Over the last 8 years, we have developed an excellent relationship with the University of the West of England having 3rd year History students on placement with us each year as part of their History in the Public Realm module and teams of Masters Architecture students developing significant elements of our projects as part of a Live Brief. University placements and community volunteers underpin our projects and are a valued asset.

Many of our projects address contentious issues and as with A Fine Balance telling the story of abolitionist, philanthropist and tight rope walker, Carlos Trower we gather together a team of people to help tell the story in a sensitive and appropriate manner. For over 5 years, we have been collecting true stories from people who have lived, worked and grown up in Southmead to inform a community soap opera, Meadows to Meaders that is written and performed by local residents. We have used the soap opera as a vehicle to explore the sometimes challenging histories that emerge such as the unlikely friendship that was formed in 1947 between Bristol and Hannover, the first twinning of an English and German city post World War 2. Co-writing the scenes collectively as a cast allows for some searching conversations to take place and for us all to reconsider previous certainties and attitudes.

We ensure that all our projects offer sustainability and provide a legacy that can continue to be applied and shared long beyond the lifetime of the original project. It is the process as much as the final outcome that matters to us, and though all of our projects culminate in some form of final presentation bringing together all of the elements into a celebration, we place equal emphasis on the shared journey.

Upcoming Local Learning projects and placement opportunities

Project overview –
all starting autumn 2022
Potential UWE involvement
Chatterton; A Poetic City
An ongoing National Lottery Heritage Fund project commemorating boy-poet Thomas Chatterton working with local Redcliffe schools and communities to create a poetry atlas exploring Chatterton’s imagined medieval Bristol, the socio-political landscape of his 18th century city as well as the area today and aspirations for the future.

Opportunities for Masters Architecture (MArch) & History students to:
– Participate in intergenerational conversations around activism, build on Chatterton’s African Eclogues, consider issues around memorialisation
– Train in interview skills, questionnaire design, archive research, approaches to community engagement
– Contribute to the poetry atlas and co-curate an exhibition exploring past and present issues facing Redcliffe
Glenside Museum – Exploring attitudes towards mental well being in the past to help address welfare today. The project will co-design a sensory garden and nature trail alongside Year 7 students in the new academic year, or across year groups in an after school eco club.Opportunities for MArch, Environmental Health & History students to:
– Gain research experience and learn about the role this hospital played in the history of Bristol’s mental health provision
– Draw on historic practices to co-design a sensory garden and nature trail that help to address issues around mental well-being today
– Promote further education in own subjects at Key Stage 3
Building on the original In Someone Else’s Shoes project celebrating the first twinning between an English and German city post WWII, we will be celebrating 75 years of the friendship between Bristol and Hannover with an intergenerational sharing memories event in the afternoon of Wednesday 19th October at City Hall in the Hannover Room.

Also twinned in 1947, with funding from Bristol Bordeaux Partnership we will be working alongside a Year 6 class from St Barnabas Primary School with a separate intergenerational sharing memories event that will inform playscripts capturing some of the stories shared about the exchange.
Opportunities for Film, History & Narrative Non-fiction students to:
– Speak with both Bristolians and later via zoom with Hannoverians who have a connection with both cities to produce profiles of their interviewees that will potentially be exhibited as part of the 75th anniversary of the Bristol Hannover twinning
– Gain research experience and learn about the history of Bristol’s international twin cities, including other cities in Europe, Africa and Asia
– Train in interview skills, questionnaire design and scriptwriting
– Promote further education in own subjects at Key Stage 2
– Work in a primary school setting helping to create board games based on trade between Bristol and Bordeaux
Creating a digital exhibition
Meadows to Meaders 5: Fab Living on the Mead (stage 1)
Development phase of the 5th episode of our Southmead community soap opera (currently unfunded with Local Learning delivering voluntarily). This next episode will focus on the post war pre-fab and community infrastructure of the municipal estate.
Opportunities for MArch & History students to:
– Gain research experience using archive materials to learn about the post-war pre-fabs in Southmead, interwar council housing and inform project design
– Participate in intergenerational conversations with the community cast to co-design a fully accessible audio tour in Badocks Wood – addressing wheelchair access and other mobility issues, visual and aural impairments
– Consider imaginative and innovative ways of presenting audio playscripts to audiences
– Potential to gain experience in writing funding bids
– Document the process including project blogs
Bristol 650
A city-wide project led by Bristol Ideas celebrating the 650th anniversary of the 1373 charter that formerly established Bristol as a city and county. The focus of the project is around the questions; Who are we? Where are we from? Where are we going?
Local Learning will be developing a Local Learning week with communities in collaboration with libraries across the city.
Opportunities for Film, History & MArch students to:
– Gain research experience to explore how the city has developed over 650 years
– Participate in artist workshops and help to shape the project design
– Explore preliminary ideas for a final exhibition and other outcomes
– Liaise with stakeholders across the city and participate in local conversations
– Train in interview skills, questionnaire design, archive research, approaches to community engagement
– Document the process including project blogs
Help to promote the project through social media outputs