On 29 April 2015 Knowle West Media Centre hosted a ‘re-mixed’ election event, which focused on the creative potential of the people and places that often get overlooked by conventional political debate. The event included a special preview of a new exhibition from photographer Tommy Sussex, ‘What Takes Hold’, which looks beyond party politics to explore alternative formal and informal systems of power.
As the visitors arrived they were greeted with a slideshow of images from the archive of the late Bristol Post photographer George Gallop, featuring politicians from the 70s, 80s and 90s.The evening kicked off with live acoustic performances from Sophie Hosken-Taylor and Ella Jones, and the debut of new track “Like Us” from local hip hop trio the Phresh Boiiz.
Chairing the proceedings was Matt Little of the Real Ideas Organisation. The event re-mixed the traditional ‘hustings’ format in a number of ways: instead of seating the political candidates up on a platform, they sat among the audience and listened as a ‘people’s panel’ of artists, activists and tech entrepreneurs give a series of short and sharp provocations about “the world that is possible”. The aim was to create a space for a more level and human discussion.
On the People’s Panel were: performance artist Rachael Miles, roboticist Praminda Caleb-Solly, local resident and youth worker Davina Froom, and director of Knowle West Media Centre Carolyn Hassan.
The six parliamentary candidates for Bristol South listened then gave their responses. A lively discussion ensued…
On audience member commented: “I’ve been to lots of hustings and this format was by far the best. Community front and centre as panelists, candidates in the audience was inspired. It was very open and the candidates were able to shine (or not) on their own merits in a way that no other hustings have done. It was about them rather than their parties.”