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Archive for the ‘Environmental’ Category

A food project that’s close to home

Yasmin Thomas has just finished as a Junior Digital Producer at Knowle West Media Centre. Here she looks back at her time working on Who Decides What’s in My Fridge

“I have lived in Knowle West since the age of four, but I didn’t know that my first role in the media and arts sector would flourish here. I was one of eight Junior Digital Producers (JDP) recently working at Knowle West Media Centre on the Who Decides What’s in my Fridge? project. Being a JDP was a paid position for six months up until the end of April 2016. Our role was to collect data from the community to explore the barriers that communities face accessing food locally.

“From October 2015 we received a series of intense training sessions to provide us with the skills we would need to work on the project, including workshops on understanding key themes of data ethics and data visualisations. We also developed our multi-media skills such as photography, filming and coding.

“Our first step in terms of data collection was to research the priorities of local residents when they shop. We put together a simple activity using mason jars labelled as ‘cost’, ‘nutrition’, ‘taste’ and ‘appearance’ for participants to choose from. We worked hard to make the data collection process fun and also ensured that community participants had a say in guiding the project.

“Over time we progressed our data collection methods into building an interactive survey in the form of a life-size fridge filled with models of food and questions. This successfully aroused curiosity in the community to get involved in the project  The Fridge was taken on “tour” around Knowle West to collect the data. We went to many of the different clubs and community groups to try and reach a full cross-section of the community. You can see a video that one of my fellow Junior Digital Producers made about the ‘Fridge Tour’ here.

“After we had collected the survey data we analysed the results and visualised them as part of a new website that we created for people to explore what we have found.

“We launched the website and displayed the data collected from the Fridge by holding a pop-up interactive exhibition in an unused shop. It used to be a fruit and veg shop on Filwood Broadway but it closed down in recent years, along with many of the other nearby shops. We promoted the exhibition by inviting other community organisations and local growers to take part, organising an ‘Eat and Greet Food Marketfor a day. We had a successful turn-out and had an additional 40 participants take part in the Fridge survey on the day.

“What I have learnt is that community participation is successful when part of the project’s aim is to improve quality of living, whatever that might be. Knowle West is in the process of a regeneration plan, but the 20 year long wait is vastly aggravating the locals, which I found out during my experience of community engagement. The community has campaigned for a supermarket in Knowle West for more than 20 years, and are fed up of community consultations and viability studies that ultimately come to nothing.  

“With that in mind we started to look at alternatives to supermarkets that could improve food accessibility, for example a local food market. We don’t have a supermarket but we do have lots of nearby green space for growers and events!

“The experience of this project has developed my understanding of the community that I live in and how the locals do their utmost to keep it alive, whether through clubs or classes. While my time as a Junior Digital Producer has now come to an end, after living in Knowle West for 22 years I’m now playing the role as an activist for this project. It is a project that’s close to home  – literally! – and I’m going to stay involved.”

To find out more about the work that the Junior Digital Producers did on the project take a look at the website they built, with a live survey and interactive data visualisations at www.KWfood.org

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Highly Commended at Go Green Awards

Knowle West Media Centre was Highly Commended in the Most Improved Travel and Transport Category at the Go Green 2016 Awards this February.

Geographically, we know that KWMC can be a difficult location for some to get to – up a steep hill and south of the city centre. As an organisation we have been trying hard to reduce the number of single-person car journeys and the number of cars in our car park.

Our Green Actions have included getting an electric bike for staff to travel to local meetings, starting a car share scheme and taking part in Big Commuting Challenge where we came third in our category. We’ve also had a team cycle day which encouraged three members of staff who had not cycled for years to get back on a bike.

Staff have embraced alternative methods of transport – with numbers cycling and using public transport increasing and we hope to encourage visitors to our site to take up the challenge too!

We picked up our laser-cut award at The Bristol Hotel on 18th February.  The awards were manufactured in our making space KWMC: The Factory – our technicians did a good job at keeping it a secret from the wider team and we’re all delighted with the award!

See the full list of award winners on the Go Green blog.

Forgotten Toys workshops in Knowle West

After a few weeks of rounding up toys, games and stories on our ‘toy trike’ and experimenting with our discoveries in The Factory, we invited the public to get hands on with the Forgotten Toys Compendium and have a go at creating new games and characters.

On Saturday 12th September KWMC and Ludic Rooms brought the Forgotten Toys to Knowle West Fest at Filwood Broadway for an afternoon of experimentation. Local residents of all ages joined in the remixing of old toys to create new characters and games. Together we dismantled toys to discover how they worked, rebuilt them in new forms and experimented with their new functions. We took advantage of the last of the summer sun to begin to create new outdoor games through reimagining the toys for a new purpose.

