favourite bands such as Paramore, You Me At Six and The Cure, it was also amazing seeing how connected everyone in the crowd was and the energy everyone had.

Where do you see yourself / want to see yourself at the end of the programme? I see myself as a more confident, openminded and informed person through being part of the collective. I would also like to keep in contact with the people I have met on the programme and maybe work with them again on future projects.

Change Creators: The XLR Collective – Communications Planning

On 20th March the XLR Collective focused on communications planning and how they might start to tell the story of their project. It was their final session before they jet to Barcelona to meet activists, campaigners and musicians working on the international stage. 

During the session the group worked with KWMC’s Communications Officer Rachel to practice ‘elevator pitches’: short introductions to the Change Creators programme and the issue they’re passionate about tackling. 

Some of the key questions included:

What are the key points we want to convey?
Do we use any ambiguous words or concepts that might need more explanation?
How can we keep things short avoid the temptation to ramble on?!
How can we make sure our conversations and dialogues are meaningful – not people talking at each other?

The group recently decided that they want to explore the issue of gender inequality; as part of their leadership training they will meet professionals working on gender equality initiatives in Barcelona before creating their own music in response to the experience.

The pitches will come in especially handy when the Collective visit an English-speaking radio show – follow the group on social media next week to see how they get on and look out for the Barcelona update coming next month!
@change_creators @xlrfest

We Can Make: Artist Reflections Part Two

Artist in residence Charlotte Biszewski is working on the We Can Make…Homes project, exploring how communities could play a leading role in developing new housing for their communities.

Charlotte’s Blog: Part Two – “On becoming a resident, communal living and further developments in cyanotype”

I can’t believe I have been working in Knowle West over a month now, I actually feel a little bit at home already. I managed to find accommodation at the Lee Abbey house, a Christian missionary community in the heart of Filwood. I have to admit, being brought up a casual atheist all my life, with little experience of spirituality and god, I was a bit unsure of how I would find it. Would the household judge me? Convert me? Annoy me? I’m afraid to let you all down, as I don’t live in a sitcom or a bad horror film, the group were pleasant, warm and welcoming and we all got on like a house on fire.

[The house] was once an ex-convent, inhabited by a community of nuns in its previous life. The house is a beautiful, winding, redbrick maze of creaking cisterns, deckled 70’s wallpaper and soft green carpet. It is home to three different family groups, consisting of five adults and twi children. It was amazing to see how this group integrates together and shares living spaces. Staying in communal living has broken down many assumptions about shared spaces.

I was able to interview the group and discover why they chose to live communally, how sharing space works economically and socially. What boundaries exist in communal living[…]? My favourite question, and one which demonstrates human nature and our interactions, was which room is your favourite room to share with others and which is your least favourite?

It was obviously the Kitchen as the favourite shared space. People love sharing food and cooking. It is a source of heat, a place to talk, catch up, and talk about the day.  And what was the least favourite? The Bathroom.

The Lee Abbey house is part of a wider Christian community and you can find out more they do in Knowle West here.

Building the Cyanotypomatic

The second stage of development [of] my work in taking the cyanotype process further was to make it bigger, by encouraging neighbours to make a large cyanotype piece. Now this was a bit of a thorny experience. What appeared to be a straightforward, simple yet effective concept, as is ever the case, took two weeks of long labour and unforeseen circumstances.

The basic concept is two light-proof boxes which house a long reel of cyanotype wallpaper. This is fed through two slits in each boxed and rolled around a wooden dowel. Inside the trailer is a UV lamp which exposes the wallpaper as it passes between the boxes (imagine how an old film camera looked from inside, when you fed the spool of film from one reel to another).

I had been using a bike trailer previously for portable printmaking workshops – the trailer itself was essentially a big black box on wheels, so perfect for a mobile exposure unit. I won’t go into the details of labour and process of the whole endeavour, but it is now in the existence and ready to take on the real world.

Saturday 4th March – We Can Make…Homes event

Thanks to our wonderful English weather the week leading up to the event appeared to be a little hit or miss, (torrential). But we were fortunate on the morning and the morning could actually be described as sunny. Knowle West Media Centre took over the corner of St Whytes Road for a day, exploring what community-led housing could mean for Knowle West and just how citizens could take part in this. It was a chance to spend time together discussing different ways citizen-led housing could take place. The team arrived early and put the giant gazebo up at a rapid pace, which was to house the PhysiCAD group. A fantastic team who are working with a Lego-inspired interface for virtual and rapid prototyping, they wanted to explore what St Whytes could look like with further developments and look at any potential issues such as parking with the residents. We also had representatives from Wikihouse, the MA Architecture lot [from the University of the West of England] and of course tea and cakes, as provided by the local community centre and the baking group!

I arrived at 11am with my bike trailer, ready to knock on people’s doors and demand they bring out some object for printing with. The event went smoothly – admittedly I only managed to make my way around a few houses – but I had the greatest response, with people coming out to talk and bringing some of their most prized possessions. My favourite was a Betty Boop statue and an Alien ornament.

