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Archive for the ‘Health & Wellbeing’ Category

Free creative resource for families to reduce household waste

To coincide with Global Recycling Day, KWMC The Factory has released a free, family-friendly magazine filled with stories and advice for reducing household waste – and getting creative while you do it.

The magazine includes a range of tutorials, activities and puzzles inspired by The Factory’s recent project ReThink ReMake ReCycle, where residents of South Bristol came together to explore the scale and environmental impact of common household waste materials such as paper and plastics.

Working with The Factory team and designer Lisa Cole, 48 people across 22 households took part in a series of online workshops to look more closely at the kind of materials they threw away, and how they could design and make sustainable alternatives.

The sessions focused on three themes:

ReThink: think carefully about how we can reduce or repurpose our waste

ReMake: make DIY alternatives that are reusable or use more sustainable materials

ReCycle: recycle our waste, turning it into useful materials and objects


Read or download the magazine

You can read the zine or download a copy to your computer here: ReThink ReMake ReCycle Zine

Don’t worry if you don’t have a printer: the magazine has been saved as an interactive document so you can download a copy, click on the framed boxes and type your notes directly into the document.

You can find out more about the ReThink ReMake ReCycle project here or contact of you have any questions or would like to talk to us about our work in sustainable manufacturing.

Global Recycling Day

KWMC The Factory published the magazine to coincide with Global Recycling Day on Thursday 18 March – an annual event created in 2018 by The Global Recycling Foundation to ‘help recognise, and celebrate, the importance recycling plays in preserving our precious primary resources and securing the future of our planet.’

The theme of Global Recycling Day 2021 is #RecyclingHeroes, which will recognise ‘the people, places and activities that showcase what an important role recycling plays in contributing to an environmentally stable planet and a greener future which will benefit all.’


ReThink ReMake ReCycle was part of the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D Inclusion Programme and ParCos, an EU funded project exploring how we communicate and understand science stories.

Bristol +Bath Creative R+D logo.    ParCos and EU logo

Share your stories of being ‘Active in Lockdown’

Did you become more physically active during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020?

Are you making an effort to stay active in the 2021 lockdown?

If so, we’d love to hear from you!

Active in Lockdown is a new project by the University of Bristol and Knowle West Media Centre that will explore our experiences of staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic, preserving them for people to look back on in the future.

We’re keen to hear and record your stories of cycling, running, walking or any form of human-powered mobility during lockdown! We’d love to hear a variety of stories and experiences from people who became more active during the first period of lockdown as well as people who are now trying to remain active in the dark winter months of the pandemic.

What’s the project about?

The project aims to document the huge surge in active leisure in Bristol and the surrounding area during England’s first lockdown (March – July 2020).

It will also record the stories of five Bristol residents who have discovered or returned to active leisure as they try to maintain their activity levels over the winter (January-March 2021).

To read more about the wider project, visit the University of Bristol website here.

Why are we doing this? 

We want to create a freely available digital archive of stories and experiences so that we can learn some immediate lessons from them and also have a historical record of how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed people’s lives and relationship to the world around them.

Your stories would also be used to evaluate the physical and emotional benefits of active leisure and the difficulties of maintaining levels of activity when lockdown ended. This would then help us create a series of policy recommendations for Bristol City Council, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), regional public health organisations, and other bodies interested in improving quality of life in the area.

What will I get out of it? 

As well as being part of a historical record of people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll be able to meet other people, develop your digital storytelling skills and document your lockdown activity through a series of interactive online film-making workshops.

We’ll support you to use your mobile phone and free (‘open source’) editing software to make your films, which will be shown in an online celebration screening at the end of the project! These workshops will take place from February 2021 – through to April 2021. 

