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Sennheiser UK repurposes audio equipment for KWMC

Earlier this year, Sennheiser UK were seeking a suitable home for some repurposed audio equipment – and they found Knowle West Media Centre!

The Sennheiser team kindly provided us with 15 pairs of HD 25 headphones, which had been assembled by Sennheiser UK staff as part of a team training session and were in need of a permanent home.

Tim Constable, Channel Sales Manager for Sennheiser UK, explains: “Bristol has a great reputation for creative energy and passion, and KWMC has had a positive and inclusive effect in a part of the city that is often ignored and forgotten about. After seeing the work that KWMC has done over the last 20 years to create equal opportunities in their local community, I wanted to help where I could.

“An opportunity came along at Sennheiser UK to repurpose some HD 25 headphones and the fit was perfect!”


The headphones have already been put to good use as part of our exhibition 100 Years of Knowle West Style. Each section of the exhibition includes an audio station where visitors can listen to two audio tracks: the first is an audio guide that will read the exhibition text to you, while the second is an audio description for visitors with visual impairments.

Founded in 1945, Sennheiser is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of headphones, loudspeakers, microphones and wireless transmission systems, with the aim of ‘shaping the future of audio and creating unique sound experiences for customers.’

If you have a business and would like to find out more about supporting KWMC please visit the Support page.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport visits Knowle West

On 24 September we welcomed Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan MP, to KWMC during her visit to Bristol.

She met the teams behind our Jump Studios young people’s programme, We Can Make housing initiative, and the recent Making It and From Her Digital training courses, which supported women to develop vital skills to help them progress in the digital industries.

Both Making It and From Her Digital were funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport: part of the West of England Combined Authority project WIDJET (Women into Digital Jobs, Education and Training).

During the visit, KWMC Director Carolyn Hassan emphasised the importance of working with our WIDJET partners, such as Boomsatsuma, to start to address issues around a lack of diversity in the creative and digital industry workforce across the region, and the need for this work to be sustained and invested in going forward.

Our team shared how KWMC and KWMC: The Factory support people of all ages to develop the skills, confidence and networks to succeed and develop personally – and be a positive force for change in their community.

We also discussed the impact and importance of taking a creative approach to tackling issues identified by communities, and our programmes supporting individuals and groups who have experienced barriers to accessing the opportunities that Bristol has to offer, from education and enterprise opportunities to full participation in culture and community.

If you’re interested in finding out more about KWMC, please contact us to book a tour or call 0117 903 0444. You can read more about the impact of our work here.

Discounts in 24hr Flash Sale

The 24-hour Culture Flash Sale is back for autumn 2019: for one day only, discounted tickets and offers are available at a host of venues across Bristol and Bath!

Over 30 organisations are taking part across the two cities, offering discounted tickets and offers on a range of shows, events, exhibitions, workshops, gigs, talks and plays.

The sale begins at 10am on Thursday 5 September 2019 and runs until 10am on Friday 6 September 2019. Offers are limited – when they’re gone, they’re gone!

Read on for details of discounts on our discounts, as well as offers from other organisations involved in the Culture Flash Sale.

10% off: Make your own…Laser-cut Jewellery

Design your own jewellery and stand out from the crowd! Learn how to design and make laser-cut pieces in wood and acrylic at this weekend workshop at KWMC: The Factory. Beginners welcome! Ages 16+

Deal: 10% off the usual price of £55. Visit our online shop during the Flash Sale and use the code laserjewelleryflash19
Date: Saturday 14 September, 10am – 2pm
Venue: KWMC: The Factory, Filwood Green Business Park

10% off: Make your own…Christmas Laser-cut Jewellery

From snowflakes and sleighbells to stockings and Santa Claus: learn how to design and make Christmas-themed pieces of laser-cut jewellery at this weekend workshop at KWMC: The Factory. Beginners welcome! Ages 16+

