Delib's Ben Fowkes speaks with founder and director of Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol, Carolyn Hassan, on how they are supporting social action using technology and arts.
Delib's Ben Fowkes speaks with founder and director of Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol, Carolyn Hassan, on how they are supporting social action using technology and arts.
How can we improve democracy today in this pokal? Siri's I'm speaking people working in publicly accountable organisations. Civic society in the Third Sector to hear about how the making practical change This is Phillips Practical Democracy Podcast on My Name is Ben Fax. This upside features Caroline Hassan, founder and director of Norwest Media Centre in Bristol. No West Media Centre is an art centre in charity that's been operating since 1996 and they support people to make positive changes in their communities and indeed in their lives. Their main focus, unsurprisingly, given the name is to use technology in the arts to come up with creative solutions to problems and explore new ways of doing things. As a result, we tried by everything from air quality sensors to building your own sustainable homes to the co creation process that underpins all their world. Put the cattle on this one's a belt. Today, I'm very pleased to be joined by car. No West Media's into hating
Get Yeah, it's a wet, miserable day, but it's cosy. Fantastic centre
it is. It is. It is bloody miserable. Today is a lovely centre, And what room are we certain today.
Today we're setting the truth room on not because we expect everybody. We hoped that nobody tells the truth, but because you got truth panel that shows that these actually made of straw because a lot of people don't believe that we could We could have built a two storey media centre after strong its
trains panels. That truth and the truth panel is little windows, so you can see that
you can see the straw behind the panel. So we actually physically made, you know, alongside fireman and all kinds of great people. We actually physically built the panels in a factory about six miles away. We set up a flying factory and worked with local people to build the panels. It was quite a quite an out there idea at the time. So for 10 years,
I mean, that's quite right for right now. Well, I got a lot of convincing funders and this was a really good idea. Yeah, Marty's job title.
So I'm the founder and director. So I've bean in North west well, over 23 24 years but no west media centuries. Actually, it is. This building's is our centre, but we also have enormous media's into the factory, which is two units over it. Phil Green Business Park. And that's a fantastic addition to our kind of spaces. But really, Noah's media centre is what we do, and it's kind of out there. It's out there everywhere in the community, working across the city, working internationally.
Friend doesn't say obviously, no Western scenario of Bristol, which it's England's greatest city. I think we can agree on. Yeah, yeah, I know Western just to give people an idea of the area in your situation. I appreciate your much creating impact, but well, you know what it is. No West. So
no West End neighbourhood. It's community. About 13,000 people eats, uh, it's got within it. Super Cup areas high in the multiple, deep affection in seats. So what that means is that on there are pockets of places in this community where people are really struggling on, so they're kind of everything that everybody knows about Bristol. Cool, successful. Your buzzy u know That's no everywhere in the city on this is absolutely There are places where people are having a really, you know that things are changing and of course, we're part of that change, but this is an area. When I first came 25 years ago, the Bristol Evening Post referred to it as the memory of Bristol.
The baby grew
while they had cars off. You know, it's really horrible kind of environment, but it is not that because no Western people and you know, people
be really interesting to hear a bit about your background, I suppose. How about how that relates to how you ended up taking this in the West? It's interesting to end up. I never
came here. I came here on a residency in artist residency. I kind of remember, if it's five weeks or five months, you
know, I was doing
a lot of things. I've got very much freelance kind of mentality that beginning, certainly. But my background is I'm actually from originally from Suffolk and then brought up in the Midlands on my background. So I was passionate about photography, so I was top on DH, trained in 76 what was then called politics in Central London very political very much around the emergence of feminism, gay liberation, you know, all of the kind of stuff around rights and, you know, seeing lots of those things were all playing out when I was really young. And photography for May was a tool to engage with people and exposed different voices. Did stopped paying good money out of that. Became a care assistant in Children on got into social work. So for me, Yeah, trade in Leicester. That's a
Yeah, lots of really interesting stuff going on. There were a lot of sexual abuse with your women Was sorry into what they used to call them. Quite funny. Intermediate treatment, which is actually trying to work with young people before they got into the care system. Okay. Also did a lot of health. So, you know, go up background in social work. Came to a solution to that on cause I would see people coming around time, time again. You know, you need some sort of more radical approach is tio, I think sporting people. But I was still doing my fate, and I was still I was teaching photography. So for me, for top photography is a way of exploring issues on DH supporting people tto have voice and a better understanding of the context in which there Which they So yeah,
really suffering a Sprinkle
was a poet, but so very much about getting into the community media. Is it wass? Sort of then understanding that kind of hierarchies around media production. You know, that's into his idea that he started in communion community media. But we're actually trying to get to broadcast to work baby safe. Actually, that was never any one thing. My thing was, it was always really interesting. Teo, explore how how people had ownership of their identity and things like that. So that's that's kind of where I came Teo, then giving up social work. So I really couldn't bear it. And although I have massive respect social, because I have to say that they have a really tough, tough job on then trying to think of different ways off supporting change, very system, you know, and particularly young people, I was always re passionate about you know, the fact that where your ward and seems to determine your life opportunities and that's just simply not there has to be said. The system that we've got clearly isn't working for everybody, So what can we do? And so that's why I can't come from. So I came here to know West on this residency. It was residency with other other artistic presents. Is looking at the relationship between arts on health. Okay, so that was on that. That's quite early
on you, from funded
health promotion service. That was a brilliant past. Could affect coordinated, that
aggressive. It was a message
from the other aggressive that Ruth coordinated was thie evaluation report, evaluated and made the case for the benefit of arts in health and well, being a failed. So I came in to no West with a brief to work with photography, work with adults, actually, not young people. You were experiencing some kind of help challenges. Health very quickly became well being. And I work with all sorts of groups from people with mental health, long term health issues, menopause, alcohol issues, independence issues, all kinds of, um, all kinds of groups. Cut work with lows of really interesting people in the community was really well supported by the community. Way kind of developed from really literally from grassroots up, developing our ideas and developing projects. Project by Project on Got very involved with working with young people because it was clear there was not a lot for young people around here. They were closing the secondary school.
When was this Rather roughly.
This's 50 20 years.
But new millennium?
Yeah, just the beginning of when, you know, it was the regeneration. Funding was coming in to town riots around here. There was a perception that, you know, the education that was on offer here for young people was pretty shocking. A lot really shocking on DH. Young people really experience discrimination in a way that was was staggering. Two made time. You know, one of my 1st 1 of the first try an easy work. She would talk very eloquently about what it feels like to be to tell something in here for a job interview that you from, um, no West. You could feel the door closing.