Do you have questions?  Want to get involved? Contact Josephine Gyasi at KWMC via

Illustration of house with trees and buildings with people undertaking phsyical activity inside and outside of the house - walking, jogging, cycling and doing yoga

Project Night explores: Finding Joy in The Dark

KWMC Creative Producer Josephine Gyasi reflects on the final Project Night of 2020

On Thursday 3 December, Knowle West Media Centre invited special guest Tanisha Barrett and the wider Bristol community to gather online for a final Project Night of 2020.

Having entered another lockdown and coming into darker, winter months – it felt like a time to take stock, slow down and reflect. As we are spending the vast majority of our days now online, consuming an overload of content, and working and connecting in the digital realm, as well as looking back on the happenings and events in the past year, it felt important to really look at how we can use these digital spaces for care.

How can we connect in ways that are gentler, giving less pressure but receiving more support?

After programming and experiencing the workshops of Black Girl Convention’s Virtual 2020 series, where Tanisha Barrett ran a session on ‘Creating Space for Joy,’ I felt fulfilled, nurtured and safe – unlike many previous online experiences.

Taking all of this into account, the KWMC team thought it was necessary to use this space to explore what we can do to ‘find joy in the dark.’

We explored the questions:

What practices can allow us to feel more nourished; and evolve within ourselves and others?

What is joy?

What kills or steals joy?

How do we make time and space for joy?

What are the barriers in seeking joy?

Guest Speaker

Tanisha Barrett is a mental health nurse and clinical supervisor. She delivers therapy, runs a private practice and also teaches on diversity and difference. Tanisha is also a published poet and writes about mental health, sexuality, race and body acceptance.

Check out Tanisha’s Website: and Instagram: @blacksugarising

The session started with short introductions asking everyone to describe how they were feeling using a sound or motion. This was followed by a mindfulness meditation activity, where Tanisha invited everyone to close their eyes, and guided us through a short breathing exercise. This really set the tone allowing space to reflect (in smaller breakout groups) and delve into the discussion topics around lockdown and isolation, and various aspects of joy.

Key reflections shared by the group:
Joy is…

Joy is like a place of safety and refuge.

Carefree, relaxed, untouchable in the moment.

What steals joy…

Not being heard; feeling you are the only one experiencing something – really helpful to share feelings and feel less alone.

Less sun, less movement.

What brings joy…

Feeling of connection.

Music – takes me to another place – headphones to be totally submerged, immersion.

The bath – soap and incense.

For me, joy is being given a chance, to have space to explore, change. It’s being trusted and being able to trust.


Joy is laughing hard, sharing and feeling completely at ease with the company of someone or taking in the wonder and beauty of a natural living thing…

Dissolving your edges; pure warmth and light.

For me it is often whimsical and unexpected.

Feeling carefree and relaxed and content – a real sense, untouchable.

Joy is in my body, warm and in my chest, it’s solid.

Joy to me is being in moments of flow where the heart can flutter and worries subside.  The ability to be happy and grateful and hopeful and energised.



The session concluded with everyone showcasing an object that brings them joy – from loving partners to new headphones – finishing with a short poem about Joy by Tanisha Barrett.

Listen back here:


Tanisha Barrett has kindly created and shared these slides as a resource for you to find your ‘joy in the dark.’ 

Joy In The Darkness slides

Community stories offer new understanding of “physical activity”

The government recently published new guidelines about how much physical activity we should do and the types that most benefit our health. But are they understandable? Are they useful? How do we incorporate physical activity into our lives?

In 2019 KWMC worked with groups across Bristol to explore the guidelines and how they could be communicated more effectively, and support people to tell their own stories about physical activity.

The project, How Do You Move?, was a collaboration between communities in Bristol, KWMC, and researchers at the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West). It included workshops with different groups in Bristol to explore how they interpreted the guidelines and how they’d like them to be communicated: many people were keen to hear recommendations from ‘people like them’.

This has inspired four new films where residents tell their own stories of physical activity and how it can be incorporated into everyday life:

– Abiir lives in Easton and has four young daughters. She spent her childhood in Germany, and is now a keen advocate for increasing cycling in the Somali community.

– Ben is a community activist in Bedminster. He’s retired and spends a lot of his time working with local people to improve the neighbourhood, particularly to make it more pleasant and accessible for walking.

– Lesley works full-time managing a large university department, as well as juggling family life. She came to running later in life and is now an active part of the running community in Staple Hill.

– Vince lives in Bedminster and has strong links to Knowle West and Hengrove where he grew up. Despite health issues, he’s used the support available in South Bristol to help maintain both his mental and physical wellbeing.

The films were launched on 22 January at a celebration event at KWMC to mark the conclusion to the research and you can watch them online here.

Zoe Banks Gross, Engagement Manager at Knowle West Media Centre, said: “At KWMC we use digital storytelling to elevate voices from the community and inspire people to make change. It’s great to launch these films after working with local people to develop this project.

“We used the Bristol Approach, KWMC’s co-design methodology, to develop the workshops and it also informed the film-making process. It was refreshing to bring artists and members of the community into the creation of the workshops, which is unusual in academic research. Funding from the Brigstow Institute, University of Bristol allowed this project to get off the ground.”

To find out more contact Zoe or call 0117 903 0444.

Seeing Barton Hill through a new lens

In 2018 the team at Knowle West Media Centre worked with a long-established volunteer-led walking group at Wellspring Healthy Living Centre in Barton Hill to co-design a photography project, inspired by one of our previous projects in Knowle West.

The course was designed to not only increase people’s digital skills and confidence using technology, but to value their local knowledge and provide space for peer learning.

Photos taken by Wellspring walking group

The project team ran five sessions; each week had a different theme, decided by the group, and a walk route across the area that was tailored to fit the theme. KWMC provided DLSR digital cameras to use during the sessions and gave one-to-one support to help the group use them. We also encouraged people to bring cameras if they had them to improve their confidence using them.

The most popular theme was ‘Local History’, which we ran over two sessions because we couldn’t fit everything into one! A local history group provided a number of archive images and we also used the online tool Know Your Place to compare older maps and other resources with what we can see today.

Photos taken by Wellspring walking group

Whilst on the walks, we used the archived images to directly compare how different places looked then and now. This encouraged the group to share their memories of Barton Hill and local historical knowledge about the area.

The project allowed us to cover so much more than photography: it connected new people to both KWMC and Wellspring, created a space for people to share knowledge about their community and other activities that are on offer there, and provided a supportive space for people to learn more about technology and address other personal challenges.

The sessions were delivered as part of the Our Digital City project – please get in touch with Jess or call 0117 903 0444 if you would like to run something similar in your area.


Physical Activity project secures funding

In 2019 KWMC will be collaborating with community groups in Bristol to develop a range of communications tools to encourage physical activity and improve health and wellbeing.

The National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West (NIHR CLAHRC West) has just secured £7,500 from the University of Bristol’s Brigstow Institute to work with KWMC and community groups in the city to understand how best to communicate the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) new guidelines on physical activity.

The Government will publish the new physical activity guidelines in 2019, which will recommend how much physical activity people should do and what types of physical activity most benefit health.

This new project aims to make the physical activity guidelines more meaningful and useful for members of the public. It will include:

– working with community groups in Knowle West to understand what physical activity means to them, and their views on how best to communicate physical activity messages.

– collaborating with residents to develop a stories about how they are physically active, which will then be turned into short films.

– creating a toolkit for communications and healthcare professionals that provides advice and guidance on how to tailor physical activity messages to different groups – developed with the groups themselves.

The project will follow the steps of The Bristol Approach – a way of working that ensures projects are designed and implemented in response to community needs and priorities. The Approach was developed by KWMC, Bristol City Council and Ideas for Change, and has already been used in pilot projects exploring damp homes and poor air quality.

