In November 2020 the MADE in South Bristol programme kicked off with its first series of workshops: ‘Exploring Creative Enterprise’. MADE is a creative programme at KWMC The Factory that has been designed to support residents and small businesses in South Bristol to explore the potential of digital manufacturing and enterprise.
Liz, who has lived in Bristol for 12 years and is a member of KWMC The Factory, was one of the participants who signed up to the scheme. Liz, who works in education, doesn’t describe herself as a full-time artist but enjoys making work that creates imaginative, whimsical, and playful ways for people to engage with science in her joint enterprise ‘Wisterlitz’.
Liz explains how her hobby has recently become more dominant in her life, particularly as she has become more involved with KWMC and digital making.
“I was introduced to the MADE programme after taking part in Positive Negative Positive [a 2D design course] which was also run by The Factory.
“I am the sort of person who says yes to things because you don’t know what is going to happen once you’ve said yes… it’s even better if it turns out great and you can get something good out of it.”
Liz took part in the Exploring Creative Enterprise strand of MADE, which offers an introduction to product design and running a business, and has been designed for people, like Liz, who have a creative interest or hobby and are interested in exploring its potential as a business or selling what they make.
Liz explains: “At the beginning of MADE, I was keen to find different ways of earning a living with a sense of meaning, thinking particularly about how to live sustainably. Originally, I had an idea that I could start up a shop that would sell sustainable art materials, and then I realised that I wasn’t a shop keeper in that way.
“When I was participating in MADE, I was also in the process of selling and buying a house, [It] made me realise there is a lot of ‘stuff’ in the world. I was having to throw away things that I couldn’t re-home or had reached the end of their life.”
Combining her interests in digital making and sustainability Liz was able to refine her ideas through the MADE programme.
“My idea is to do with sustainable art materials, thinking about how to support people with sustainable making, how to make conscious decisions with their materials, and what they do with their waste.
“Essentially every one of us needs to look at how we approach materials, how we treat raw materials, and how we treat waste to get some sort of sustainable culture going on. I think art and making is an area where there is a lot of awareness going on but not a huge number of things are available for people to make really easy choices.”
During the MADE sessions Liz was able to think about what was important to her: “I was able to re-evaluate what is important to me in a shareable space. I also enjoyed giving myself time to reflect and think about my ideas.
“Originally, my three core values were creativity, curiosity, and learning. These three things are important to me and have driven my whole professional life. But then I thought about my idea and realised that my overarching values are sustainability, democracy, and respect.
“From our group evaluation, respect was the main value… it is all about respect! Respect for the environment, respect for people, and respect for materials.”
Following her experience on the MADE programme, Liz is continuing to explore her idea. She says:
“Initially I was concerned that what I had created wasn’t a business or if it was it wasn’t something, I would like to run myself. But being able to come up with ways to deal with waste materials such as acrylics is developmental, experimental, and programmatic.
“The next steps for me are to have conversations with people at The Factory and other similar places whose resources are required for me to develop my idea, to discuss the impact, the commercial potential of the idea, and to continue researching.”
When asked if she would recommend MADE to a friend? Liz replied: “definitely!”
MADE in South Bristol is free to take part in and is open to people ages 18+ in South Bristol who:
- Don’t (currently) run a business and want to explore entrepreneurship
- Have an existing creative business, or are a sole trader or freelancers looking for advice and guidance to grow.
The programme provides 12 hours of support through workshops, mentoring and coaching.
There are two programmes available, each tailored to support people at different stages of their enterprise journey.
Exploring Creative Enterprise (Pre-start): For beginners and those ready to kick-start a business and explore creative enterprise. This strand is especially designed for individuals who are currently not running a business but interested in starting one. The course provides a guided introduction to the design processes, streamlined approach to business basics, space to explore and prototype your ideas. Next course starts February 2021.
Business Support (Existing businesses): For creative businesses, sole traders and freelancers currently trading looking for support to grow their business and ideas. Includes a mix of one-to-one business diagnostics, individual coaching and workshops. Begins March 2021.
MADE in South Bristol is delivered by KWMC The Factory as part of South Bristol Enterprise Support (SBES), which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and West of England Combined Authority Investment Fund. SBES is delivered in partnership by Bristol City Council, YTKO, School for Social Entrepreneurs, The Prince’s Trust and KWMC The Factory.