Really? That kind of love A woman. Palpable discrimination.
Yeah. Yeah, she was a lot of that kind of that experience of feeling like an outsider and very strong. Very strong networks and social connexions in community lots and lots of challenges. Underemployment, industry and business closing from Imperial Factory to make bag. Robinson's all of these things ointment on very cyclical. So it wasn't Just one generation had been going on. You say
lots of problems. And so you see, you did this residence in new clothes. If you establish that kind of demand
people wanted to work with with me and lots of other freelances filmmakers, Penny, you know, brilliant filmmaker distant director,
is it, honey, You know, so and so is based on, you know, the question is, how did this become? Because you can already see the number on the kind of version of what you did Not. So how did that suddenly become? Something even rubberstamp nickel on organisation something physical space and something. This what is gradually just it was a deliberate steps with started, like, these big mole stands
on end efficient. Okay,
that's very interesting. Never coordination.
But that was
about it. Never. Because I always felt like space when I was driving. At some point, it felt like to do this well, to wrap up this actually has turned into a bit. But to do this felt like it would have needed very deliberate actions, a big consciousness, or at some point, it will become quite deliberate. But from what you're saying? Actually, it sounds like Greek really continue to grow organically is up. There were
organically, but that's not so. It wasn't deliberate in step because it was informed by the practise.
This very interesting.
It wasn't a kind of random set of I mean, there was there was luck. There was also a lot of bad, but you know, that's not point. The point is that we learn about each step. We learned what needed come next. So, you know, that's why it's taken. It feels like it's taken my working life. You get to where we are now. It feels now just beginning. In many ways, they always feels like that to me that we're only just beginning. But every step wass Okay, so now we need to sound. So I was employed by a local health association, have still around a local people they employed May they supported. May we became bigger than in many ways or biggest, perhaps not quite the right word. It's it's We were more specific back what we're doing.
It's really important for a ll this kind of stuff. It's a common thing. So
they spawned a city lights and then we had to create our own organisations. And then there was that into the unknown hand he set up a charity Had he write a business plan? How do you attract funding for that? On the way we did a pilot which was called It's called Letters from the West. I think it was called on DH Then that informed a case. And now we need Teo. Get more equipment now we need to get premises. So we moved into We were very involved at that time in consulting people in engaging people in the development of a new health park when we were using media to do that and are, you know, And that was an actor who was William Budd character. So it was all so I had to be this creatively, lots of different people on. So then it was OK, so we're helping a ll. The doctors and the dentist will have to move at this crumbling health centre. Maybe we should move in that. So we moved into that happens on this site here way actually to go from one room. And then we basically took over most of the building by staff. Um, yeah, the building was clear. He was leaving King and there were bars on the window when we couldn't secure the equipment way. We're doing all sorts of begging borrowing equipment, software anyway, So you kind of get everything. This is not sustainable. So we need to build a building. Big step being spared. You need a lot, but to which are for whom To whom? I'm very grateful. But actually, the key thing was we set up a project with young people to design
serious Britain. So this brings us neatly with that ran turd to where we began, which is a circular conversation. Or Johnny would say so at this point. As you said, you know, there's clearly a lot of latent demand you've scaled. You realise your leaky buildings need to replaced and you realise this is a thing, and it also sounds like you've already established quite a lot of kind of practise. I call it and say, and you referred to this kind of co creation because what I thought might be good. Now we've got a basic understanding. We hit a frontal way this happened, which I thought was kind of I didn't think they could be an obvious way that you came to do this. But actually, we're beginning what you explain. You're uniquely suited to create something which is great. Yes. Yeah, I say we go to your co creation crisis around the building where you learn what informed it and everything else and maybe talk about a couple of other things that you've done so
co creation may so that that kind of it's easy to talk is easy to talk about having co created the building because e. C had process works and actually what we end procreation meant that we genuinely engaged at a deep level with people in the community. Young people grow up, influence their families, their grand parents and siblings coming behind them. So in beds that ownership in the community. But it also most importantly, and I think this point gets Mrs co creation creates a really exciting ideas way I'll come up with, You know, this needed to be environmental. They built a straw. You know most of our funding completely the other way. If you do co creation on sticked you, you you commit to it. Then you have to follow through what you learned from that. So there were several times when people funders in particular, would say, I don't know about Karen You need to do at this or you need to move it from where you decide where where this cooperation processes has send the builder moving here would be much easier. What
were the reasons? It would just be simplest building? Would you? Because because they wanted
it because the count's want to build another building somewhere else. Actually, Really? And what we can't do that? Because that's not what we've. That's no what we have developed this cooperation process, building active materials or don't didn't say that. Well, actually, there are. You have if you're gonna create, you have to and you have Teo compromise on. It's always can't compromise on basic and agreements that we've arrived at with people.
I mean, the more you get out there and see the press, cooperation relies on a hell of a lot of trust. Trust.
Trust is key. You have to build trust and trust is how you build agency, you know. So that's that for me. It's a lot of what we're involved in now is the building trust and we're building agency and a way that people can really in a world where they feel that they haven't. We all feel that we have no control way can actually make choices, and we can see those choices come to life.