On Wednesday 16th September we hosted a Circuit-Bending workshop with Ludic Rooms for the young people from Creative Hub. The aim of this workshop was to demystify battery powered toys by opening them up and taking a peek at how they looked inside the plastic. Often whenever toys with electronic functions stop working they are relegated to the back of cupboards and attics, or even the bin. Once we saw how the circuits were made we were able to learn how to fix them. We were even able to rewire them for an entirely new function, giving an old redundant toy a fun and exciting new lease of life.

Keep up to date with the project as it unfolds on the Forgotten Toys blog.

 

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The Factory hosts a Big Toy Hack

On Friday 4th September, along with Ludic Rooms, we hosted an open day of experimentation, research and development at The Factory in Filwood Green Business Park. A number of curious experts of Play came along to the session, where we mixed up circuit-bending, street games, craft and digital fabrication.

The day began with a discussion of the aims and the ideas behind the Forgotten Toys Compendium before launching into a character creation exercise. Dolls and action figures were taken apart, jumbled up and glued back together again; kinetic functions were investigated and repurposed; elaborate stories were created around the construction of these new characters. After lunch, we then embarked on the collective construction of a water feature using old plastic toys, wheels from toy cars and water balloons.

Our next Toy Hack will take place Saturday 12th September. From 10am we will be at KWMC as part of Bristol Open Doors Day, then from 1pm we will be at Filwood Broadway for Knowle West Festival. Bring out your old toys and help to create new games!

Follow the project as it unfolds on the Forgotten Toys blog.

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‘Green’ pledges are right on the button

This summer young people from South Bristol joined with KWMC to kick-start a new programme of sustainable activity.

On Wednesday 12 August Knowle West Media Centre unveiled 15 ‘green’ pledges to mark our continued commitment to reducing our environmental impact – and a group of young people did the same.

The Do 15 in 15 campaign was launched by Bristol 2015 in April this year, to encourage people across the city to pledge their support for Bristol’s year as Green Capital and commit to do something to help make Bristol a healthier, happier city for everyone.

On 12 August staff and young people involved in our summer activities pushed the Bristol 2015 ‘pledge button’ and formally launched their pledges.

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KWMC is based in an award-winning sustainable building and throughout our 19-year history we have helped people use digital technologies in ‘smart’ ways so they can reduce their environmental impact. Recent work has included monitoring electricity use and training local people to ‘upcycle’ office furniture.

Our Director Carolyn Hassan explains: “Some of our Do15 pledges focus on expanding our existing work – such as using innovative digital monitors to measure heat, noise and air quality and ensure that we have a healthy working environment for staff and visitors. Others will maximise the potential of our building, such as relying more on rainwater collection and cultivating the outdoor space to include a beehive and more fruit and veg plots.”

Other actions are new, such as the pledge to reduce single-car journeys by purchasing an electric bike for use by staff, and implementing a car share scheme.

Young people aged 9-18 devided their own Do15 pledges at KWMC and they released three pledges each day during their summer programme, which ran from 10-14 August and coincided with the button push event. The group imagined what Bristol could look like in 15 years if all of the Do15 pledges are achieved – and the challenges and opportunities that could result in a new set of environmental promises in 2030…

For more information about Do15 visit the pledge website. Read our pledges here.

 

Pop-Up Furniture Factory moves to Filwood Green Business Park

The Eagle House Pop Up Furniture Factory has now moved to the newly-opened Filwood Green Business Park – after making hundreds of pieces of furniture for the building.

The Business Park was officially opened by Bristol Mayor George Ferguson to enthusiastic crowds last week – and will provide a new home for environmental businesses across the city. Mr Ferguson said the new building – designed help the economic regeneration of South Bristol – was s “a triumph for the local area and a triumph for local people.”

The Pop Up Furniture Factory has been providing employment and skills training in the area for the past six months and is run by KWMC and local social enterprise re:work.

Our Business Manager Justin Ricks said: “It was great to see the success of the Eagle House Pop Up Furniture Factory, which meant that we delivered the furniture for the opening of the Green Business Park. We produced 500 pieces over the six month period for the Park. We have now moved into Unit 25 and are taking new orders for furniture.”

For more information about the Pop Up Furniture Factory or to place an order for bespoke furniture contact Justin Ricks on 0117 903 0444 or email justin.ricks@kwmc.org.uk

For more information about Filwood Green Business Park visit filwoodgreen.co.uk

Fiona Dowling of The Laser House with visitor Reegan Bevan (10) displaying keyrings made at the Pop-up Furniture Factory.