Deal: 10% off the usual price of £55. Visit our online shop during the Flash Sale and use the code laserjewelleryflash19
Date: Saturday 7 December, 10am – 2pm
Venue: KWMC: The Factory, Filwood Green Business Park

Limited-edition ticket / art postcard offer: the We Can Make Chat Show – Live

What would happen if communities had the power to build the homes they want and need?Join UK pioneers for a live Chat Show exploring the future of community-led housing. Book your ticket during the Flash Sale and receive a pack of limited-edition postcards produced with No Bindings, featuring poetry and artwork created by Bristol artists in response to the We Can Make project and its approach to putting local needs and know-how at the heart of development.

Deal: Book online during the Flash Sale and selected the Flash Sale ticket offer.
Date: Monday 14 October, 5.30 – 8pm
Venue: Filwood Community Centre


Other Bristol deals
15 – 25%: discounts at Tobacco Factory Theatres

Our South Bristol neighbours are offering discounts on a range of productions and events, including Opera Project’s The Barber of Seville, Snow White, Noisy Nativity, Much Ado About Nothing, and Once Upon A Time.

Deal: discounts from 15 – 25%
Date: multiple dates between September and December

20%: Planetarium shows at We The Curious

Fellow explorers in the world of innovation, We The Curious are offering a range of discounts on their Planetarium shows. Planetarium Nights is a special presenter-led, extended show for adults, while Planetarium Sounds: In the Steps of Apollo 3D celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, combining specially commissioned works by composers from Sound World with 3D visuals.

Deal: 20% off
Date: dates in September and October

Keen to know more? Search #CultureFlashSale on social media and read the full list of Flash Sale offers on the Visit Bristol blog.

About the Flash Sale

The Culture Flash Sale is co-ordinated by the Bristol Arts Marketing Network in co-operation with Bristol and Bath Cultural Destinations Project, Visit Bristol and Visit Bath. This is the 11th edition of the sale, which aims to stimulate interest and sales in cultural events across the region.

Hide the Shark donate photography equipment to KWMC

We’re delighted to have received a generous donation of photographic equipment from the Bristol-based branding and design agency Hide the Shark.

The studio photography kit, worth more than £4k, includes a range of flash bulbs, stands, lighting umbrellas, reflectors, and back-drops. Hide the Shark have also provided a telescopic boom arm which will enable photographers to position lights directly above their models.

Based in the heart of Bristol, Hide the Shark specialises in strategic brand development that gives companies ‘the killer edge’. Its team of brand engineers, digital designers and creatives are passionate about ‘building powerful brands and creating cutting edge campaigns for people to identify with, trust and love’.

Toby Farrow, owner of Hide the Shark, said: “During a recent equipment update we decided to donate, rather than sell, some of our excess studio kit.  When looking around for suitable candidates, Knowle West Media Centre ticked all of our boxes.  It’s innovative, welcoming to all, forward thinking and acts both as a social hub and also as a potential commercial gateway to other forward-thinking Bristol companies for the people of Knowle West and beyond.

“Now more than ever places like KWMC need our support.  It gives me great pleasure to think that this kit is going to be of use in helping to train up the next generation of Bristol photographers and that it will also be used to help document some of the incredibly creative work that is coming out of KWMC’s manufacturing space The Factory.”

Photography has a special place in KWMC’s history: the roots of our organisation can be traced back to a project run by our founder and director Carolyn Hassan in 1996, where Knowle West residents learned photographic techniques and renovated the local darkroom.

1st November 2002: Photography training with one of our first trainees

Hide the Shark’s donation will expand both the amount and the variety of photographic equipment available at KWMC – and will allow more people to use studio kit at any one time.

In the coming months we hope to offer more training sessions in studio photography, and make the equipment available to the makers and creatives who use the manufacturing facilities at our making space KWMC: The Factory, so they can take professional-quality photographs of their products.

If you have a business and would like to find out more about supporting KWMC please visit the Support page. You can also donate online via the link below.

