Living Lab

Bristol Living Lab is a community of citizens, artists, technologists, researchers, businesses and public sector organisations who come together to create and test new ideas, tools and technologies to address the challenges we face both locally and globally.

Bristol Living Lab is not a single building but a series of connected activities dispersed across a range of environments, from innovation hubs and public spaces to homes and gardens – innovation happening everywhere, every day, for everyone.

Living Lab activity is supported and coordinated by Knowle West Media Centre, a non-profit organisation with 25 years’ experience of working with communities to understand how digital technologies can be utilised to meet local needs and develop creative models for positive social change.

Bristol Living Lab not only explores the needs of specific people and places, it involves collaborating with communities and Living Labs across the UK and the world, sharing knowledge and resources for the common good.

Current projects we are co-creating as Bristol Living Lab:


KWMC is setting the conditions for developing the pan-European Innovation Action as a Living Lab . This includes the co-design of an adaptable learning environment, which provides tools & methods for engaging citizens in research activities and storytelling to inform local policy making in relation to the Green New Deal.

TwinERGY –

KWMC is working with the project partners on citizen engagement guidelines, a data use license template and citizen learning activities. We are also leading on citizen engagement in the UK pilot in Bristol. 

Collect to Connect –

As part of the IMPETUS Accelerator, KWMC are developing our arts-based, community-led approach on citizen science and data-based storytelling for local change.

WeCanMake –

WeCanMake is a people-led response to the housing crisis. We are a community land trust creating affordable homes using micro-sites in big back gardens and in between buildings. Our neighbourhood test-space shows that through creative community-driven innovation, it is possible to seed change within the current system.

In Practice

Bristol Living Lab activity takes many forms, including:

collaborating with organisations and individuals from different backgrounds to develop new and creative models for achieving positive social change

– supporting organisations to reflect on their current practice to help them build more positive relationships with communities

– bringing together artists and communities through commissions to develop an alternative, arts-led approach to ‘regeneration’ and urban development

Bristol Living Lab is underpinned by the The Bristol Approach, a way of working developed by KWMC with Bristol City Council and Ideas for Change, that puts citizens and communities at the heart of an initiative to ensure that innovation has a positive social impact and meets local need.

Bristol Living Lab is a member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).

Working with you

We’re keen to explore how sharing knowledge and experiences across the city, and beyond, can benefit organisations and the communities they collaborate with.  We regularly work with organisations in Bristol, across the UK and internationally to develop ideas for projects, deliver training and put on events.

We want to ensure that everyone, particularly individuals and groups at risk of social and digital exclusion, are supported to become active citizens with equal access to the city’s opportunities. We regularly act as a ‘broker’ between citizens and organisations, ensuring that each participant in a project is able to contribute their knowledge and experience.


We collaborate with Universities and other research organisations to develop funding bids and form partnerships to deliver collaborative projects with a focus on co-design with communities. We provide consultancy and training in how to engage and work with communities, which can support you to increase your public engagement impact. We also share our citizen-led, co-design approaches through participating in panel discussions and symposiums.

Local Authorities and Business

The Bristol Approach received a Good Practice award from URBACT in 2017, demonstrating that the approach is highly regarded as transferable and beneficial practice for cities looking to engage and empower their citizens and become more resilient through processes of co-design and mass participation.

Bristol City Council were a funder and early advocate of The Bristol Approach and we have collaborated with other local authorities by working together on funding bids, sharing learning at talks and conferences, and collaborating on publications.

We can provide consultation and training for staff in how to: engage and work with communities and apply the principles and phases of The Bristol Approach when uncovering issues, engaging citizens, designing solutions and making sense of data.


We have twenty five years’ experience of working with artists to develop and expand their practice through residencies and commissions to make new work with communities and in community contexts. We often encourage and enable practitioners to work across disciplines and experiment with new art forms, allowing emerging artists to flourish whilst also supporting established artists experienced in socially engaged and digital arts practice.

If you’re interested in finding out more or working with us, we’d love to hear from you!

Project Lead

Carolyn Hassan

The Team

Julia Costa Carneiro

Annali Grimes

Lucas Sweeney
Contact Us

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

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