Then we all had a natter as one of the neighbours was getting ready for their wedding anniversary. We all gathered round to look at the cake she just had made for it. It felt lovely for a minute – standing in the sunshine surrounded by community spirit. And then, as in true Bristol fashion, we all ducked for cover from the torrential down-pour.


Change Creators: The XLR Collective – Music is Power

This week the Change Creators: XLR Collective’s session was entitled #musicispower.

The session was all about the power that music has to influence, inform and spark change on a personal, national and international level. This session was less about the classic activism songs like Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come” or Edwin Star “War” and more based around independent artists who are striving to make a difference within their local communities.

The session began with a series of music videos covering a wide range of topics from Benin City (Club closures), Soundsci (Black Lives Matter), The “Fracking Song” – “My Water Is On Fire”, and also a poignant song from London based MC, promoter and youth worker Shay D entitled “Set Her Free” addressing domestic abuse (below):

The XLR Collective discussed songs and musical experiences that had created a long lasting impression on them. They introduced each other to new music, discussed the impact of the songs and events and reflected on how music has the power to change moods, attitudes and communities. A key question arose from the discussions:

“how can we use this information to create better music events in the future?”

Further exploring the topic with music and events that had an adverse impact, and looking into the reasons why they were ineffective, the session ended with some core values to instil when creating events, and some core aims as a collective in order to create a long lasting impact through their event(s) later in the year.

Keep in touch with the XLR Collective:
@change_creators @xlrfest


Change Creators: The XLR Collective – Inspire Week

Over the next seven months the new cohort of Change Creators – The XLR Collective will be making waves in the city, tackling social issues using musical and creative solutions. You will meet individually through their online profiles over the course of the programme. The Inspire Week, which ran from 20th – 22nd February 2017, gave the group the chance to travel around the city and meet some amazing local and national organisations, getting them ready for the journey ahead and fuelling their fire for social change.

We talked about Bristol-wide policies with Elected Mayor Marvin Rees and Councillor Asher Craig, discussed mental health with charities including Off The Record, and Integrate UK opened the group’s eyes to FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). The group also explored a wide range of other topics and organisations.



Monday was all about the months ahead, focusing on what leadership is, different leadership styles and each member of The Collective’s personal journey, informed by talks from the XLR Collective Project Manager James Kennaby and the KWMC Youth Programme Manager Mena Fombo. After a full-on day the group had a debrief to get ready for the next day. After getting to know each other on day one, the feedback was exactly what we had hoped for:

“[I’m] inspired and grateful to be around people who are doing things that I aspire to do.”


Tuesday, we were out and about in Bristol, kicking things off with an inspirational talk from Julz at Ujima Radio. Originally from Knowle West, Julz gave a unique perspective on the area and shared his understanding of some of the challenges faced by people in the local area. He talked about his background, and explained ways that the group can make a difference to their local area by just getting involved and “not being scared to shake things up”. 

That was followed by a tour / meet and greet with the DJs, presenters and volunteers at the radio station. It was great for the group to meet some inspiring people who are championing talent in their local community and striving to make a positive difference.

From there the Collective headed to Desk Lodge for a Social Issues ‘speed dating’ session. The group met:

– Off The Record
– Barnardo’s Care Leavers Team
– Integrate UK
– Daniel Edmund from Milk for Tea

Each person focused on specific social issues facing people in Bristol and explained what they are doing within the city to combat them. Daniel from Milk For Tea concluded the day and shared the story of how Milk For Tea create open conversation around male suicide and provide support, alongside creating networks through local events in London, Bristol and more.

“There’s no one way to be a man, anytime people don’t understand you they will try to attack you.”
Daniel Edmund


Some feedback from the Collective from Day 2:

“I’ve always been a bit cynical about charities but it’s nice to see people who are genuine and have drive. It’s made me hopeful and it’s refreshing.”

“I feel re-connected with a lot of things happening in Bristol – and more informed.”


On Wednesday we began our day at Bristol City Hall with some seriously inspiring talks from Elected Mayor Marvin Rees, Councillor Asher Craig and Phil Castang from Bristol Plays Music. Asher started the day, explaining how the council works and her journey to becoming the councillor for Saint George. Marvin Rees, with his background and passion for music, was excited to talk to the group about their ideas and offered some examples of how musicians have the power to change so much within their local communities.

Phil Castang, or as the group ended up calling him “The Castang!”, began by explaining the role of Colston Hall and Bristol Plays Music within the local music scene and their education work. He gave the group some poignant and honest advice about striving to create what you want, no matter the challenges that you face.

Asher then guided the Collective around the building, showing them the Elected Mayor’s office, board rooms, the Cash Hall and many other intriguing spaces. The group marvelled at the fusion of old and new elements in the building.

The afternoon was spent back at Knowle West Media Centre, reflecting on the three days, discussing the issues the group feel passionately about and making some songs exploring social issues in a creative way. This reminded the group how their creative skills can be utlilised in a wide variety of ways. The songs were hard-hitting, honest and diverse.

“I feel empowered and capable following these few days. I feel able to do the right thing. We’ve met people who are doing the right thing and that’s great.”

The XLR Collective are now formed, informed and ready to develop their ideas. This is set to be an amazing seven months. Watch this space!

Follow Change Creators: The XLR Collective on Twitter at @change_creators

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