Photo by Grace Previte

Photo by Grace Previte

The Urban Forager – what foraging means to me

Watershed Executive Chef Oliver Pratt talks passionately to Knowle West Media Centre about foraging & cooking with wild ingredients. Oliver hosted Wild Thing, the Food Connections Festival event at Knowle West media Centre.

“Although I didn’t know it back then I have been a forager all my life. It all started as a kid, walking in the woods, exploring, asking questions and looking at the vast array of plant life around me. Only being allowed to pick the things my parents said were safe to eat I was learning that food originated from the wild. As I got older so the outdoors became a challenge, often seeing how long we could live out in the woods and whether it was possible to survive off the land alone. The answer to that question was quite simply: No. With our limited knowledge and skills it was in fact exceptionally hard if not possible at all.

25 years on and I have a more holistic approach, picking up facts and information along the way from a range of sources has led me to one conclusion. Foraging is a primeval instinct deeply rooted in all of us, it has gone hand in hand with our evolutionary progression and mental development where we survived as a species by being able to identify and catalog the subtle differences in plants; their shape, texture, taste and smell and that by using and developing all of our senses to define what was edible and what was not. These days there is no need to forage for survival, food is farmed, packaged and even delivered to our door and the ancient art of being a hunter-gatherer is slowly being lost.

Or is it?

I now live in the city but wherever I go I find myself identifying a whole range of plants all fit for eating. Bay trees, rosemary, thyme, wild parsley, valerian, lavender, wild cabbage, mustard, horseradish, rosehip, hawthorn and elder to mention but a few and I realise that although the landscape has changed my ancient instincts have not: I am a modern day hunter-gather; I am an urban forager.

When asked what is it I enjoy about foraging then my answer comes from observing other people whilst on a wild camping trip to the Wye valley. Their fun and joy at immersing themselves in nature, the excitement as they discover a bounty of food that is edible; identifying it, picking it and taking it back to the camp to cook. It goes right back to our basic self, our basic being where we were connected to the land for survival and by doing that, by tapping into all our senses and using them it feels good.

If foraging helps us stay connected to the land, appreciate it more and as a result help preserve it then that is a great thing. ”

 

 

Foraging Chef Oliver Pratt

 

Spring event explores ‘wild food’ heritage

What is ‘wild food’?  Could you find your own?

As part of the Bristol Food Connections festival, Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) held a unique event on Saturday 10th May that investigated, explored and celebrated wild food. We partnered with Source Food Hall & CaféWatershed Café Bar, and local wild food experts to share the know-how of people who have foraged, caught and raised food on the Knowle West estate for generations. The event, titled ‘Wild Thing’, included:

– Preparing and cooking demonstrations – Saturday Kitchen style – using locally sourced ingredients, with local experts in conversation with food professionals

– A panel discussion exploring the legality, ethics and health benefits of sourcing wild food including plants and fungi, rabbits, pigeons and fish

– Tasting and local produce market with a chance to network

– A wild foraging walk with experts

– An exhibition of KWMC’s extensive work on food in the community

– Playful instant feedback mechanisms and real-time documentation

Following a collaboration with Pieminister we offered an exclusive ‘rabbit hop’ pie, created just for the event. Source and Watershed also served dishes inspired by Knowle West’s wild food heritage during the festival. Experimental foodies, chefs, and people who were new to the idea of catching and foraging wild food attended the event. The event was, we hope, a thought provoking and delicious experience for all!

For more information visit the event page or contact Penny.

What we’re dreaming of in 2015

Bristol Maker Lab is one of the big ideas dreamed up in our Do What You Love programme – we hope it will be a place for everyone to make their own products and become entrepreneurs. Bristol Maker Lab will have the very latest equipment, like 3D printers and laser cutters, with experts on hand to show people how to use them. It will be open to the public so that people can start designing and making things to sell. There’ll be a programme of classes about how to make great things using the equipment – anything from jewellery to robots to spare parts for washing machines. We’ve made a lovely brochure explaining how it will all work, which you can download here: Bristol Maker Lab For more details contact Hazel or Justin.

 

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Andy’s story

“Before ELM (the Edible Landscapes Movement) and the polytunnel I was on the dole, sat at home, vegetating, bored silly. Now I work with volunteers and encourage them into organic gardening. The app we use is really useful to share knowledge about what we do and to shows other people how to grow things from seed to final produce. I take photos of my bees, my chickens and even the new cockerel I got!”

(Andy Moseley, Edible Landscapes Movement producer at Andy’s Little Haven)

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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