‘It’s like we’ve been through wizard school’

– so said one of the makers on our Making It course, when asked about her experience.

On Thursday 26 July – the hottest day of 2019 so far – we held a special event at KWMC: The Factory to celebrate and showcase the work of the 11 makers who have been part of Making It since May 2019.

Over 50 people visited The Factory to meet the makers and discover how they’ve applied digital manufacturing technologies to a range of fields – from model making and construction to fashion and furniture.

Their work includes delicate laser-cut chocolate boxes, a chest of drawers made from nearly 150 pieces of wood, and an interactive book that incorporates lights, sensors and Augmented Reality.

Making It is part of Women into Digital Jobs, Education and Training (WIDJET) – a West of England Combined Authority project, funded by the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.


Meet the Makers

Hannah created an interactive learning clock with a nautical theme: children can pull out the octopus’ arms as and learn how to tell the time.

“I was confident with computers at the start, but I’ve learnt so much more. I now have a good grounding to do more projects and I’ve worked out I can do self- led learning. I’ve spent a lot of time suppressing my creativity. But I learnt to explore my ideas and giving myself permission to do that.”


Ingrid explored how to use laser-cutting and CNC cutting for printmaking purposes. She took rubbings from the bed of the Factory’s CNC router to create a range of abstract designs.

“I have learnt that I’m actually more comfortable with the software than I thought I’d be. Seeing that I could laser-cut textiles, engrave on fabric and make the stamps opened up new avenues. I can now use the software as a tool to aid my work without losing the handmade edge.”


Steph drew on her experience of making installations for festivals and events to produce a large moving sculpture: visitors could watch a caterpillar eat its way through the apple as it rotates.

“It surprised me how accessible the software was to use – it was a simple introduction into something I can do at home. As a self-employed artist, this will open doors for future work.”



Charlotte used Sketchup software to design a camper-van conversion for a VW van, including a flatpack, flexible bed and storage system.

“I wanted to do the course to try and advance where I am professionally – I needed digital technologies to keep up in my industry. I am now already using what I’ve learnt in my freelance work – I can now take on work that I wasn’t able to before.”


Emily also used Sketchup and has created a large hexagonal light-box for designers and makers to use in their studios. It includes colour-changing lights and has an integrated cutting mat.

“This is what I’ve always wanted, but this course has made it more possible. I can now look at something and have a good understanding of how it was made.”


Alfie designed a chest of drawers using 2D design software – putting together 142 individual pieces of wood and hand-painting the drawers to create a truly unique piece.

“I didn’t realise I could accomplish something so big with such a small amount of experience. In a perfect world I would become a freelance illustrator/designer. In September, I’m going back to college to start my journey towards this.”



Nikki made a laptop-inspired chair using 2D and 3D design software and a range of techniques including vinyl cutting, heat pressing and CNC cutting.

“I wasn’t sure this was for me but I persevered and I’m glad I have. I’ve learnt that a lot of ideas I have I could actually put into practice. My biggest achievement has been regaining my confidence.”


Becky developed an interactive story book inspired by Norse mythology, which combines traditional craft skills and new technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR).

“I always thought things like Arduino would take years to learn and this was out of my reach. I’ve had these doors opened now and seen how everyone else is also still learning. Everyone on the course has been so encouraging and facilitating to make the project a reality.” 


Kathryn crafted a collection of custom gift boxes for her homemade natural chocolate business. She utilised a technique called a ‘living hinge’ to make circular 3D boxes using the laser-cutter and 2D design software.

“I want to carry on making designs and using these techniques for my products – both for the packaging and for stalls. I’m one step closer to making my business a reality and opened it up to a whole new market as well.”



Bella drew on a range of inspirations including Bristol graffiti, kitsch postcards and vintage fabrics to create a range of clothing and accessories that combine digital fabrication techniques with traditional fashion design.

“My biggest achievement has been translating paper designs into physical products using digital design and the kit here. I’ve learned to keep going with what I’m doing and be more confident about my work and what I can achieve.”


