On a beautiful late-summer day, visitors flocked to Knowle West to take part in two special events programmed for Bristol Open Doors Day.
A special intergenerational neighbourhood walk, designed and led by local residents, was sold out: over 50 people were shown around Knowle West, discovering hidden histories and personal stories.
Artist Holly Beasley-Garrigan shared a work in progress version of her new installation I, OBJECT presented in a resident’s house. I, OBJECT is a film installation created with local residents and supported by emerging filmmaker and Knowle West resident Dee Hassan. Through interviews with one person born in each decade since the estate was built, I, OBJECT aims to reflect on almost a century of lived experience and explore the everyday objects people hold dear. Holly’s installation places the ‘macro’ of politics and planning policy alongside the ‘micro’ of people’s daily experiences, in order to challenge perceptions of who is traditionally permitted to tell working class stories…Audiences were invited to listen, explore and contrast the utopian dreams of the estate’s architects to the voices of the people who live here…
Artist/architect George Lovesmith re-opened the Sew Clever community sewing space on Filwood Broadway and was created a space for digital embroidery, drawing and sharing more about his residency so far. Since starting the commission in May, George has been has been knocking on people’s doors, admiring hanging baskets and bold design choices and having garden-side conversations with Knowle West residents. This has enabled him to collect stories that catalogue the impressive extensions, inspiring DIY, amazing adaptations, and hacks and decorations in Knowle West homes and gardens. The personal touches people make to their homes are a form of everyday creativity that is worth documenting and speaks to the DIY spirit that runs through the community. George will be continuing to work in Sew Clever through early October to complete an embroidered hanging made with local residents.
People who used to live in the neighbourhood enjoyed returning and sharing memories, others who had never been before commented on how different the neighbourhood was to the way it can be portrayed. Everyone was enthused and intrigued to see how the artworks would develop ready to be shared on Thursday 17 October, as part of the Festival of the Future City.
The events were part of KWMC’s creative programme 100 Years of Knowle West Style. 100 Years is part of the wider 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.
Photos by Ibolya Feher