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We Can Make

Together…

We Can Make good homes,

We Can Make local jobs,

We Can Make space for nature,

We Can Make social infrastructure,

We Can Make community wealth,

We Can Make a thriving neighbourhood.

 

How does ‘We Can Make’ work?

We Can Make uses an asset-based approach to re-imagine “how to do housing” differently. It starts with the know-how and resources the community already has, and uses a process of creative co-design to work with people to develop the tools to do housing on their terms.

These are the vital ingredients of the We Can Make approach:

We start with people. It’s opt-in densification – an elder may wish to downsize but stay in their community, or a family may be experiencing over-crowding.

The community sets the rules for what gets built through a Community Design Code, making it easier for people to navigate a complicated planning system, ensures homes are high-quality and add character to the neighbourhood.

Build for community infrastructure and benefit. When a family opts-in, the micro-site is transferred to our Community Land Trust. Transfer and planning permission is conditional on community ownership and fixing the rent at Living Rent. This represents a new supply of land exclusively for community-led homes.

We localise and de-carbonise the production of the homes using modular construction systems. The parts are made in our community fabrication space, KWMC The Factory, growing local jobs, skills and community wealth.

Unlocking micro-sites creates a new way for people and communities to make the homes they need, and in the process unlocks ways to help make a thriving neighbourhood.

RESPiRES

Exploring our relationships with blue spaces and water, to create healthy, resilient cities.

RESPiRES stands for Resilient People, Resilient Ecosystems in Smart Cities.  In early 2020 KWMC worked with researchers and Bristol residents to explore how people interact with and experience ‘blue space’ sites in South Bristol (Crox Bottom) and East Bristol (the River Frome), using easily available technologies to tell their stories.

At the same time, researchers and local people in Mexico City were exploring their own spaces.

Context

‘Smart’ and sustainable cities need functional and resilient ecosystems to support the health and well-being of the people who live there. However, this can only be achieved by understanding how people interact with and perceive these ecosystems.

Blue spaces in particular (ponds, lakes, rivers and streams) play a key role in the urban ecosystem and for human health in cities by cleaning water, providing a sense of place and supporting a diverse set of flora and fauna.

The RESPiRES research team aimed to explore the social and ecological systems in two different contexts: the emerging economy of Mexico City and the established economy of Bristol.

The project

Through a series of workshops, KWMC worked with Bristol residents to explore their chosen sites and document their experiences there through film-making, using technology they already had available on their mobile phones.

Field Workshops – During the first workshops we undertook walks in each location and monitored activity through human sensing (using our five senses) and drawing on digital tools such as the Hush City app, taking field notes and photographs and completing a participatory mapping exercise.

Ideation Workshops – The next phase involved activities where participants could devise stories for their short films and gather inspiration from each other. These workshops included a storyboarding exercise and an introduction to basic film-making techniques.

Editing Workshops – Participants took part in an introductory workshop into editing footage, using free open-source editing software. They began to edit footage they had gathered in their personal research time. KWMC offered additional support through drop-in sessions to assist with learning.

Screening event – The project culminated in a screening event that was successfully transferred online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Joined by researchers from the UK and Mexico City, participants showcased the amazing films they had made. We also used the space to reflect on and celebrate the project.

Participants’ experiences

“Working with KWMC was good fun and introduced me to some super people, both at the centre and other participants in the project.”

“The video that I produced has been seen in local, national and international places, and encouraged people to ask about Manor Woods Valley – the location that featured in the video.” 

For more information about RESPiRES, visit the project website here.

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Kitchen Circus Project

Kitchen Circus Project 2020 – brought families and artists together to share stories and create work exploring the theme of ‘home’.

Three families from in and around Knowle West, Easton and Barton Hill were working mostly virtually over lock down with artists Megan Clark-BagnallMike Akers, Megan Vaughan-Thomas, Leeza Awojobi and Grapevine.

Central to the Kitchen Circus project is creating time within the home to form connections, experiment with ideas and discover the stories that want to be told… This involves thinking about home in a holistic way, from the physical place we sleep to our wider natural world.

The project is an ongoing collaboration with Cirque Bijou (Easton), Travelling Light Theatre Company (Barton Hill) and Knowle West Media Centre (Knowle West).