Dr James Nobles, who is leading the project, said:

“We are delighted to have achieved this award from the Brigstow Institute. It means that the full potential of this project can be realised, and that we can work closely with our community partner, Knowle West Media Centre, on this innovative project.

“We know that there are endless benefits of physical activity, both for individuals and society, and so it’s essential that any attempt to encourage people to be physically active is communicated in the most effective way. This project will help to ensure just that.”

For more details visit the CLAHRC West website. Watch this space!

If you’re interested in our work in health and wellbeing please contact Zoe on 0117 903 0444.

Co-Creation with WECIL

Here at KWMC we pride ourselves on the co-creation of work with others. Whether it’s organisations, community activists or the individual, we use digital media and technology to empower people to make positive change.

Over the last year, the Our Digital City team have been working across the city to build new partnerships with various organisations. One of these organisations is WECIL (West of England Centre for Inclusive Living), a local disability advice and information service run by and for people with disabilities. After a visit to Knowle West Media Centre, WECIL contacted us to discuss an idea formed by one of their peer support members, Nathan.

One of Nathan’s designs.

As a former designer, Nathan is highly skilled in digital 3D art and design. His vision was to create an informal and creative workshop for people with disabilities to come and use laptops, digital drawing pads and easy to use, open source software to create 3D and digital art. People would be given the freedom to experiment and create with the kind of software traditionally only afforded to industry level game designers, artists and graphic designers.

After some productive meetings and with Nathan’s advice on software and hardware, the Our Digital City team took several laptops and digital drawing kits to the Creative Challenge sessions run by WECIL.

Every participant got the chance to try out the kit and the software and enjoyed the new and interactive way of creating art.

Below are some examples of the creative work by some the WECIL participants.


This is another one of our ongoing workshops that, we hope, will build confidence in using technology and inspire a new and creative approach for people who might not otherwise have access to digital creative processes. But at the heart of this project is co-creation. Nathan had a great idea and we were keen to help make it happen.

Virtual Reality with Bristol Community Links South (Knowle West)

Building new and strengthening existing relationships within communities is one of the key aspects of what we do under the Our Digital City banner.

Bristol Community Links South (located here in Knowle West) is one of the local services with whom we have spent time getting to know better over recent months. Many of their service users are elderly, living with dementia, learning difficulties or visual and physical impairments.

Working alongside the management staff at Bristol Community Links the team came up with the idea to try and offer the service users something that would introduce them to new technologies and experiences for which disabilities hold no barriers… Virtual Reality.

Using the HTC Vive VR Headset, we took several VR experiences down to the centre and ran a taster session. The service users had never tried VR before, so this was completely new to them all.

Doreen visits Indonesia thanks to Virtual Reality

This is Doreen (left). She is a wheelchair user whose condition prevents her from air travel. We loaded up a travel experience that took Doreen all the way to Indonesia. There, she experienced running across white sands, heading out on a speed boat and diving into the clear blue sea and swimming in the reef with exotic sea life.

“I’ve never been on an aeroplane in my life and I’ve always wanted to fly, to see places around the world. This experience was unbelievable. I felt like I was actually there, swimming in the sea with those beautiful fish… Thank you for giving me this experience. It was wonderful...
Keep up the good work you are all doing.”

The VR technology showcases how technology can be used to tackle the potential mental health issues that can be caused by long term limited mobility. At a time when the pace of technology is ever changing, it also serves well to break down the barriers of digital isolation that many elderly people face today.


With Virtual Reality, we can give the service users of Bristol Community Links South an opportunity to try something new and experience an adventure they might not otherwise get to live.

Exploring masculinity and mental health

In February 2018 the Jump Studios team had the opportunity to speak to year 11 students at Ralph Allen school in Bath, UK. Their aim was to open a discussion around men’s mental health and perceptions of masculinity. The team are in the process of planning a new programme called ‘The Male Room’ which will explore these topics further, so engaging with young people to discuss their views about masculinity – what it means, what it entails – was a useful and powerful experience.

