Archive for February, 2024

Artist Residency: Thriving Neighbourhoods in Knowle West (April-July 2024)

Future High Streets Open Call for Artists:

Knowle West Media Centre are looking to commission an artist from the BIPOC global majority to join a community of change makers, spend time in and with Knowle West and bring your unique practice to co-create artwork in response to Future High Streets.

This residency will focus on activating local High Streets, opening possibilities for imagined, alternative futures.

Application deadline: Weds 20th March, Midnight.

Please apply by completing this short online form:


Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) are a place-based arts and community tech organisation who have been working in Knowle West, Bristol, for 26+ years with artists and the local community. KWMC has two sites in Knowle West, including a maker space (KWMC: The Factory) with a variety of digital fabrication kit and a studio hub with postproduction, music recording and other creative tech facilities. Our mission is to ‘Make a more thriving neighbourhood together, with arts, tech and care’, we do this by working as part of a strong neighbourhood ecology, bringing our practices of co-design to the Knowle West Alliance (a consortium of local organisations). We believe in the transformative potential that arts practices bring to imagining and co-creating preferable futures.

Knowle West is a 100-year-old council-built estate and close-knit neighbourhood, of about 12,000 residents, the area is rich in heritage and culture, but in the top 5% of England’s most deprived areas. In 2023, Filwood Broadway was awarded investment of £14.5 million from the Levelling Up Fund which will be used to transform Filwood Broadway High Street including amending the road layout to create more space for people, revamping Filwood Community Centre, expanding play opportunities for young people, and building new homes. This project runs parallel to the LUF project.

This residency is an invitation to make artwork in and with the community of Knowle West that creates tangible glimpses of possible futures, in response to Future High Streets.

The residency will also tie into DIASPORA! Festival, a city-wide festival in May, run by Diverse Artists Network, with a public facing event (could be a drop in workshop) on Monday 6th May 2024.

Within the residency, you might want to explore questions such as:

  • What could a thriving High Street look and feel like in the future?
  • How might arts-led approaches activate the public realm?
  • How can we bring arts and creativity into the day to day?
  • What can we do to rehearse the futures we want to live in?
  • How can arts practices help make community dreams more tangible?
  • How could creative tech be used for good in this context?
  • What is the relationship between wellbeing and environment in the context of our public realm?

Who is this for?

We are looking for artists / creatives from the global majority who work in socially engaged or participatory ways and want to explore, experiment and make artwork in and with the local community of Knowle West.

We invite you to bring your fresh perspective, skills and knowledge to learn from and work with the local community.

We are looking for artists who have:

  • Practices that engage with areas such as urban intervention, social action, transforming public space.
  • Experience of working in and with communities.
  • Experience of, or interest in, digital technologies and community tech.
  • A collaborative approach to making.

We are particularly excited to work with artists who have an experimental attitude towards community tech or a desire to expand their practice to include technologies (this could include anything from digital fabrication to physical computing).

We will consider proposals from artists / creatives working in any medium where the above applies. For example, you might be a digital, performance, visual, sound, socially engaged or graphic artist, social architect, creative technologist, maker or other creative.

We have an access-budget to support this residency and producers trained in supporting the creation of flexible work plans to meet your needs.


20th March: Application deadline.

28th March: All applicants informed of invite to interview.

2nd / 3rd / 4th April. Interviews and artist appointed.

W/C 15th April. Residency begins.

April. Exploring the neighbourhood. Familiarising yourself with the area. Developing ideas around how you’d like to work in the community – could be with a focused group / drop-in activities / other.

Monday 6th May: Public facing event (content tbc with appointed artist) as part of DIASPORA! Festival.

May, June, early July: Play, test and make with the community.

July: Sharing. Outcomes and learning from the residency will be shared with the local community and other key stakeholders in July 2024 at this year’s Knowle West Fest (date tbc).

Fees and Support

  • Artist fee: £3,500 inclusive of VAT.
  • Additional materials and fabrication budget available, to be agreed by KWMC producers.
  • Additional budget available to fund access needs.

KWMC can offer producer and engagement support, desk space, large format printing, access to digital tech (including 360 cameras, audio recording kit, film cameras, recording studio and more) digital fabrication at the KWMC: Factory maker space (digital fabrication kit includes: 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC machine, digital embroidery and more) and community tech infrastructure (including an R&D network, LoRaWAN, cloud platforms, sensor technologies) as part of the commission.

We support flexible working practices and KWMC producers will support you throughout to work in a way that works best for you.

How to apply: Please apply here:

If you have any access needs that require you to submit in another format, please get in touch so we can help you find a suitable option. All applications will be assessed according to the same criteria and submitting in a different format will not affect your chances of being selected.

If you would like any further information or have any questions, please contact or call 0117 903 0444 / 07561 036175.

Blog: Dreaming of Community Technologies in Knowle West

We kicked off 2024 by dreaming of how community technologies can support a thriving neighbourhood right here in Knowle West… 

KWMC has a long history of working in and with communities to make, hack, develop and re-mix tech for community use. Over the years, KWMC has grown to be many things – a community hub, a digital manufacturing space, and a neighbourhood “living lab”. At the heart of all our work is supporting people to make positive changes in their lives and community by working with the arts, technology, and care to co-design new ways of doing things and explore new futures. 