Anika designed an interactive puzzle and engraved fabric piece inspired by Ilish/Hilsa – the national fish of Bangladesh. Her project explores conservation and the effects of climate change in Bangladesh.

“I like to make things people can interact with – I like people to share an experience. I now know how to use 2D design software and how to utilise things like SketchUp for 3D design, which requires a different mindset to what I’m used to.”


Making It

Making It is part of the Women into Digital Jobs, Education and Training (WIDJET) project, which is led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and aims to support women to find jobs in digital roles and address the under-representation of women in the digital sector.

The Making It group came to The Factory from all corners of Bristol: from Withywood, Ashton and Knowle West to Hanham, Easton and beyond. Over three months, the group learned a range of skills including how to use digital design software, follow a design process, and use digital manufacturing technologies and machinery such as laser cutters, digital embroidery machines and 3D printers.

These structured training sessions were followed by open access days where they put their new skills into practice as they designed and implemented a creative project of their choice.

The group also had the opportunity to take part in specialist workshops providing introductions to disciplines including Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, coding and puppetry.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles visited The Factory in June 2019 and returned to see what the group had produced at the showcase event.

He said: “It was great to see how our WIDJET project is supporting everyone on this course to improve their skills and improve their career prospects. One of my ambitions as Regional Mayor is to improve job opportunities for our residents. I’m also working hard to ensure that businesses in the West of England have a pool of talent to recruit from, particularly in key areas such as digital and tech.”

What’s next?

The Making It group will be able to access regular open access sessions at The Factory from September 2019. It’s been a privilege to join this group on their journeys and we can’t wait to see what they make next…

In September 2019 we’ll also be launching a new Membership Scheme for KWMC: The Factory. Beginning at just £5 a month, benefits will include access to our digital fabrication equipment, wood workshop and prototyping lab, and a programme of members’ events.

You can fill in this online form to be kept up to date with Membership at The Factory or call 0117 403 2306 to find out more about how you can join our rapidly expanding creative community.

Photography by Ibolya Feher.

Film training programme puts volunteers in the spotlight

In early 2019 the Our Digital City team were approached by Hartcliffe & Withywood Community Partnership (HWCP) and asked to help teach a group of local residents and community leaders how to shoot, edit and produce their own short film, showcasing the excellent volunteer work being done by local residents  and groups within their community.

Today’s consumer technology can empower almost anyone who can think creatively. You can use smartphones and tablets to write a bestselling book, record a number one song, capture a profound moment through photography, and even tell a story through film. They say that the best camera is the one you have with you…

The group decided that shooting the film with smartphones would be a great idea: as many people own smartphones, the group wouldn’t need to rely on high-end and expensive equipment, thus creating a sustainable model for future film projects. The Our Digital City team shared their skills and knowledge with the group, supporting them with the initial storyboarding, advising how to achieve their desired shots most effectively, and helping with filming techniques and editing processes.


From there, the group went out into their community and interviewed a range of volunteers and groups: by implementing the techniques they had learned with the Our Digital City team, the group felt confident enough to organise the shoots and film everything themselves.

When all of the footage had been filmed and collected, it was time to put the final piece together, so the ODC team taught some members of the group how to use Apple’s iMovie editing software in order to produce a finished film.

In order to make a film that was truly accessible for all viewers, Sam from the HWCP group (left) added subtitles to the whole film.

The project was a great success and the group finished with a completed film that showcased the great work that is being done by individuals and groups within the communities of Hartcliffe and Withywood.

Participant Sam Parker said:

“I really enjoyed the sessions with KWMC. I really enjoyed the editing of the films –  really simple and easy to understand but now I look like I really know what I’m doing!”

This project also demonstrates that by utilising the technology we carry in our pockets in a creative way, we can be empowered as a community to shine a light on those who work hard to make a difference in their area and enable them to tell their own stories.

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.

