Sustainability & Materials

KWMC: The Factory is committed to improving and developing sustainability within our practice, across all our programmes of work including commissions and services, training and skills, enterprise development and memberships.

The following projects will support us in this journey:

Julie’s Bicycle

Knowle West Media Centre is one of ten cultural initiatives currently receiving expert mentoring to become more environmentally sustainable, as part of  The Accelerator Programme from Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle.

Sustainability has long been vital to KWMC’s work and ethos – from the construction of our strawbale building to our projects with communities.

As part of the Accelerator Programme, we will be exploring how we can support our community of makers and creatives at KWMC: The Factory to adopt more sustainable making practices. This could include increasing Factory members’ understanding of the lifecycles of materials and products, and helping them incorporate circular economy principles into their work, such as reuse, recycling and responsible waste management.

Our project aim and key outcomes, a work in progress that will be developed and refined over time, are as follows:

Project Aim

To cultivate and support a creative community championing sustainability within design, decision making and working practices, whilst addressing economic and educational barriers that stand in the way​.

Key Outcomes

1. Update KWMC environmental policy into a ‘living’ sustainability policy ​
– Organisational development and strategy ​
– Identify & make changes internally
– Establish an internal sustainability working group to work collaboratively across teams

2. Develop networks & connections ​
– Sound boarding ideas & policies
– Connect with and signpost to local and national orgs working on sustainable projects  / improvements​

3. Develop a sustainability ‘toolkit’ / charter​
– Sharing and embedding best practice within our community  ​
– Dissemination of learning and resources in a tangible & engaging way eg. online platform, chatbot, tips & tricks / game
– Working with local people to develop this​
– Create a workforce of future sustainable designers & manufacturers

Keep an eye on @kwmcthefactory on social media or sign up to our Factory e-newsletter to find out more about how we’re putting learning from the Accelerator programme into practice.

Plastic Recycling

During the COVID-19 lockdown, and in conjunction with our mentoring through Julie’s Bicycle, we have taken some time to focus on our aim of being as sustainable as possible in our use of materials. Alongside programming some exciting workshops around sustainability and re-use to tie in with Earth Week in the autumn, we have managed to make some real progress in recycling our plastic waste.

This jazzy coloured sheet is ‘hot off the press’, created from a selection of coloured acrylic laser cut waste that is shredded into small pieces and then reformed under heat and pressure. The result is a 1mm thick sheet that is suitable for laser cutting and VERY exciting.

This is just the first step in a long journey, but one that will hopefully allow us to not only offer custom colour mixed materials for you to use, but also reach our ultimate goal of creating zero waste from laser cutting acrylic.

Plastics recycling


Materials Library

In collaboration with the University of the West of England, The Factory is exploring the development of a materials library for Bristol (and beyond) through an ongoing process of research, discussion, experimentation and workshop activity.

What is a materials library?

A materials library is a collection of different materials – natural and man-made, old and new, constituent and composite – as a resource for research, innovation and experimentation.

Often there is a focus on new innovative and sustainable materials, to raise awareness of their properties and applications, present them to the market and allow for testing and consulting around these new components.

This collection could be physical, allowing tactile interactions with each type of material, or digital, as an online database of images, properties and information that is widely accessible.

A material library can also be more conceptual, encouraging users to take into account the emotional and sensory value of materials alongside their practical properties for fabrication and construction.


ReThink, ReMake, ReCycle

As part of the Bristol+Bath Creative R+D Inclusion Programme, The Factory worked with residents of South Bristol to unpick the data behind what we waste, and followed a process of creative ‘Design Thinking’, prototyping and utilising digital tools to co-design and test out sustainable solutions and alternatives.

In March 2021 we launched the free ReThink ReMake ReCycle digital magazine to share stories, advice and activities from the project: ways to reduce household waste and get creative while you do it!  ‘What do you waste’ includes a range of tutorials and puzzles for families, as well as tips contributed by residents who took part in the workshops.

Find out more about ReThink, ReMake, Recycle on our project page here.

Contact Us

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

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