During the course of Summer 2020 each family and their artists went along a different routes of discovery and making from conversations to board games, puppet mascots to animation making. They also opened out from working intimately together to inviting other artists, neighbours and wider family to take part in their creations. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, it seems more important than ever for families, neighbours, artists and organisations to reflect on the importance of family and home, and what they mean to us as we move through the current crisis.

Below is a snap shot of what we got up to.

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2014 and 2015 Projects

The first Kitchen Circus projects took place in 2014 and 2015, bringing circus performances, songs and digital arts onto the streets, to explore ideas about identity, hospitality and how we live now.

The 2014 performances around Knowle West included a journey across the neighbourhood and pop-up shows in streets, living rooms and front gardens, combining an enchanting mix of intimacy and spectacle. The artists involved were Dom Coyote, Truan Matthias and Tine

Bech.

The 2015 performances in Hengrove explored the notion of ‘home’ and included a circus performance on the green, a trail of illuminated objects and musical performances at local landmarks, including on a boat.  This year we worked with circus artists Tit For Tat, spoken word artist Rebecca Tantony and digital artist Dom Breadmore. The 2015 performance was part of Bristol’s  Circus City festival.

Project Night

Do you make art or produce projects in community contexts?

Project Night is a meet-up offering a supportive network to creatives and artists working in and with communities. It is a space to share ideas, test things out, meet new people and be inspired.

At each event there is time for individuals or groups to test out project ideas and get supportive feedback, as well as plenty of informal time for conversations. As always we are open for the event to evolve and become what people want and need it to be.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, we aren’t able to meet in-person at the moment.  However, we are still meeting regularly online: keep an eye on the events page for more information and sign up to our e-bulletin to get a monthly update.

When we meet physically for Project Night we provide drinks and people are invited to bring a dish so that we can spend time enjoying food together and talking around the table. For virtual sessions it is BYO (Bring Your Own)!

Previous Project Nights

After the first event on 4 July 2019 people who came along said:

‘a really great space was created for supporting each other and sparking new ideas / collaborations’

‘this has been amazing. I’m potentially going to work with someone that I wouldn’t have ever had the opportunity to meet unless it was for this night’

Our second event at the end of September 2019 was equally great, with a full house of people discussing a wide range of projects; from music making to caravan performances! November 2019 was a lovely intimate session with inspiring discussions around poetry groups, walking projects and more.

January 2020 was full of fresh new year energy and our March 2020 session was the first virtual experiment. We were inspired by everyone’s generosity and heard about two brilliant new projects: Knowle West Beaches – creating sandcastles around the Knowle West neighbourhood – and a new project exploring how coronavirus and COVID-19 are affecting different types of work and workers.

You can read more about the following Project Night discussions that took place during the first COVID-19 lockdown:

If you would like to know more about Project Night, have ideas for how it could evolve or would like to join the next one please contact: martha.king@kwmc.org.uk

This event is part of the National Social Art Network: www.socialartnetwork.org

Control Alt Delete (Jump Studios)

Control Alt Delete is a weekly session for 10 – 16 year olds that provides exciting opportunities to get hands-on with new technology.

What?

Sessions take place every Monday and aim to inspire the next generation of digital producers: young people who don’t just consume technology but build, test and experiment together.

Activities include:

Using robots
Building in Minecraft
3D printing
Virtual Reality
Computer Aided Design

Who?

The sessions are suitable for young people aged 10-16.  Control Alt Delete aims to provide a fun and exciting space for young people to develop the skills and tools to become creators and inventors.

When talking about the tech workshops that we put on over the summer one young person said, “It’s been the best day of my life!”

When?

The Autumn term starts on Monday 9th September and sessions run every Monday evening during school term time from 4.30 – 6pm.

Get Involved!

Places are limited, so please sign up if you want to come by contacting Dot: dot@kwmc.org.uk or calling 0117 9030444

Photos: Dean Ayotte

Creative Hub (Jump Studios)

Creative Hub is a weekly creative space for 10-16 year olds to explore digital media and develop their own projects and ideas.

What?

Taking place every Wednesday during term time from 5-7pm, the Hub offers opportunities to get involved in a wide range of creative practices, including

– animation
– gaming
– music
– illustration
– technology (coding, robotics, virtual reality)

Members of Creative Hub, and other Jump Studios groups, can also complete an Arts Award qualification at Bronze or Silver level.

 

Who?

Creative Hub is part of our Jump Studios programme for 10 – 16 year olds and offers young creatives the opportunity to develop skills and interests at their own pace, with the support of the KWMC team.

