We are excited that our local ‘neighbourhood science’ project Collect to Connect has been selected as one of the European Funded Impetus Accelerator projects. The Accelerator is a structured programme that includes training activities, mentoring and financial support for Citizen Science Initiatives (CSIs) selected through the IMPETUS annual Open Calls.
Collect to Connect will take place in Knowle West this summer and autumn. The project is about amplifying, connecting and working together to enhance the abundance of green space, wildlife and knowledges that already exist in the neighbourhood. We know that Knowle West has some of the largest public green spaces in Bristol and as the estate was built on a garden city principle all the homes have gardens – providing potential for powerful ‘green corridors’ (green spaces that connect and allow wildlife and plants to thrive). There are skilled growers in the neighbourhood, there is an allotment culture and abundance of knowledge about animals and plants. People are passionate about caring for green spaces and there are lots of active green groups including: Northern Slopes Alliance, The Springfield Community Allotment Steering group, Friends of Inns Court, Belfast Walk gardens and more. The Knowle West Alliance are currently working with the community to develop a Community Climate Action plan. However, Knowle West green spaces are not yet accessed by everyone in the community, not as well connected as they could be and in some cases are under threat due to increasing development plans.
Through our Collect to Connect project we aim to use arts practices and co-creation approaches to:
–bring people together to explore how the amazing green initiatives and places in the area might become more connected – and what value this could bring to the neighbourhood . Could creative mapping help to connect people and places? How might we visualise the potential of more green corridors?
–sense into nature and observe ourselves as part of it to experience how connecting to nature effects how we feel, think, see and treat the different living things in our neighbourhood – including animals, plants, and environment. Sensing what is around us in playful ways, such as imagining what it might be like to experience the world as a bee or a sunflower!
–reflect and share on our creative explorations to understand better how nature connectedness might change the ways we relate to ourselves and to our neighbourhood – ourselves as part of nature and our neighbourhood that is not only shaped by humans, but also by other than human life.
–imagine and make visible how our green spaces can become more connected and we with them.
We hope that this project encourages people that care for nature in Knowle West to join in a network of ‘neighbourhood scientists’. Neighbourhood scientists are people like you and me that collect information in the places they care for in everyday life. With Collect to Connect we share this information and make sense of it together. With joy and in creative ways. On board are residents, community organisers, artists, technologist, ecologists and others that bring in their skills and knowledge to tell stories that matter for healthy neighbourhood ecosystems. Stories that speak about thrivingrelationships between people, plants and animals in Knowle West – now and in the future..
With Collect to Connect we saw the seed for what we wish to grow and cultivate together: A series of arts-based neighbourhood science initiatives with and for Knowle West. We work in collaboration and apply science and art to inspire collective action based on evidence & imagination. Our starting points are the questions that matter most for the neighbourhood and its thieving futures. Let’s make them together, with arts, tech and care!
In Sept-Oct we will facilitate creative workshops and activities in green spaces and online (for those who aren’t able to access these spaces physically). If you would like to be part of these or find out more, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch this space below for new blogs of our Collect to Connect project journey: