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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

Music and performance live-streamed from Knowle West

This September, KWMC artist in residence Marc Blazel will be running a live music and performance session at Filwood Community Centre. Marc will be joined by local and UK-based artists who will be performing a short experimental set in front of a green screen.

You can watch the live stream on Marc’s Youtube channel between 6 – 8.30pm on Sunday 9 September  2018.

Marc’s residency is part of Living, Working, Making Together, a programme of artist residencies in Knowle West exploring how artists and communities live, work and make together.

Over the last few months, Marc has been investigating Knowle West TV – an early community cable TV project first broadcast on Bristol Channel in the 1970s.  KWMC was given access to 23 hours of Knowle West TV footage in 2014 and hosted a programme of activities in 2015 to share the footage with the community, including daily screenings  and a discussion about the past, present and future of community media.

In 2018, Marc is asking the question: ‘what could Knowle West TV could look like today?’ He is also interested in the cross-over between digital and real-life communities.

Marc has been interviewing people involved with Knowle West TV as well as filming some of the activity that takes place at Filwood Community Centre.  To make his video works, Marc blends layers of video to create a digital collage.

To find out more contact Hannah: e-mail hannah.clark@kwmc.org.uk or call 0117 903 0444.  See more of Marc’s work online here.

Cast your vote for The Factory and help people #makeit in Bristol

We’re delighted that we’ve been shortlisted for the NatWest Skills & Opportunities Fund for the second year running!

Cast your vote for KWMC in the public vote and help more people #MakeItInBristol!

Since receiving funding from the Skills & Opportunities fund last year, we’ve supported over 70 people from South Bristol to develop skills in design and digital manufacturing and we’ve seen two new businesses created. Some of last year’s course participants summarised their experiences:

“We didn’t think we could do this before we started the course.”

“The workshops have given me new skills to put on my CV so in the long run I can get a better job […] As soon as you know how to use that laser cutter there ain’t nothing you can’t make.”

“Really informative and providing me with useful training to apply to my practice.”

This year’s Make It workshops will use a different format to enable us to support more people, in more areas of Bristol. We hope to support 102 people across beginner and intermediate courses: the Beginner courses will cover an introduction to digital manufacturing, practical making skills and using design software, while the Intermediate courses will work with those who are ready to explore enterprise in more detail, including budgeting, costing and creating products, and marketing.

The Make It courses will be delivered both at our digital manufacturing space KWMC: The Factory and in community settings, with a specific focus on neighbourhoods where people need more opportunities to develop skills and explore enterprise. The latest Deprivation in Bristol Report (2015) identifies areas of Bristol where the number of residents affected by employment deprivation is as high as 1 in 4. It also states that ‘South Bristol is particularly affected with extremes of Education, Skills and Training Deprivation’, with some areas having a high proportion of working age adults with no or low qualifications.

You could help us change this and help people #MakeItInBristol by casting your vote for The Factory: find out more about our proposal and vote online here.

A vote for KWMC and KWMC: The Factory is a vote for developing skills, making products and realising dreams!

The Factory is KWMC’s making and training space: as well as providing commissions for clients The Factory provides opportunities for everyone to “make it” by opening up access to new tools, technologies and training.

Image: Stride Treglown

Hiring: Manga / comic book artists for a 10 week young people’s project

Knowle West Media Centre is running a 10 week manga / comic creation course for young people this Autumn (from 13th September) and we’re looking for a dynamic and talented artist/facilitator to lead the course.

The course will cover storytelling, design, digital and traditional comic styles, and creating a one-sheet comic ready for launch at South Bristol Gaming & Anime Expo in November. 

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Ideally you’ll have experience of youth work and designing creative courses for young people, alongside having passion and experience for comic book creation. Sessions will take place on Wednesdays from 4.30 – 7.30pm, working with young creatives aged 10-19.

We will be contacting and arranging interviews with applicants via phone/skype on a rolling basis, so if this is something you’re interested in doing please get in touch with enquiries@kwmc.org.uk by midday on 4th September and include up to 150 words explaining your experience, why you want to be involved in the project and provide links to your work.

The fee for the course facilitator is £600. An enhanced DBS check will also be required.

Good luck!

Tech on the Table is a smash hit

“Everyone is just ready to try something new; they are curious and motived”

Our Tech on the Table summer activities launched on 8th August with another group of excited 10-16 year olds ready to embark on a creative journey. Two days almost didn’t seem enough for a course that included building robots, interacting with At-Bristol’s fully functioning NAO robot and the Minecraft sessions that continue to be a hit. With some help from our friends at Digimakers from the University of Bristol as well as a handful of other friendly volunteers, it was finally tech time.

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Day One

If you walked into KWMC on 8th August you’d have felt the energy of over 25 young people ready to tackle tech like few of them had ever done before! Meeting in the building’s main studio space, KWMC’s Dot Baker explained what was going to be happening over the two days.

Harry Gee, who currently works on robot education products with the help of Bristol Robotics Lab, led the Pi robot building session.  Those who attended learned how to assemble, code and activate the machine, before seeing it in action. Other sessions included gaming and digital design and our great team of young volunteers had the young people fully engaged.

 “They’re keen and they are up for it!” – Harry Gee

“We really enjoyed today. Everyone is just ready to try something new, they are curious and motived” – The Digimakers student team from University of Bristol

Day Two

Our second day started off with a bang as Beth Cotterell from At-Bristol came to visit, bringing her friend Nell, the NAO robot that so many people have been talking about. As well as all of the young people taking part in the Summer Programme, staff and volunteers came along to Beth’s session too: Nell the artificial intellectual brought young and older visitors together to share a memorable experience. It was a s stand-out moment mixed with a feel-good one: we love a good win-win situation!

Building on the excitement of the NAO robot, the other sessions kept up the high pace of the day. The young people, who had begun to form bonds with each other, got stuck in to digital illustration. At  the end of the day it was great to see so many parents staying around to talk to the staff and young people alike about the day, the buzz from the morning undoubtedly still in the air.

Interested in trying coding, robotics or other tech activities?  Our after-school groups start back after the summer holidays on 11th September; visit the Jump Studios page or contact us on 0117 903 0444 or social media to find out more!

Job Vacancy: Citizen Sensing Coordinator

Looking for a job in Bristol that mixes technology, data, sensors and working with communities?  Knowle West Media Centre is looking to recruit a Citizen Sensing Coordinator to support people to harness the power of sensing technologies and data for the common good.

The Coordinator will play a key role in delivering an exciting and challenging programme of work using The Bristol Approach to Citizen Sensing – a framework that puts communities and their needs at the heart of innovation.

‘Citizen Sensing’ is a process where people build, use, or act as sensors – for example, identifying and gathering information (data) that will help them to tackle an issue that’s important to them. This sensing process could involve creating a bespoke sensor from scratch or using a piece of technology that already has an in-built sensor, like a smartphone. However simple or complex the technology, and whatever the data being gathered, citizen sensing is about empowering and enabling people to use technology for social good.

The Citizen Sensing Coordinator should have enthusiasm for and excellent knowledge of building and prototyping sensors and IoT (Internet of Things) devices and a good understanding of data collection.

37 hours a week for 10 months – fixed term contract
£21,502 – £25,085 per annum depending on experience

For more details and how to apply visit our Jobs page.

Closing date for applications: 9am, Monday 6th March 2017. Interviews will be held on Thursday 9th March 2017.

Knowle West shortlisted for Smart Communities Award

kw-smart21-logoKnowle West, Bristol, has been named as one of the Intelligent Community Forum’s (ICF) Smart21 Communities of 2017.  This select group of communities from around the world emerged from a group of nearly 400 – and are in contention to be named 2017’s Intelligent Community of the Year.

“The Smart21 list always has a few surprises,” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla.  “This one definitely does.”  He noted that the list rarely includes the biggest cities with global reputations: ‘it is a group of cities, counties and rural communities that decided to apply digital tools to building local economies and societies to prosper in an age of digital disruption.’

Knowle West is the only community in the UK to make the shortlist and is named alongside seven communities from Canada, five from Taiwan, four from Australia, and one each from Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States.

“We find that it is the ones who collaborate with national or state governments, fly under the radar, and are ‘No Name’ communities to most of the world that are most innovative and aggressive,” said ICF co-founder John Jung.  “They are not afraid of new ideas and use strategies proven by Intelligent Communities around the world.   They are places that the rest of the world can learn from and offer hope to people who are fighting hard to launch a new future, and create early stage investment opportunities to the outside world.”

KWMC is delighted that Knowle West has been recognised as a place of innovation, creativity and action: where passionate people make, challenge and explore new technologies in order to shape and improve their lives and communities. You can find out more about some of the work we’re currently doing here.

About the ICF

The Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org), headquartered in New York, is a global movement of nearly 150 cities, metro regions and counties with a think tank at its heart. ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world’s Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the new demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT). To help cities and regions build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum conducts research, hosts global events, publishes books, and produces its high-profile annual international awards program.

 

Retro tech meets virtual reality

 This half term the futuristic world of virtual reality will collide with the nostalgic realm of console gaming as the South Bristol Gaming & Anime Expo returns for its second year.

On Saturday 22 and 23 October Knowle West Media Centre will host a celebration of gaming, digital media and art which will bring together retro games and new technology.

  • Do you grab your headset and enter a new digital world when you game?
  • Do you remember the days of consoles and cartridges, and Sonic vs Mario?
  • Or do you prefer your games to have boards and pieces, with no tech in sight?!

The South Bristol Gaming & Anime Expo is suitable for all ages and will include a retro gaming area (featuring consoles including SEGA Megadrive and Nintendo64), a board game station, cardboard arcade, and an opportunity to try new virtual reality technologies.

There will also be a gallery exhibition of emerging artists, screenings of anime films, workshops exploring comic production, and a chance to have your photo taken in a pop-up studio.

The event runs from 10am-5pm on 22 and 23 October. Young people aged 19 and under go free and adult tickets cost £5 in advance.  Tickets can be booked online at southbristolgamingexpo2016.eventbrite.co.uk and under 11s must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information contact Mena Fombo, Young People’s Programme Manager, on 0117 903 0444 or e-mail expo@kwmc.org.uk

Tinkering at KWMC: The Factory

Over the last few weeks, the team at KWMC: The Factory have been making new pieces of furniture and exhibits for an exciting new space in At-Bristol – one of the UK’s leading interactive science centres. Opening this summer, the At-Bristol Tinkering Space aims to inspire the inventor in us all and enable visitors to turn their ideas into something they can touch, design and modify.

Opening on 23 July, the permanent exhibition will include a ‘Baxter’ robot (the first in a UK science centre), two 3D printers, an air table for testing flying devices, Shadow Theatres, make-your-own ball runs, and more. The space will be open every day, and will include some guided activities with the Live Science Team, which will run for visitors and school groups. For more details visit the At-Bristol website.

Watch this space for photos of the furniture we’ve made!

Photo credit: Joe Meredith

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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