We’ve been enjoying being part of the growing community of practice around ‘Community Tech’ facilitated by Promising Trouble, as part of the Makers and Maintainers cohort. Through this work we’ve been deep diving into our practices of facilitating community tech action and storytelling. 

In the spirit of open working, and rather than just sharing our public-facing work, we want to show you a behind-the-scenes look into some of the collective future-ing we’ve been doing this year. Below is a sneak-peek into a couple of our recent workshops! 

To kick off our community tech development for 2024, KWMC staff met with BDFI Researcher in Residence Rebecca Coleman and digital artist David Matunda who has begun a ten-month Community Tech Infrastructure Fellowship at KWMC as part of the MyWorld Ideas programme.  

We met in a hybrid format, meaning some of us were in-person while others joined online. We always apply learnings from our Come Together (2021) project to these hybrid setups, and we believe it’s important to create hybrid offerings for improving accessibility and inclusion. 

We began with a playful warm-up task imagining, ‘if community tech were an animal, what would it be?’ This raised lots of interesting insight around the qualities and feelings of community tech, rather than focusing on strict definitions. Here were our responses: 

  • Bevers, because they work together as a team to build things that impact the environment around them. They are also a little strange-looking and unglamorous! 
  • Ants, because they are hard-working and work together, they make changes to the environment, and they’re sometimes visible and sometimes not. 
  • Flock of birds, because they work as a unit, flying across the community, and their flight patterns are algorithmic. 
  • Platypus, because it is a mix of things, specific and bespoke. 
  • Robot dog, because it is a companion, a member of the community. You can teach it tricks, it can carry things between people, and it connects people. 
  • Octopus-unicorn, because it is imaginative and more conceptual, all about ideas. 

We particularly loved these realisations of community tech impacting its environment, being a bespoke mixture of things, and sometimes being invisible. One definition of community tech that Promising Trouble are using is: “any hardware or software that delivers benefit to a community group, and which that community group has the authority to influence and control.” You can read more about community tech here. It is exciting to feel part of a national movement working to co-define what community tech can mean. 

Next, we spent some time independently imagining the future of Knowle West as a community tech place. We visualised this future happening now, considering what it would look and feel like and what people would be doing. Our manifestations can be summarised as: 

  • Space for experimenting and making all over the neighbourhood – our makerspace, The Factory, would be filled everyday with community-members collaborating and making together. We liked the thought of our makerspace as a potters wheel: bringing in problems and challenges, then creating solutions together, embracing failures and adapting as we go. Community tech activity was happening far beyond the KWMC buildings; distributed and inseparable from the community.   
  • Tools and knowledge being open-source and suitable for different access needs – we would continue championing mixing skills and knowledges across all ages and types of people. Based on ‘the commons’, we would continue to work towards a more equitable model to accessing community tech – where people can do what they want with this tech and have support where needed. We imagined people having access to training and resourced for the maintenance of software and hardware. 
  • Continue growing a culture of care and a ‘can do’ attitude –  local people would feel empowered to solve small/large issues, driven by the needs of the community. People would work together around issues that interest them.   

We talked about how not all problems can or should be solved with tech. At KWMC, we often talk about adopting a tech-pull ethos, meaning we facilitate co-creation processes where community pull in technology when it feels appropriate and beneficial, rather than pushing predetermined tech solutions onto situations which may not need/want them. Read more about our approach on the Bristol Approach website. 

For example, in our recent 2023 project ‘Connect to Collect’, we pulled in tech such as audio recorders, DIY nature cameras, bat boxes and WhatsApp groups, to further support our local neighbourhood scientists to capture biodiversity in Knowle West. These were all accessible, optional elements to enhance their research. We also spent time mapping needs and wants before jumping to just using things like nature watch cameras or sensors for the sake of it.   

In our next workshop a couple of weeks later, we looked at the future visions we had co-created above and consolidated them into four future statements: 

  • Space: In the future, KWMC buildings are open and accessible to all. Community tech places will exist across Knowle West as spaces for community experimenting and testing. 
  • Culture: In the future, there is a community-led ‘community tech’ culture, where people have the know-how, craft, skills and inspiration to make and maintain solutions using tech.  
  • Shared knowledge: In the future, there are open access tools and accessible knowledge places (digital and physical) in and beyond Knowle West. 
  • Infrastructure: In the future, there is functioning accessible community digital infrastructure which could include platforms, servers, open-data and sensors. 

We then tried out an exercise called ‘backcasting‘, where you imagine that you are currently in the future, then work backwards to see how you might get there. We did some rapid idea generation, which involved writing down everything we could think of doing as practical actions from the far future to now. Through this, we came up with some inspiring actions! We now want to work with artists to visualise and create tangible glimpses of this future, helping us move towards Knowle West as a thriving community tech place.   

We will be continuing this work into 2024, including: an audit of all our tech and how to use it, sharing more community tech stories, piloting activities for hands-on creative playing, plus trying out/remixing KWMC’s assets and tools. 

We are excited to share more soon! If you’d like to share your thoughts on community tech in Knowle West, we’d love to hear from you – please email: or call 0117 903 0444 and ask for Ella. 

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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