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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Inspirational visit from Open Bionics founder

In April 2019 we were delighted to welcome an old friend back to KWMC for an inspiring morning of robotics, technology – and make-up!

Samantha Payne, co-founder of award-winning innovation company Open Bionics, met with students and teachers from Barton Hill Academy and explained how Open Bionics produces cutting-edge 3D-printed bionic arms for people across the UK.

Samantha grew up in Knowle West and was involved with KWMC for several years, as a volunteer and then as a staff member. In 2014 she co-founded Open Bionics, which is based in Bristol.  She has since been named one of Forbes ’30 under 30′, a Bloomberg Business Innovator, and Wired Innovation Fellow, as well as receiving many other awards.

During her return visit to KWMC, Samantha was joined by 13 year old Tilly Lockey, an Open Bionics ambassador and inspirational speaker.  As a baby, Tilly contracted meningococcal septicaemia and underwent an operation to have both of her hands amputated. Tilly shared her story with the students and gave a make-up demonstration to show the dexterity and flexibility of the Hero Arms that Open Bionics designed for her.

Samantha and Tilly’s talk was filmed by production company Hotel Hungaria for Toyota’s ‘Driven’ series, which explores the drive and ambition of innovators. Watch this space for the final film…

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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.

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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.

Digital skills programme secures funding

We’re delighted to be part of a new skills programme in the West of England to support women to find jobs in the digital sector.

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has secured £238,000 funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) for the new Women into Digital Jobs, Education and Training (WIDJET) programme.  As part of WIDJET, Knowle West Media Centre will be running a range of training programmes in Spring 2019.

Web design course: From Her Digital

Our creative agency Eight will run a short course in web design and development between May and July 2019: From Her Digital will be open to women aged 18+ who are new to the digital industry.

The programme follows previous ‘From Her’ programmes at KWMC which have supported women to increase their skills and confidence in a range of digital media disciplines including music production, filmmaking and photography.

Over 10 weeks, From Her Digital will provide participants with a solid grounding in tools, techniques and software for web design, development and digital media production.

Application deadline: 9am, Monday 8 April 2019

Digital manufacturing programme: Making It

KWMC: The Factory’s Making It programme will provide an introduction to the tools, techniques and careers associated with digital manufacturing. Through practical sessions, participants will learn a range of skills including how to use digital design software and follow a design process, operate machinery including laser cutters and 3D printers, and design for materials such as wood, fabric, acrylic and card.

Making It will run from May to July 2019 and will include training sessions in 2D and 3D design, one-to-one mentoring, and supported sessions where participants can experiment, prototype and test ideas for their own project.  They will also have the chance to present what they’ve made to potential industry employers at a showcase event, and access specialist masterclasses in topics ranging from Wearable Technology to Virtual Reality.

Application deadline: 9am, Monday 15 April 2019

Making It is open to:

– Women aged 16+ from the Bristol county area

– People of any gender aged 16+ from South Bristol (Ashton, Totterdown, Bedminster, Southville, Knowle, Knowle West / Filwood, Brislington, Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe, Withywood, Stockwood, Whitchurch, Hengrove, Bedminster Down, Highridge)

About WIDJET

As well as KWMC’s training opportunities, Bath College, digital training businesses Mayden Academy and Boomsatsuma and the Dot Project will all be involved in delivering activities and training in Spring and Summer 2019.

WIDJET will work with women across the region, providing digital skills and training from entry-level taster sessions through to high-level industry specified courses. Participants can take part in a range of skills courses, training or seminars designed directly with business needs in mind, with the aim of them securing jobs in digital roles.

Minister for Digital, Margot James said: “I am thrilled to announce that the West of England Combined Authority was one of our Digital Skills Innovation Fund winners. Its fantastic work with Bath College, Mayden Academy, Boomsatsuma, Knowle West Media Centre and the Dot Project will change lives.

“Women are underrepresented in tech roles and this funding aims to help develop a more gender diverse workforce because it is not only the right thing to do but also makes business sense.”

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This is fantastic news and supports one of my key ambitions of improving job opportunities across the region. I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or personal circumstances, can access support to develop workplace skills so that they can fulfil their potential. Digital and tech is an important part of the West of England’s economy, and businesses have a particular need for skilled employees now, and this demand is expected to grow in future.

“Women are currently under-represented in digital roles and this new project will seek to tackle this by engaging with a wide group of women in communities, with the aim of moving us towards more representative and inclusive employment in digital roles across the region. This could include roles in virtual reality, VFX design or software development.”

More details

More details about the wider WIDJET programme can be found online or by emailing widjet@westofengland-ca.gov.uk

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

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.

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.

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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