That's fascinating. So if we put the physical space inside something we've already started, it is really not the most important what you're doing. Could you give an example of whether the ideas just expressed were in project for me, if you see the remains and then kind of impact that creative just like me
if you that's alright, breath. But I think there's one is around that we've called the Bristol approach to citizen sentencing, which is how do we design technology with people? But on that technology addresses is purposeful because it addresses a challenge that people are experiencing. So we've worked that through. We've been doing a lot of projects right now, and it's not the end game is no. Some whiz bang technology involves technology. It's all the other things that wrap around it to like the systems on the ways in which people understand the technology really important. Digital go on back to
prescribe some people. There's a broadcast through the process
of designing technology, and we've bean experimenting with in relation to dampen homes, toe air quality,
really practical things. You
really practical things. But what you start to explore with people is how the data is being used, What people would like the dead to be used and how they don't want it to be used. How, what kind of feedback they want from the technology. What are the challenges around connectivity? And what is the difference between what technology promises? You
issues with promises anyway? So so
that coded technologies that is a long term co designing solutions to problems that polling technology pass us that what
you think that's great. And I just just to be clear, kind of listening to their suits and sensing project like Imagine it could be just some basics, Doctor. And how are we going on what the number of senses will number of people just tio no. Three
to four years. For years, we've been working with data data before that, Yeah, this this prescription, something is probably four years. We created a frog sensor that were quite well known, that type way create working with you. We we created some lady bird senses that go on bicycles and be my rucksack or taxi drivers using one point. But actually, the key about some of this is that there are always new sense is being introduced in citizen science is a big thing, so we're kind of interested in how you pull a lot of this stuff off the chef. But you might want a hacking or re redevelop air depending on what he's using it. For
which I kind of proving about exciting. That's fascinating is the name that you have big ideas, good ideas and very intentional ideas. I think what we're trying to delay impacted grades, and that's interesting discussed. But I think the thing that you're posing over that realising just high, interesting the actual mechanics of what dio sometimes as well, which just the sensors themselves in the way you have that impact. I take names like, I think that's very cool when I do. I think it's so baked into the culture of this place that actually the mechanics projects really interesting. Well, I
think the other so nothing I haven't talked about wait up this factory. The factory where we can fabricate
Coach Booth during communities and maybe nose her out of this. But you know something? D'oh! Not many people during bloody factory, right? So don't be modest. Factory school. I've had a tour of it. I love the factory. So why is the factory where the car was going?
Okay, so the storey of how we got lace is typical of us. I suppose so. So we what? They were building a new green business park here. We've seen you know, we've been supporting,
you know, West
no less. So we had bean encouraging people to participate in conversations about this new green business park on. Believe me, there are a lot of sceptics around. You want to do something green in West Green Fund to European money at camp. So we persuaded count. So who were going to spend X amount of money or furniture to actually commissioned us to make the furniture? To use that money that we're going to spend from a catalogue to give it to us. We would work with artists on the community. Tio Tio provide furniture for that building wearing that's what
caused the origins
so that they set up a pop up furniture factory Proper furniture factory in a disused youth centre. Way invited other people who were interested. You analogy. Steve was doing digital embroidering, so encourage other people to come and use space. Got space running, that's
all. This is just very quickly to the you prevent accountable Officer Mature. I was up for City Hall when they weigh.
Took a lot of city hall furniture. That was, like death that was the size of a washing machine. You know, washing machine sized computer on Wade took a lot of that actually cut it. We were with artist designed systems to cut that down in grave or whatever. Use different paint methods to actually create a Because we have to do this. It scare you had 500
three other thing I was gonna get Teo, say, 500 pieces of French
way used tio. We had two approaches. One was to repurpose furniture from city Hall and the other was to work with 00 open desk to design Teo design. CNC cut furniture. So we were learning CNC laser cutting skills on DH. How to make French and Designing Way worked with them to design the forward booths as well. So we
got used to just another day at the office.
What if you have an approach that is, there are gonna be We're gonna do this around co design, do this environmentally possible, McGinty But we're also thinking about the future off making, you know, because obviously, this is a community where there are a lot of builders, tradespeople and where people is part of culture to make things on also part of culture to make you mend U. S. A. So how do we have? We progressed. So yes, way variously way moved our CNC machine laser cutters into the new business park
Food business. Yeah, that's making him.
So we took one of the units because actually, what we had built was a mass of people who wanted to be involved in this journey with us. So that way do is you. You experiment by doing it and bring people with you. Yeah, you know, then we explored over Could we make money making furniture? The answer to that is no people who could change places they explored that actually, that whole thing about prototyping giving people skills and digital making you know that it's absolutely buzzing. So
what is it that way? There you go, Teo. What's your factory? And we
have two units we're about to refurbish it with. What about you, Kate?
Because there's already should be said a lot of kids.
There's a lot of great,
really cool stuff.
Yeah, that's CNC laser cutters, but it's also digital embroidery. Vacuum Foot's all kinds of like you would see in a fat black. People are familiar with that, but this where what we try and do is kind of make sure that we have a reason for using it as well. Way have young people's groups going in there make a city's really brilliant project that we're doing with young people teaching them making skills, problem solving. Tio. We have lots of parties enterprise support skills programme. So it's buzzing on DH. This's about opening up access to this kind of digital kit to this community in particular,
quite yes, because I keep dragging you down to just basic facts and figures and try and frame of this. But you know, so you have those factories amazing, like I think its form is pretty bloody interesting. It sounds extremely bopped on, it seems to say, Yeah, I mean, you talked about procreation, importance, everything else. What will impact as the factory there on a project basis, creating or agency
that's included has given a lot of people new skills and enabled them to get different kinds of jobs, better paid jobs. Often it's enable people to create things that are useful. I mean, I think a really good example, which is the other co creation project, one of the other procreation don't talk about way can make, which is we can make housing.
Yeah, which is also pretty way
are designed with the community solutions to the housing shortage here. So we know we don't medicine Mean has been leading this project. Total brilliant person has Bean. She's bean with her team working with community. First, to start off with what does the housing shortage? What's the housing crisis look like in this community and feel like it's experienced way thiss community that the housing here is national three bedroom. Okay, so what it looks like is people either have to demonstrate they are really in need and that crisis to get social housing. Nobody really wants to do that. Oh, they have to have a shed load of money and the salary's in this area. You know, we all know that house is really expensive in Bristol. So the housing system provision is bailing most people in this community.
That is obviously a fundamental threat to the community. Is that so?