When?

Creative Hub runs during term time on Wednesday evenings 5pm – 7pm.

Where?

Sessions take place weekly at Knowle West Media Centre, Leinster Avenue, Bristol, BS4 1NL.

Get involved!

Creative Hub is a busy space and is open access. You don’t have to book places (like you do for Creative Courses) but computers and equipment are given on a first come first served basis.

If you would like more information please contact mike@kwmc.org.uk or speak to the team on 0117 903 0444.

Photos: Dean Ayotte

Work Experience

Are you interested in digital media, technology or the arts? Are you looking for a work experience opportunity that will give you a behind-the-scenes insight into the workings of an organisation that brings all three together? Knowle West Media Centre could be the place for you!

Our main work experience offer is available for Year 10 students during their work experience week, however we do offer a range of options for other ages. Please contact us directly for more details.

What does a typical week look like?

No week at KWMC looks exactly the same, but during a work experience placement you will have the opportunity to learn about:

  • What we do at KWMC: our aims, values and history
  • Animation
  • Photography
  • Laser cutting at KWMC: The Factory
  • Learn how to use Music Software, such as Logic Pro
  • Create your own podcast
Extras?

As part of a week-long work experience placement we will support you to gain your Arts Award Bronze.

What should I do to apply?

Email Mike Moast on mike@kwmc.org.uk and you will receive an application form. Please fill in the form and either post it or email it back to Mike. Please note that spaces are limited and we aren’t able to accept all applicants.

Why is there an application form?

We use an application form in order to find out a bit more about you and make sure that Knowle West Media Centre is the right fit for your interests.

 

Please note that we are completely full for year 10 work experience during June – July 2020

AI for Social Good

Human bias in Artificial Intelligence – can we fix it?

In November 2018 Knowle West Media Centre hosted a discussion event exploring the fact that whilst Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly present in our lives – in computers, machines and robots – and making important decisions on our behalf, it is also inheriting a variety of human biases.

A great line-up of speakers offered a series of provocations around the topic, exploring the fact, that in some cases, AI is increasing inequality, due to humans having programmed the systems with their conscious and unconscious biases, especially in relation to class, race, age, gender and economic background.

Our first speaker, Mark Martin from UK Black Tech, highlighted the urgent need to redress the lack of diversity within the tech, AI and Computer science workforce.

Artists Coral Manton and Birgitte Aga highlighted the gender bias and stereotypes that AI systems and voice assistants often perpetuate and shared the work they have been doing through their Women Reclaiming AI for activism project.

Rodric Yates from IBM explained how the IBM AI Fairness 360 toolkit works and suggested that we can re-programme machines and systems to address the problem of bias.

The event was curated in partnership with Black South West Network as part of Digi Cities Bristol 2018 – a week of training, networking and events aimed at developing the skills of current and future content makers throughout the creative industries.

We will be continuing to develop arts-led work around the ethics and creative possibilities of AI during 2019 and 2020.

If you are an artist, organisation or individual working in this area and would like to meet or discuss ideas please do get in touch with Martha: e-mail martha.king@kwmc.org.uk or call 0117 903 0444.

From Her Focus

From Her Focus is a new training programme supporting women in Bristol to develop their skills and confidence as photographers.

Over this five-day course you will receive training in the following:

– Studio photography including lighting
– Shooting in natural light (outdoors)
– Still life photography
– Portrait photography
– Using Adobe Photoshop
– Photo manipulation using digital manufacturing technology, such as laser cutting / etching
– Becoming self employed

This project is not currently running. To find out about potential opportunities please email Mena Fombo at mena@kwmc.org.uk 

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During the course you will learn how to use a range of industry-standard DSLR cameras and you’ll be supported by a group of inspiring women like yourself! You’ll also get the chance to meet experienced female photographers who can share their top tips for success, offer some inspiration and critique your work.

If you’re looking to become self-employed in the future we can also introduce you to a range of useful enterprise skills.

Following the course you will have the opportunity to work with a career coach who will support you to identify your goals and progress in your personal and professional development.

We will also be commissioning some of the participants to take on pieces of work through our creative agency Eight, which supports emerging creatives to develop skills as well as start getting paid for their work.

We will provide all of the kit, but if you have your own camera and would like bring it then please do so.

Who should apply?

This course is open to self-identifying women aged 18-30, at beginner to intermediate level. This is a supported and safe learning environment so don’t delay – apply today!

Does it cost anything to take part?

Taking part in the course is FREE to you, all thanks to funding from our partners.

The training provided has a value of up to £1,000 per place, so this really is an excellent opportunity. In return all we ask is that you commit to attend the full five days – and naturally that you enjoy yourself as well!

Is childcare provided?

We are able to offer two bursaries of up to £200 to support with childcare costs.

What’s the story behind the programme?

In 2016 the UK start-up Approve.io surveyed 1,009 part-time and full-time freelancers in the UK who had taken on freelance contracts over the past five years. PetaPixel reported that they found:

– 87% of photographers were asked to work for free, with 16% accepting.
– Photographers were more likely to be asked to work for free than those working in other creative practices such as graphic design and film.
– Freelancers under 25, working across a range of disciplines, were twice as likely to be asked to work for free compared to those older than 25.
– 55% of those asked to work for free were women.
– Women were also more likely to agree: 59% of those who did free work were female.

This all-female programme aims to support female creatives to know the value of their work and develop their enterprise skills, as part of an encouraging community of inspiring photographers.

From Her Focus follows our successful filmmaking programme for women, From Her Point of View.

Living, Working, Making Together

How do artists and communities live, work and make together?

How do we move beyond the idea that city centres are the home of culture? What does a collaborative relationship between artists and communities look and feel like?

During 2018, Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) commissioned five artists; Myah Calista, Marc Blazel, Gill Simmons, Paul Lawless (Brave Bold Drama) and Ellie Shipman to explore these ideas by, working, making and – on occasion – living in Knowle West.

The Living, Working, Making, Together exhibition, showcasing work created during the residency, opened on 20 November 2018 and will run till April 2019. Throughout the exhibition there will be workshops and a closing event. Look out for more information

Project background

In September 2017, KWMC hosted a pop-up Artist Hotel in Filwood Community Centre (FCC) raising questions about where artists live, work and make in the city, and exploring collaborative approaches to urban planning, beyond the often repeating patterns of ‘re-generation’ where artists and communities become pushed out by rising house and studio prices: forced to leave the neighbourhoods where they previously lived, worked and made.

a-n covered the event and writer Rowan Lear penned the piece: ‘Bristol’s Artist Hotel: awake with ideas about art, community and ‘regeneration’. She described how “the event was pitched as an opportunity to question how an artist hotel might operate differently, or even be distributed across a community: importantly, to become ‘not a retreat, but a space to engage’”. Rowan concluded that “if the Artist Hotel demonstrates anything, it’s that constructing pseudo-borders between artists and ‘communities’ is over: it’s time to imagine possibilities and realise solutions to housing, employment and welfare – together, as neighbours.

At the Artist Hotel event Filwood Community Centre expressed a keen interest and need to explore new uses for their building. The centre already runs an active programme of classes; including boxing, Slimming World, tap dance, job skills training and bingo. However, in light of recent funding cuts there is a need to animate the centre in new ways. FCC had an appetite for experimentation, a will to practically explore new uses for the centres’ spaces and a desire to build new relationships between local people and artists.

FCC and KWMC collaboratively wrote an artists brief and commissioned the four artists projects they were most excited about and which seemed to have the most potential to explore new ways for artists and local people to work together.

Projects

Here is an insight into what the artists got up to – in their own words:

Marc Blazel

The idea of community flows through every aspect of our lives. From social media to the physical spaces that surround us, community is an ever-evolving concept that we cannot escape. Nor is it one we would want to. I believe that community more than ever exists as an ingrained evolutionary trait, an essential attribute that allows humans to not only survive but thrive. The bell curve of self sustaining internet communities is testament to this. While chat rooms, forums and 3D virtual worlds are quickly becoming abandoned relics of a simpler time, their DNA (and the revolutionary work of early pioneers) has carried through social media to all our daily lives.

However, like every wide reaching technological revolution there are positive things lost in the transition. The current juggernauts exist as platforms for individuals, and while there has always been an element of untruth to the web it seems that anonymity is more and more being exploited for deceit rather than self expression. These now defunct online spaces existed as free states of self expression and are interesting case studies for both digital and physical community practice.

Having spent years researching these ideas and exploring online places, I was encouraged by the shared history of Knowle West and its inherent connection to innovation and new technology. It seemed like the perfect place to put some of these concepts into practice. Using my experience with live-streaming and Knowle West’s connection to community television seemed a natural and an exciting way to engage with the area, looking at community arts projects as not only local immersion but also a chance to create new collectives and spaces for expression. These past months have been about the ‘we’, connections that will hopefully continue well into the future.

