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The Male Room

Supporting young men to develop their skills as creative professionals and explore masculine identity.

The Male Room took place in 2018. It was open to young men aged 18-30 who were aspiring entrepreneurs or who wanted to focus on personal development.  During a residential retreat at Folly Farm we supported them to develop creative skills and practical knowledge of entrepreneurship, and explore and challenge ideas about masculinity in their industry. They also received professional mentoring and coaching.



Photography by Dean Ayotte

What’s the story behind the programme?

Knowle West Media Centre supports people of all backgrounds to develop careers in the creative industries – particularly groups that are under-represented or have faced barriers to achieving their goals. We recognise that men are faced with societal challenges that not only impact their wellbeing but the experience and wellbeing of other groups including women and LGBTQ+ communities.

Male Suicide

Bristol (12.8) and Bath (11) both registered higher suicide rates than the national average of 10.1 per 100,000 persons in England. (Office for National Statistics)

Masculinity and Identity

New YouGov research reveals the scale of the generational shift in terms of how young people perceive their own masculinity and, to a lesser extent, femininity. On a scale of 0-6, where 0 is completely masculine and 6 is completely feminine, only 2% of young men (aged 18-24) define themselves as totally masculine, compared to fully 56% of men over 65. 36% of young men are less likely to say they find it easier to talk to a friend about issues than women (53%). (YouGov.UK 2016)

Mena Fombo explained: “KWMC supports women and other underrepresented groups to access safe spaces and learning environments to develop skills to progress into the often male-dominated creative industries, and develop the confidence to challenge cultural norms. This work is vital but can only change the industry so far – we also need to support men to recognise the privileges they experience and use their influence positively. The Male Room aims to support men in the creative industries to both succeed themselves and be part of creating an environment where all oppressed, and underrepresented groups can thrive, feel safe and included.”

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 


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 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.

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
+44 (0) 117 903 0444

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