What you have is you have three bedroom houses where there are not enough people in them. And we have examples of people where relatives have died and young people are being told they got to be rehoused after their community because there is no one or two bedroom that's not healthy for anybody. So we have under a occupancy your people. Families change, and we have over occupancy where you've got three generations of family trying Teo Way have
peculiar Jones. I thought about it. But no, no. West looks very similar. Every day is a larger three bits. She was they're
not that That's a lot of built
along the nature of the
Yeah, yeah, 40 three. And so So I think I know what I'm saying is that the first thing was to explore what hasn't needed so described to me thirties changing mobility needs. Three bedroom houses have change on thie. Fourth kind of is people. A lot of people have bought their homes here, but it's quite hard to imagine how you're going to and continue living when you retire with your income is going to come from the people. So what? What people trying to do things with their home but what we learned through doing funny, kind of already dated kind of thing. We learned that and even twice as likely to be turned down for planning permission. In No West, you were being lifted, even though in Clifton a lot of properties, period. Yeah, it's That's because So
Clifton on the world's spectrum, where would you put it on top top. So
even though the buildings were listed, buildings all the time with people have sappy know how funds really t get
your conclusion from that
way. So we know what saying it's What we learned was that people were trying to solve the problem off houses Children do try on. This is a Miss Miss Conception. I think that the less well off neighbourhoods and poor people don't transcend their own problems because of you, but the
system is lazy thinking. Yeah, type Wait s So
we've been working with the community and with lots of lots of different people in the community to look at. How do we How do we develop the assets that we've got to have? What land have we got? The property developers who can't compete with you. Can we develop? So that's garden sites in between properties and corner side. So we have got planned. It's quite difficult around the ownership. So you think Maddie, assemble that way. Have a design code that enables people Teo get through planning, but also is more aspirational than the basic. And how do you do We think about affordability and how much this development, how much is development benefit the community in perpetuity way. Make sure that we're build. We build access. Teo Teo. So this
again biggie is a great these big ideas.
How it connects the factory. Yeah. Is this so we're at the place where way are taking some of the plants. Teo planning what to build
what We have already got units because you've referenced design kids and limitations on space potential and so on and so forth. So D Do you have a prototype? So you know who chairs way? Do
you have a prototype, which is Tam, which is built by white design? Okay, pretext. That's a particular type of construction. It's great. It's compressed straw, I think within we can make. We are decently, our system agnostic. So we are working with other systems. Ahs. Well, I mean, we're a big fan of town, but we also need other systems on. The idea is, is that we could build them locally in our factory. So what? The idea would be to demonstrate how we can actually fabricate the homes to a standard unit? Has to be. I stand on then how to be scanned. So again it's it's kind of how do you go from the youth club to the to the where we're doing fabrication to having two units will then have way. Ultimately have a housing factory that builds the houses teachers gives, provides jobs, waken, explore skills on where we can also innovate,
which is bloody incredible because he could see you talking. It's a full kind of circular economy type play united conceived like they built like the addressing local meat. I mean the other thing that strikes that really jumps into White say impressive is that it would really niche problem to solve overseas film nature people here. But notice or not even the problem. Sorry, it's a niche thing to notice. The idea that I'm getting planning permission here is not very successful that Clifton So you know, I mean, like, you have to be deeply embedded community to notice that it's kind of been even to bullet turn to address stuff. And that's just, I think, demonstrates in success and some cement. Thank you, but they co
creation is should be about really creating a space for non hierarchical contributions of expertise. So what I mean is that people
cities around the house experiencing it, So you have tio. It's no good sort of. This is the problem we have with kind of some sort. Some kinds of research is that people who are not no embedded in the problem are shining a light on the problem. But they're saying it from their perspective, rather from seeing and exploring it from the perspective of the people who are mean and experiencing the challenge. And I think that that's what we can make it very well. It's to really go in deep bond. Explore. What are all of the challenges and experiences and knowledge that's embedded in that? That situation. But then look at what the assets are, you know? So the assets that we uncovered, what they did, they did. They serve you? Well, How many sites have you got in this community that could potentially be about What is 3003? No, you would develop That
you're saying is even half, but
well, 10%. 300 to be. 300 new homes of the community could build itself within this community. And as you point that there are many, um, there are many communities states that look like this one.
Exactly. With a way with old pieces. Yeah. So when you took
that scale, Okay, so, yes, we're doing it very particularly from this experience, but these this experience exists in lots and lots of places. There are principles around how how you I have to do with a particular place. But this is no about it being just solving the problems of this community.
This is Britain. From what you said, what do you think you love and possibly just like this project possibly could just talk to the lens like work you've done. What is it? The Eveland that you think could indeed should be applied nationally. I appreciate us a huge, you know, pro question. You've given one example here with the housing. Maybe there's more to unpack around around the house. Yeah. I mean, what? The key things you like, Cho creations coming through. Sustainability, Ugo, since everything you do is genuine and you see through you see some things. But what sort of way? Last time I did get out
all the time. Oh, it's lovely what you do, carry. But you're working in the West. You know, we've got big problems.
That wasn't my question. Okay, I'm confident. So let's talk positive. I'm No, no, no. Crystal said it seems what? They lived us. We d stuff that we need scales to make system. I'm a massive believer. I I think what you did here could be a system change. And it seems like the driver and you chest before the cuts start. The organisation as a national international grateful. So you could if you were developing, practise, practise by definition means something that people can replicate and become. Come say, I also question pretty frame the question. That's kind of what I think. So
I think that the co creation so more investment in co creation process rather than I trust that it will, it will. It will come up with scaleable and share a bowl. Actually terrible, scalable and interesting approaches and solutions. So what people? So I think it's the investment in that process and connecting on co creation processes from different places. Disciplines together is key. So, you know, we're keen to look at how, how, what the experience in other neighbourhoods and how we share knowledge. And we don't have to keep repeating that,
say, repeating my friend, I have this in a load of drugs. You build another app so that I could have told you know to You could have
tech development is if you invested in the princess, but before that around, identify what the needs are ritual right? Absolutely much better Focus on the end game at the end
of your product, it's funny. People come problems like otherwise intelligent, rational people. When it comes to creative stuff, democracy, stuff community stuff. They just start the room and made good night. I didn't know if I find out because people think feels so obvious when he started in our case with users and problems, right? Like in your case, you could use problems in a very nice way to describe it.
I think the other thing is that around cockroach. It has to be weak because we don't talk very much about this. It has to be creative. And it has to be, yes, to tap into that joy off, fix off experimenting, being curious of playing off, having fun. You know a lot of the problems that we've got around lack of engagement with people's because why would people want to be engaged with with endless meetings in vicious argument?
So this is really interesting. I mean, toe cut. OK, but say one many things we don't talk about. I want a role like art in community and things like that. Again. You see, you are tackling defined, tricky problems, have a big impact, resides deeply, deeply practical, could have been talking so seriously it's seen. Obviously, this is about art and media on things that that say and I personally think just even box down consultation process is particularly ones that relate to place whatever should I can be more thunk like George Ferguson was good that despite unique people, opinions on George Bush waded some genuinely fun stuff and then elicited a great response, broad response and, crucially, a different type of response in that role. Basic role. Fun, it seems really always, too may say, I don't know. I don't see this in a structured way, but yeah, what is that? How have you managed to weave in art from a LL This creativity? Because people think it's a
conversation. If you focus on the or the it's not the kind of question that you want answered. It's like the difference between surveys on having a discussion about something. So I think so. So I think this is actually practise is a good way to talk about how we're getting involved young people, you know, because how we involved young people, it's way use that passion music around making games, or or making films or taking photographs or creating some kind of something wonderful painting. What does it really matter but that you tap into that creativity. And you threw that talking to the other thing. The people are, which is half, which is their passion for the moment, what with the environment and mental, addressing health issues. So you know, you talk in Teo. But if you just focus on the issue and you don't give people the tools to explore that with tools to actually share their opinions, then you're taking to too, sometimes quite place. So in a way, that the media in the booth media in the arts and technology is a way of as off actually having having conversations in a much more creative, productive kind of space rather than just a pin opinion, I suppose. And it also enables you to be able to come up with solutions. So so much of what I think of what's going on in society at the moment. It's so negative, so confrontation. Absolutely. And it's just it's just black white, yes, against where's actually most solutions in another space and through negotiation. And that's
that's so interesting, you know, in my world, people to bang on about deliberations in the broader sense you're talking like what you'll say. It talked in this century too secretive process is kind off. But I think
it's gonna be fun because people are so turned off by thiss. Yeah, that you must do stuff. I mean, they are not very early on. You do not tell people you will get nothing done if you try and tell people. Teo running an organisational working in the community, that is No,
it's actually a powerful little tourism, actually. So yes, in particular than young people say when when turned up today is half term, there is, frankly, an absolute bloody racket going on. Instead, it is great is the right racket. So I mean, there's tonnes of young people say there was there was abundance. Does appear to be leaving Abuse Room's recording studio, which were in the truth. Yeah, I know you kind of referred to that, but if we could just, maybe just a summary tell us more. Yeah. I mean, what's the kind of young people aspect to you because you've got maybe a traditional community centre thing, keeping kids busy and with the arts or whatever, which is pretty good aim in of itself. But with a name like, what is the importance to the organisation like space to what you're trying to do because it seems like you're doing so much like the housing is maybe the entire families and generation problems. But today says the important question. But maybe I'm packing.
I think for the young people, it's to give way. We have the young people. Seems it's led by meaning form, but brilliant leading and, um, working with developing skills of both your people and also within the team on DH, I think so what? What's what do you say we off? It's voluntary. You come here because I want to come here. It's a safe space. It's a space where they can grow at their pace and we support. So we have a sort of approach Teo understanding that sort of that growth growth of young people on DH. We get want to give them an inspiring experience, a sort of light bulb moment. Andi so isn't about trying to explore with young people whole range of different things mix up. So yes, we have open sessions running throughout the week in music, in coding, in creative can practise away kinds of things, bringing in lots of different people from the city, but we also run retreats. The studio just run a retreat this weekend will grow. They're running a programme of them with young women were working with stone mats from London looking at how to engage more women in technology but also creativity. The way that we're doing it is to tapping to one of the kind of issues that these three different young women care about on. How do we enable them through teaching lots of schools and lots of conversation? How do we teach them? Tio? I have a voice. Have a voice and tio start to work out some of the things that they want to dio you forward on. It's brilliant. What I think they're very good at doing is building pain, pain networks, tackling kind of the under representation ofthe groups in, you know, creative culture. Attacking two streets. That's
you that's pretty on disease. They are underrepresented. Looked into Yes. Is there a progression from they might come into allocated course Just coming due before? Do you see people progressing? Maybe start a project to make its way? See, they didn't say
but in part
so key about that is the doctor being here in a long term. So we're seeing lots of people come in perhaps a bit disruptive because they're not getting on school. Whatever engaged for him? Nothing on gain confidence game skills, actually, that has an impact on how they have things are for school for them. But then they what? I hope you did because we spent a lot of listening to you. People start to create the kind of projects that they can move on. Tio, we offer work experience as well. Way have people coming back. And then we we're very good tailoring to meet people's needs. But also
Coco create cable dating, also
talking into other networks. Eso always understanding what is what is where is the gap here? It was not going on. So, you know, I think it was interesting. We wouldn't club coding kind of things years. He's also work mainstream on. Then what? Not what? A lot of this is particularly interesting that actually also going into schools and helping teachers that So let's go. So you think we do take that kind of okay? What? We need to be giving people the opportunity to explore. Then who else might. It might do that for more. Young people
go to get a network.
Yeah. Yeah. So I think we thought quite a lot. What are the skills that were teaching? Yeah, on DH. Are we teaching them to you? So it's underrepresented groups on teaching skills that probably aren't available to be taught in lots of other places in mainstream. It's a combination of, I think, opening up access for people, but also about then trying to spread. These are the kind of skills that we should take shipping more mainstream because the education system is not keeping up.
Yeah, and funnily enough, I mean, it seems that some of the things you teach them some of the most in demand skills with the 21st century as well. So it's kind of a quality skills?
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think we haven't. We haven't kind of grass that I don't think you know that So factory is a really good example. I suppose we've been teaching a lot of skills that have ranged from basic C and C teaching people about eye on. I don't know that access to that kind of a range of skills doesn't really exist maintained a moment. But these are the skills that even if what we're doing is raising all that, that's what this is about. What this means is what side scared means. Okay, so now these might be new routes
way. It's cheese, a career. It's cool, whatever way. But when you need this kind of very engineer, you could be, like, very tangible. Whether Zarek nosing about 15 job roles most kids are 18 could even name so they wouldn't even know what subject like. And if you if you could work into obscurity these days, you're gonna get paid. Yeah, you need to make that field. What's that? May have actually just need coatings. Finish it with Helen Side, the otherness of its grand. I completely agree. One thing was going to see some. Any pain. He does the bone Sammy pains. The Coble liberating right it was living in was because I think
Sammy pain bonnets. Turkey Brilliant. Sonny's in Leicester plane. No, West, You go? Yeah, came here is a junior digital producer on, and I think I think she degree that we introduced her to coding on data. I'm thinking about data and things, but I think most importantly what she got completely immersed in his co design, a CZ they produced, they produce living, living
with that living memory eyes is cool.
