We’re delighted to announce that we’ve selected three artists to work on the project ‘100 Years of Knowle West Style‘. The project will celebrate Knowle West’s culture, style and stories, and make sure that it’s Knowle Westers who choose what goes down in history.
The artists are: Holly Beasley-Garrigan, George Lovesmith and Lukus Robbins. KWMC Arts Producer Martha King commented: ”we’re excited to be working with passionate artists who identify as coming from working class backgrounds. It felt really important for a project like this – which focuses on looking afresh at the histories and value of social housing – that the artists selected had lived experience of council-built estates and strong practices in socially engaged work”.
We’re also thrilled to be working with Cheryl Martin to create a series of neighbourhood walks. Cheryl grew up in Knowle West and lived here for 50 years. She is an experienced health walks leader and also a photographer. Cheryl wanted to work on this project because she believes it’s important to know more about our history: ‘to understand where you’re at, you have to know where you’ve come from’.
Here’s an introduction from Holly, George and Lukus, in their own words:
Holly says: “I’m a Performance-maker & Choreographer originally from South London and now based in Bristol. The “100 Years of Knowle West Style” project really excites me. I grew up on benefits on the St. Helier estate in South West London, an estate with many historical parallels to Knowle West. Five generations of my family have lived, and continue to live there since St. Helier was built between 1929 and 1936. My experiences growing up on, and then leaving, this estate have become central to my practice as an artist. I’m obsessed with storytelling, visibility and learning to take up space.
“My most recent work has focused on celebrating working-class stories, particularly the stories of women. Stories from estates like Knowle West are interesting and relevant but they are often forgotten, judged or not given the platform they deserve. My practice attempts to foster an environment where people feel supported and able to celebrate their own unique stories in ways that feel meaningful both personally and culturally.”
George says: “there’s special stuff in Knowle West – that’s why people call it home. I’m an architect interested to work hands-on with people who feel stuff about a place. The 100 Years project is an opportunity to ask: ‘how can we celebrate the thing you would lie down in front of a bulldozer to protect? Which bits justify some nurture? What makes you roll up your sleeves and get stuck-in?'”
Lukus says: “I am a participatory theatre maker and digital artist with a background in devised participatory performance and locative media. Growing up on a council-built estate and as someone who proudly identifies as working class, with some of my family living in Knowle West, I inherently understand the language, culture and social challenges of the neighbourhood.
“I wanted to join the project because I am fascinated to uncover, explore, understand and tell the rich narrative of Knowle West’s hidden heritage. More often than not, the residents of council-built estates are marginalised from the wider art world. This rich and exciting culture should not miss out and it is the collective responsibility of individuals and art organisations to engage with, learn from and celebrate what it has to offer. The core focus of my practice is to create intimate encounters between individuals, focusing on the here and now meetings between people in unconventional performance spaces.”
100 Years of Knowle West Style is part of Homes For Heroes 100, city-wide projects marking a century of council housing coordinated by Bristol Cultural Development Partnership.Homes For Heroes 100 is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Bristol City Council.