The team started the session by explaining what has led them to working in their fields of interest and at KWMC. Communications Coordinator Daniel commented: “I find it interesting how sharing your story can create a powerful environment of transparency that lends itself to others learning not just about the person speaking but from themselves as well.”

Then the students were split into two groups: those who identified as male or felt more comfortable in a male space, and those who identified as female or felt more comfortable in a female space.  Working with the male group, Daniel led an activity-game of ‘Agree or Disagree’ where he read out a range of statements about masculinity and what it means to be male and invited the students to move to different spaces in the room depending on their responses.

Daniel said: “This proved to be an impactful exercise. It enabled the young people – and me – to open up about the repressive ideals that our culture can hold men to and the effect on all of us living in that space. One standout moment for me was when I read the statement ‘Society thinks being gay makes you less masculine’ and every person in the room moved to the side of the room to show that they agreed.”

As the Jump Studios team continues to develop The Male Room project, they are keen to find out more about the challenges and pressures that young men experience.  If you’d like to find out more please contact Daniel or Mena on 0117 903 0444.

Made in Knowle West

On a sunny May afternoon a group of adults and children made their way from Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) to the nearby Springfield Allotments. We were taking part in a Bristol Food Connections workshop to forage for local ingredients and learn how to turn these into summer drinks.

The gathering grew throughout the afternoon until there were more than 30 adults and children. Many joined us from nearby Knowle West Children’s Centre.

During the short walk to the allotments we started foraging, stopping to collect blossom from a cherry tree growing near the road.  Local residents in the group discussed how they use these public park areas – from grazing horses to watching the hot air balloons to collecting blackberries.  The area we walked through is known as ‘the Bommie’, apparently because of the bombs that were dropped in the war.

On arrival at the allotments, run by Knowle West Health Association, we were met by Steve Griffiths who gave us a tour, including poly-tunnels, beehives and a chicken coop. As the children looked for eggs and stroked the chickens, the rest of us turned our attention to Susanna Wallis from Company Drinks.

Company Drinks is an organisation based in Barking and Dagenham that aims to remember some of the old East End traditions including the hop picking season – six weeks a year when women and children would move out of the city to go picking on farms in the countryside. The organisation also wants to address issues around children losing the ability to name plants and flowers and engage people in a rural activity within an urban setting. Susanna was keen to connect with the work that we have been doing on the Who decides what’s in my fridge? project.

Susanna pointed out plants and fruits that we could use to turn into summery drinks. We split into three teams to collect rhubarb, a pretty pink flower called flowering currant, and dandelions. When our baskets were full we regrouped in the cool retreat of the allotment roundhouse to learn how to make the cordials.


We picked off the petals of the dandelions, flowering currant flowers and the cherry blossom, which would later be steeped in a hot sugar syrup to make the cordials. Susanna mentioned a variety of other cordials that they make and work well: Japanese knotweed, cola, blackcurrant and apple, fizzy crab apple and manor house pear. Susanna had brought some tasters for us to try – and the cooling cordials helped refresh us after our ramble to the allotments and foraging.

As we plucked the petals and chopped the rhubarb we chatted and shared experiences of using the green spaces of Knowle West and the beautiful nearby countryside. The area has a proud history of foraging and residents shared how people came to the park to catch rabbits, as well as sharing tips about which herbs and plants are good for eating and using as remedies. We now know that pink clover flowers are supposed to ease period pain!

We didn’t have time to the finish the drinks then so we took everything back to KWMC to finish overnight. Participants were invited to stay for an evening event of food, discussions and tasting drinks.

This event was one of three Cook ‘n Converse events held in May as part of the Bristol Food Connections festival. Knowle West Media Centre would like to thank all partner organisations involved in the event that made it such a success – Company Drinks, Food Connections, Knowle West Children’s Centre and Springfield Allotments.

Contact Us

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

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