It was really cool. It was a cardboard living room, but embedded in its senses. On surveys, they created a website. So they took this around, told around the community website they're told around community to collect information ranging from what people have breakfast on what food they had access to that kind of their choices around traffic transport to their choices, about jobs, what they thought about the area. It was brilliant from a window that you threw a brick at that made crashing noises. It was really cool, a really good way off, engaging people data and decision making. So she got actually was part of a team of eight of them that's actually eighties now, while we have an agency called eight. So they way that was a scheme that we fought really hard to set up way ensured that we took on eight trainees who were paid because otherwise a lot of people around here couldn't access that kind of training. They worked on road projects. We're talking lots of home range of digital school's data. Visualisations goes way ahead of its time, but I think, you know, and Sammy came back instantly because
he worked. So what do these Do you mind? Yeah, she's
totally brilliant. Open Bionics three D printed prosthetic arms, but actually their hero arms for Children. And that's what I love is that she's turned this nation turn. This notion of disability is a problem to actually as being a superpower, you know, on DH, they Sammy came back with Tilly, one of their ambassadors. Young, 13 14 came back and presented to a whole group of young girls. 13 year olds really mixed group on DH to see the look off amazement. What's that from these other girls about what they had achieved on that? Actually, you know, Sammy was to run here. She didn't have a privileged background come from outer space or something. You know, that's really important, but I think so. I think you know, Sammy in gaol done amazing things, but I hope that some of the kind of co design I'm thinking things through from the people that you you products have been working to create what do you doing that with people? You're doing that really creative.
That's absolutely theme running through with this. And in fact, just reflecting on what we've talked about. It seems I keep dragging you about Teo. Look at that incredible one ofthe success. Storey or you built a bloody factory. You built a building most, or dragon. Wait. Sorry. You we no idea. Prettiest, but basic language. But But, you know, I don't get down because I think people listening. No way. That's really cool. No way. That's really cool. But it seems like you care eyes again, this idea of doing things in a genuinely systematic way, which thinks impressive. And it seems that you do take for quite literally, whole system's views are gonna do this. We'll need to do this. But I think that's quite ready because I think it's easier. Just talk about one off examples of such a process. But it seems that is inherent in what you do and think possibly, and the driver's armed. This whole thing is just that. How did you make these systematic changes before life cycle of a problem maybe describe it? Actually, things credit. Wait, it's about
it's built yet building on these things. So you keep growing it. That's being in it for the long term. And
it's not just a systematic is looking so
so. Yet we are path we're living Lab. To use that term very often is, is it's kind of people, but the whole thing is
we're moving on. Let's start
with the European Network of Living Labs, where alliance work work internationally. And there are Connexion, Teo creation. And how do you beg location much more widely?
Well, this is because this is gradually because one thing's I've honestly was the Connexion between the hyper local staff and then connecting into life, International National Thinking Act, or adding to the knowledge, whatever. Say what? Your thoughts on that subject I know this is something I think that I would turn to in terms of scaling in a slightly oblique fashions, wants the even broader thoughts on this role that you will work place and working there, the way you feel in place until you do
so quite like really, really important, because that's where a lot off with real, I think learning comes from him on the innovation, which is which I think people don't don't always see that, but the innovation through that kind of in depth process is important. But I think there
must certainly demonstrates that last few few minutes genuine invasion.
So then there's part of you looking back into the city. For example, how do you connect up communities that may be similar? Share that learning how to share that. Learning back into the city administration off city ecosystem? And how do you You grow that to this back? And then there's the then from that concern has been growing that regionally, even that there's all sorts of kind of pockets of different expertise is whether that be, I don't know my ability or could you want to tap into. We are hard local level what, talking to a whole range of skills, doing those in and then also to take our learning back into those spaces. That's what it's about. And then you do that and then you do that globally. You know, we work on a lot of we did work. We are. I did a lot of European projects, actually still got some European projects, but working with international partners to share that come from very different or similar experiences. But you share the learning, you and you, you transfer some of the expertise is across. So I think that that that we're trying really hard. Tio Tio explain that. But to explain that hyperlocal city regional global kind of interplay is really important.
Tricky. I'm trying to have some of the ideas of our time because I speak what it speaks off. Obviously I've said I was hyper connected into which is a little bit late, question wise, like it needs to tear it up. I mean, surely that's the problem of globalisation and the problems that causes because it seems weird day, like obviously, globalisation is having a bad effect on everyone. The popular is a Brexit and all that kind of stuff, but it's also massively changing communities at the most local level, kind of wiggle in. It seems like the most effective answer to globalisation. Actually, all hyper excited broad brush trade, let's reduce carbon. Let's yes, I really agree. I always find it weird that the answers to the biggest problems about time or actually maybe potentially very lately I kind of agree. Maybe I
agree with you, but I think you always get So when you talk to climate change, you we really need to be doing with people about, uh you know what? How did they understand the impacts on them? One of the behaviours that they need to change to improve the situation, you know, what is it and how do you work through with people what they are, what works for them? And then there's the kind of big political will if you stop funding this kind of energy generation, then we can do it at scan. So I think you know. So we do get rubbished sometimes for being so it is just not enough. But I think people are buying into Is is the most important and so that Onda actually have a voice in the decisions. You make back big decisions. It is important. So the hyper local needs me where it's at. Why I think we are also investing a lot of time along with other organisations in the area, into thinking about, you know, Western lines so hyper local.
So that's building from local way. Still very
Loker, even looking at how do we as local organisations, what better together both with residents and with an external late tio two other organisations to create more decision making a more on developed kind of activity. You're pregnant. I think that is relevant people on involves more people into doing things We that they want to see it if that makes it the back way we need to get We need to be able to describe this because there is a danger that sort of politicians see, this is all right. They're gonna turn the whole of the voluntary sector on communities into volunteers who will fill our social care.
Yeah, I'm talking like that playing the different exist. I mean, this seems like coordinating with coordination. Maybe I may be able to gain more power to them. Influence institutions and structures, Maybe which is possibly a little Sergio because, Well, whether you agree with that with a part of the alliance is about creating almost like a block, Shall we say many of them? It is. It is.