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.

KWMC one of England’s most “innovative and disruptive companies”

In May 2018 Creative England announced their annual list of “the most exciting, innovative and disruptive creative companies and individuals across the country” – a list that includes Knowle West Media Centre!

In their announcement Creative England highlighted a “move towards technology and creativity merging to create meaningful solutions to real-world problems” with many of the companies shortlisted “championing diversity, and giving a platform to unheard voices.”

They praised our team for “exceptional work within the local community” and concluded that KWMC is “working on a community level to drive real change”.

We’re thrilled to be included in the CE2018 list and want to take this opportunity to thank our fantastic team of staff and volunteers for their dedication, our partners and funders for their ongoing support, and the communities, artists and makers we work with for their enthusiasm for trying new things and working together.

We’re excited to be expanding our programme this year and want to enable more people to access new manufacturing technologies, set up their own enterprises, develop new skills, and address the issues that are important to them and their communities.

If you’re interested in getting involved with KWMC or working with us then we’d love to hear from you: drop in Monday to Friday, contact us on or 0117 903 0444, or have a chat with us on social media @knowlewestmedia.

You can read the full CE2018 list here.

Roger’s Journey: tackling technology in just 12 weeks

It is easy to feel left out when trying to understand the rapidly changing technology around us. Especially when you don’t have access to a computer or someone in your life to support your learning. Gaining digital skills, can help people feel more connected to what’s happening in their community and more confident both at work and doing everyday tasks.

Since 2011 our team of staff and dedicated volunteers have run an informal weekly drop-in class which has welcomed people of all ages from Knowle West and across Bristol to learn more about computers, the internet and technology.

A regular attendee of the class is Roger, who bought his first smartphone at the age of 75. He was referred to us by the charity LinkAge as he was hoping to meet more people. Roger has now been attending the weekly drop in for over three months and has grown in confidence in using technology in his everyday life.

Here’s how he tackled technology in just 12 weeks:

Week 1

Roger’s first session. We started with a chat about what he wanted to learn. He brought his new smartphone and we worked together to show him the basics (charging, unlocking, answering calls).

Week 2

We continued to support Roger to get comfortable with the phone, moving onto messaging, adding contacts and understanding the operating software of the device.

Week 3

Roger downloaded his first app. He then found apps for news, sport and billing for his phone provider. That afternoon he joined us at our Celebrating Age event and tried a virtual reality headset in our technology taster session. We introduced him to south Bristol social groups including a local history group and retired men’s woodworking group.


Week 4

One month in, Roger started to learn more about browsing the web and being safe online. We supported him to resolve an issue by contacting a company via their help pages online.

Week 5

We introduced Roger to Learn My Way, a free website which provides online courses in using computers and navigating the internet. We also continued to help him get the most out of his smartphone and he started to watch sport on an app when out and about.

Week 6

This was Roger’s second week progressing through the Learn My Way online courses. He also continued to browse the web with our support.

Week 7

Roger received a letter prompting him to renew his driving licence online and we helped him through the online process. He brought in photographs of his fishing success stories and we discussed how he could digitally scan them and share them online.

Week 8

We supported Roger to check his pension and savings accounts securely online. Together we also researched social clubs and art classes in his local area.

Week 9

Roger learned how to travel the world on Google Earth. We virtually toured a restaurant he visited in Malta over 20 years ago.

Week 10

We continued progressing through the Learn My Way online courses and Roger shared the news with us that he had joined a running rugby group.

Week 11

This week saw more web browsing and we started learning about online shopping.

Week 12

Roger won a ham at a local raffle so he researched cooking tips and recipes using online video tutorials.

We’re really proud of the progress that Roger has made and we’re looking forward to learning new things with him each week. Our drop-in sessions are free for the first six weeks and then just £3 per session.

We’re always keen to welcome new members and volunteers to the class, so if you’d like to refresh your digital skills or start from scratch get in touch and join us.

Contact Us

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

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