Brave Bold Drama

We were delighted to be invited to work with Knowle West Media Centre on this project. We already work with a wide range of community groups in our home patch of Withywood, so we decided to find the equivalent groups in Knowle West and Filwood for this project. We visited Illminster Nursery to work with pre-school children and carers, worked with young people at a Jump Into Music workshop day at Knowle West Media Centre, visited a group for adults with learning disabilities at The Park, and met older members of the community at a tea dance at Filwood Community Centre. We also met many different local residents at Knowle West Fest and had a great time improvising and jamming songs about things like swimming, building with Lego and running around at Cubs!

We gathered ideas for lyrics, riffs (snippets of tunes) and rhythms from everyone we met. We recorded them using KWMC’s kit, and then took them all away and composed a brand new Song for Knowle West. We have written many songs before, including songs inspired by communities in Bath and North East Somerset, where we have worked in the past on community songwriting projects with Bath-based Kilter Theatre. But the songs that came out of those projects were always low-tech and intended for live performance. We have used this residency at Knowle West Media Centre as a great opportunity to learn more about producing and mixing tracks digitally, and how to use sampled sounds. We hope you enjoy our song and we look forward to hearing what new sounds you create using our Songs for Knowle West Sound Station!

Myah Calista

We are so detached from the production of food that we have no real understanding of the time and energy invested in what goes into what’s on our plate. Bristol is at the forefront of food growing organisations, charities, collectives and community gardens. Don Jones, local resident and Filwood’s volunteer garden pioneer, has got the ball rolling for a communal garden in Filwood Community Centre.

Over the summer the garden bore dozens of beans, hundreds of tomatoes and some ginormous squash to name a few! re:fill Cafe at FCC, part of re:work on the Broadway, are advocates and great appreciators of fresh food, making lots of delicious food from ingredients grown in Knowle West and now the centre’s garden. The cafe staff produced some delicious chutneys which were tasted and then sold after Knowle West Fest making use of every last tomato.

They were known as ‘The Cafe’ but now have the newly coined name and identity ‘re:fill’ which combines both their own and the Filwood Community Centre’s brands. Throughout the summer, drawings of vegetables were collected from local residents and cafe customers that were then translated into an information board using gardening knowledge and expertise from Don, explaining how and when to grow these ‘doodled foodles’.

The garden is still starting up, but the summer has seen a massive change, with lots of food produced, residents helping to create and control a compost pile, gardening tools donated from a local resident, more plots dug out and the foundations for a greenhouse being put into the ground. Don has worked relentlessly to transform the exterior and interior gardens of the centre and has such vision and drive. He once said, and definitely lives by the mantra – “be brave, be bold, get out there and get on with it” – with this passion, Filwood’s garden can only grow!

Ellie Shipman

Filwood Community Centre sits on a remarkable 80 years of history, as the community and city around it has ridden the waves of regeneration and decline, bringing new opportunities and challenges as it does so. My practice explores urban regeneration and sustainability through a participatory, craft-based process inspired by my love of encouraging the creativity in everyone and my background in community development.

My work often questions the significance of cultural and personal identity, and how that is portrayed in communities and individuals. I am interested in the secret skills living behind closed doors – the making, growing, caring and imaginations lying apparently dormant to the outsider, but which are in fact active or have potential to be activated. The possibilities of these skills correlating with new waves of DIY learning and opportunities for self-employment offered by online courses and resources are huge.

The Living, Working, Making Together residency seemed the perfect opportunity to explore these ideas – from, in and with the community they are responding to. This immersion enabled the project to explore local nuances of the past, present and future of Filwood (known locally as Knowle West) and use those as the creative starting point to make patterns, fabric and products which culturally represent local individuals and the wider community.

In practical terms, this consisted of distributing flyers inviting local people to draw, write or scribble things which remind them of the past, present and future of Filwood. These drawings were then digitised and designed into patterns to be used on fabric souvenirs of the area, and explored further in drawing, making and sewing workshops. This became FILWOOD FABRIC.

I hope FILWOOD FABRIC acts as a catalyst for people living and working in the area to explore new outlets for their skills, knowledge and imagination, and to create new things which represent this brilliant community in new ways.

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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