One of the things that were particularly we have focused on is having a preplanning protocol for the community to influence the the developed that comes from practise bizarre. Indeed, cats so so developments coming into this queen because there's a lot of green green space to develop way. Have a voice in there and without just going head to head and say We don't want this How did the influence the development in a positive way said that. So we tried to create a structure that's low in bureaucracy, crying engagement
with dreams of power
can actually benefit,
Which is getting us No, just like pressure. Great snow, like,
Yeah, it's not
my people. Well, that's really that guy's crapping on. I feel like we could talk about that specifically for awhile, but I know that you have carnal thoughts about local democracy. I mean, everything we've talked about effect plays into the idea of democracy anyway. And I think we basic rate again. And I don't want to put words in your mouth. Local talks in particular, it doesn't work terribly well. She's quite an easy thing to say. Actually, there are structures that bring in accountability and blah, blah, blah. But they're not very good to see you today again. This card in the group questions just assume they have thoughts. I mean, how, Heidi easing decision making, how well Do you think decision making works locally and say Bristol? Or just you know, we're just anywhere really in this country, like how good is local decision making war? Some of the challenges around it And what have you learned? I supposed todo a love this world. How that might be improved or influenced me. Refer to this block, which is kind of woke up,
say there. So there are lots of different levels of decisions. You
really that's the first thing democracies bloody complicated.
So in a world with community where people don't feel I have power Teo influence decisions that I made around their lives, it's kind of a challenging question. So it's what a lot of people say. Well, I don't have any influence on that, so I think the way we work is t try and create spaces where people come on, make choices, make genuine choices. So I think feedback. Seeing the impact on what your decision, what the impact your decision has had a really, really important first point. So So you know, one of the co creation projects that we do, it's really important that there's be back about what came out of that. Then you can see how you influence that. You So So I think there's something about for us about Okay, What? Where can we pick our influencing decision making, um, fields if you lie. So the preplanning particle is one. This's all coming at people. So I know we've got no We've got no control over this. Development winds. Okay, but okay. So how do we get into the system on Demonstrate that if you engage with us, there will be a better solution. You know, that is intended with stopping things from that. Just shouldn't be happening, right? Invoking kind of or whatever. So you know, there's two sides to it. So I think for us that kind of how do we It comes back to how we empower people to make decisions is really important and had to see that their efforts are wasted.
I mean, that's just come screaming. And now you start saying it seems like a lot of war. You do, you know, collectors and strong tea is to empower communities. And it's a fundamental starting position that unless they are empowered, they don't have agency every kind of anything, which I think is I'm just stating the obvious, but I think it's a really important point. It seems like that's where you're leading tea on. The second thing is you then go after very kind of tangible problems and ways routes into the system and routes into the system by difficult routes into power stretches. You might say that. So I just another thing that's that's really, really interesting so
that some of the things that I think we've learned our difficult is transparent. Say okay, go show, show a journey that you go on. My decisions are made and has bean. That's how do you do that? Given that we always so many different forms of communication, you had an E can't. Once I do that, how do you How do you actually arrive? A process that shows the decision has been made collectively. And you know what? You really hard.
And if you have an idea how we might do that, I'm always way fishing around way.
Want to explore that, you know, so that the approach has been very much around Decisions are teo decisions through creating solutions rather than yes, no decisions.
I tell you, the difference on buying your options horses
process. We go through to come up with a solution
that's grounded in the problems. That the opposition is interesting because that, really is what in a crude definitely could be agreed definition of just policy. There's a problem in the world. What can we do in terms of the League of Government to solve it? And there's a written document describing actions, right, that kind of shit as we know it mostly it might be a local level, you know, we've got your elections coming up so modern tonight. Agillion. He has to be built, right? Easier. Good idea to build housing Philip II and ruining the view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. I'm not sure it's not for me to go, is the fact is not just for election. Well yet. But look, the driver there you could dress up. It's The problem is we don't It is, But it really did. Dr. Harris is an election coming up. And so much decision making is like I'm being recorded. But you're suggesting a problem. Yeah. Okay.
But what does that look like? People that here I'm not interested in the housing problem for Londoners who decide that they're going to cash in that that house in London coming by best property. You're interested in the excuse the market, but I'm interested in the housing challengers for people who live here are young people. Car can't find anywhere to
live. But that's what's so great, because this kind of get back to the fact that you stop like the most local level, and you kind of iterated beyond that. But actually bumping into a magical problems through this and actually funny all the stuff we talked about, like what? You're trying to defuse the community and co creator involved to solve problems in the community and like a lot of similar what would profess to be doing but absolutely nothing. A reason why you was different potential successful and has two months to impart is the role of us. You know, it's because lots of people decent list, but it doesn't have the same impact. So I think so. That feels to me like heart from the fact that he cared you get collective, you, all of you. But it seems our artists to complete the defining factor between success of mediocrity, you know, would argue This is a successful say. I never talked around it, but if we define it as such and the differences Theokoles Hi, talk to me that's a pretty cool way. Disagreed with
the practises. Absolutely. I don't talk about things basing grained. It's tricky grand talking about the arts in our practise, actually, because there are lots of different perspectives on this. You know, 11 is what you're using. The artillery instrumentalist way.
That sounds like a boring argument.
You So, Andi, you don't value the arts practise. I think our arts practises is, has has developed over the years, and that's quite it is no bad. It's recognising the professional fact practise of artists. I think that's quite useful starting point. But this is not about set on, although I would say that everybody's created. It's not saying that everybody is an artist, you know. So there, there what artist the artist practise on a Plaza 11 of critical thinking on DH. Different approaches to communication, different approaches to exploring learning, whether that be learning by doing or using all kinds of other tools, you know, in the artist's tool box at the moment is tak, you know attack. Yeah, in fact, So it's that kind of different approach on DH thes tapping into a part off he human nature that is so rich and gives us so much joy. This should be enjoying, you know, kind of serious stuff back. Democracy should be, should be what we want to do,
that that's people say it's just innate. Human beings want toe largely be creative, so why don't more? I mean, that's just a great way of suppressing super conveniences. The Super Net things incredible rich things tap into. And you have done so, I suppose. Why don't we see more of the arts used in Ally's decision making processes? Engage processes? Do you think there's just a fundamental lack of creative people creative thinking even the meanest teacher would do? It has no value creativity, and you need the arts or whatever enough weight value
it enough. There's probably a lot of discussion, different perspectives on the value of the arts and arts patch me, I think. To be fair, the arts council has moved, move much place into our position, and then it wass when, uh, they changed.
