Knowle West Media Centre is Bristol’s Living Lab – a space to collaborate with a wide range of partners and the local community to innovate and trial new ideas that put citizens at the heart of the collaborative process.
We’re committed to working with people to understand how digital technologies can meet the real-life needs of individuals and communities. As an active member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), KWMC is a place where people can come together to explore new ways of doing things – from solar power initiatives to cutting-edge healthcare work using sensors – and local people are involved every step of the way.
We’ve seen time and again that positive change – both social and economic – comes when people aren’t treated as mere ‘consumers’. Taking the time to understand how technology intersects with everyday life can help to enhance our experiences, improve products and services, and create ‘smart cities’ that utilise digital technology to improve skills, communication and decision-making.
Current and recent Bristol Living Lab projects include:
Change Creators – a Creative Leadership programme for 18-25 year olds who want to make a positive change in the world using the power of arts, media and technology. Young people work in a small team to identify the issues they care about, then use new technologies in creative ways to develop a social change campaign, as well as developing transferable skills.
KWMC: The Factory – our digital manufacturing space offers access to tools, training and prototyping services, including 3D printers and laser cutters. It supports makers at all stages of the innovation process, from design and development through to prototyping and production.
IES Cities – a European project in four cities including Bristol which developed an open platform to enable the sharing of open data and information contributed by local people. Users were actively involved in the development, testing and evaluation of five mobile apps for Bristol.
3eHouses – a European partnership project that helped local Council tenants reduce their energy consumption and change their energy behaviour. Equipment was installed in 100 homes to monitor electricity and gas and participants could view their usage on a tablet computer via a visual interface developed by an artist.
For an example of how our work feeds into the wider European Network of Living Labs, please see a recent report about Open Living Lab days 2017.
We regularly attend events around the world, from workshops to presentations, and we’re keen to hear from organisations that share our commitment to social inclusion and are interested in the following areas:
supporting people to become ‘smart citizens’ in ‘smart cities’
opportunities for training and skills development, particularly in data literacy and digital manufacturing
sustainability and environmental issues
building resilient communities and developing ideas about how we might live in the future
In July two young people from KWMC represented Bristol and presented their prototype for a new game to a packed audience in Vienna.
Europeana Creative Culture Jam was the final showcase event of Europeana Creative, a groundbreaking project that explores ways for creative industries to connect with cultural heritage. The two-day event was held at the Austrian National Museum in Vienna, with participants attending...