Coming from regional
funding agency you, what went So I think the arts counts themselves engaging with some of this debate. So I think that but there are lots of different points of view around and our practise, I think, Um, okay, but we're also being challenged supposed by funders who think that actually, you know, if if everybody's creative and everybody could be an artist, that we don't need to pay artists. Yeah. I mean, this has been tweeting going round recently about council that was asking for a volunteer artist work on projects so so connected to that there is a lack off. We funding quite hard, I think, to find people with skill set that we need, which is another understanding of the arts, practise on the technology on the co creation. So this's skilled work on people think that about anybody We work with. Lots of lots of artist artist. You need to be supported, facilitated in this space, you because we are talking about trust in long term relationships on we're talking about Ah, you know, a journey towards the impact that enables people to create solutions, um, so toward a more democratic process. So I think it's not. It's not just about getting the best artists best whatever. That is messed up in a room and they'll solve world problems. That's not what I'm talking about. So so I think there is a shortage of people with the right skill set to do this work on that. That's why he we see happening at the moment is a lot of people talking about procreation and a lot of people talking about creative practising communities. But they don't really know quite quite often with the date and the get sort of and co creation starts in black focus groups.
Yeah, because I mean surely, that it's become top down on a place to gross, really unique people. We need to do this in this community that's top down, plunking in and surely everything you described is o thes things off with a growing organically like sorry. I was just a little bit way have more
in We have your skills. So
he seems harmless in creative people and artists, but in a very fixed framework facilitates in the broader sense because you're the ones with the knowledge of how to build us into a programme building into a more systematic approach. It's respected do you
still people happen? Mixing below What we do is about mixing it up. I think. I think
that's the way I want to be in a
position where I'm saying that you know that 11 media practitioners Way are talking that practise quality and, oh, off your medium if you like.
It's a funny thing, really, is just coming by. People want Teo for one support. You know you are a charity very well, actually. Just really quickly defund yourself and you know people. But he knows he's listening. There might be people marble support this a large scale. So, yeah, how does that work? What?
That That's the very scary about running this. Your wife is really difficult. It's really difficult moment to fund this This world, you know, it's it's easy to get funding for the development of attack. It is no easy relatively. Yeah, but it is not easy to get fund for process. And it is also not easy to get funding if you've bean somewhere for a long time. Because because funders off. What do you think? This obsession with near
this? You hear it across so many people. So many people I talked to this podcast. Innovation equals new long term, sustained in particles. You, you must have figured out that really work
on DH. Also working in communities are you had a lot of investment in your community. Forward spending another community that has no. So those are my frustration. So he's hard. We are. We've been around a while. People see us as being very successful. We've got a lovely building wear in demand. But actually, we've lost a lot of funding. Yeah, everybody has accepted for May. Yeah, we need We need to work way. Need more support around. How do we make sustainable on how to support the sustainability of the endeavour that were given? No. What we do is is going to be in special enterprise.
Yeah, absolutely spun off stuff, but so young on the funding thing. And we've talked a lot about this can be. And possibly she is a model for other areas to replicate cities. Whatever I know that you shared in here and demand in terms of I guess if you want to talk events and Cheryl, you're inside, right? Or go on the inside. But I was quite read about this whole day They're living Love's just cause anything. Love makes one for me but that's my an issue. But I can see how this is a living laboratory, right? In a sense, it is replicable. So it strikes me that a funding organisation with vision would see this Us. This isn't a less thing. This is a scaleable solution. Toa stuff Take systematic approaches to things and demonstrably work so you can mention futile, bloody cost. But you just kind of Bill Gates to turn. They give you to assume there's gonna be a certain cachet that you would allow you to run this place. It was like trust. Certain amount of cash regenerates itself, may be invested, Say you'll miss Need bill gets breast Caroline is 10 million quid. Board of Governors manages to
keep sharing insights key Chain me inside point Trust that the practise of engagement on innovation that that's what the intervention will come on. The new ideas will come from help connect it to the other people in this social intervention consists
in part with spoke to connect the dots. So I mean, it's like we need old school patronage.
So I have two other people in my team to spend so much chasing funding way. Try really hard. No, to chase funding, but to actually go for things that we need to set out. This is this is our direction of travel, but that
W But because you could water it down a pole over any old nonsense, deliver some pretty Alberto I'm unit that would that's got his own problems, right?
What a lot of people have to do. You think they just go for something that takes them off course? And what? I really want to see it go off? Course it.
You've got such clarity
designing, attempt biology. That's a journey that we, you know, we can see what we need to do, things that we need to experiment. We need to do more work on in a row, don't share agreement, putting that into practise, not just talking about policy. What's that you think about managing networks in the community hall? Anything's each day, but we're constantly prevented from doing that. Interested in anything? I had to do small projects that
I've done than five cycles. Yeah, Teo,
that's the same has the same with people's, you know it's about understanding what the innovation process rather isn't is what needs to be funded in particular, um, projects
down drinking 23 a project lice to hunts, cycles. And then But, you know, the father, you are a beauty. Actually. Explain. Like, I've got a really good idea. That kind of the theme to working on the long term goals behind the overall situation with a system. I suppose you're trying great. And it's Yeah, it's really impressive. Especially given the funding, like complete, like they're up. Say Okay. So in terms of people learn more about everything you guys do you everything. L say, what's the best place to find? Information Just gonna give it go to your Web sites
I on that from their spin off into it to like a Web sites. It's probably find exactly what you want immediately. And the other thing is to just contact Star actually were very people friendly.
I can confirm. OK,
yeah. So I think we're always up for interesting conversations as well.
Good, cute, Good. Well, I mean, this speaks of about definitely nothing else. Okay, great. Well, before we're in any show acts that you have to make to be 17 people listening
something people just like to say, You know, you talk about you put a lot of this on To me, this is about is really about way and all the people stuck with you on the young people that we've seen have gone on to do great things. You know, Michael Smith's of this world who came here in person, not making that film. Sammy pains, you know, it's It's the way it really is The way I'm a community that that is is kind of It's where comes for me
to show the community
chaps beauty shot all people who work here all brilliant manages on everybody.
Bloody good. Shater is everyone in Norwest? Okay, Magic. Well, I can't thank you enough for your time. I think it's gonna be a killer. Absurd. And there you were nervous by the back seat. So you go 1st 1 in the bag. Oh, come on. There we have it. Then another upset in the bag. If you'd like to follow Caroline on Twitter, she's at Caroline, her son or one word, two esses in his son. And you can find out more information about Norwest media centre on their website, which is K w m c dot or dot UK. Thanks for listening to another episode of practical podcast. Stay safe out there.