At Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, we’ve spent five years working to raise the bar for the region’s creative industries. We’ve sought to support a socially responsible environment for creativity and innovation that is both inclusive and sustainable, putting people before technology.
But looking ahead to the next five, ten, twenty years, we know we need to radically transform our sector to combat and adapt to the climate crisis. Our response can no longer focus on quick fixes when the issues are systemic. This challenge is innately creative: we are faced with making our society anew when we don’t know exactly what that looks like.
To engage with this creative task of remaking a world where people and planet thrive, technology, and creative uses of it, can play a crucial role. Harmony between nature, technology and humanity is fundamental to the just, green society we want to build.
We want to understand how creative technology can be utilized locally in service of a just future. The West of England is home to a rich ecosystem of climate and biodiversity action, from the birth of Extinction Rebellion in Stroud, to Bristol as a European Green Capital in 2015. We’re interested in how technology can support those mobilising action on the ground. How, in the hands of people, can creative technology support, enhance and build on the work already happening?
Grounding Technologies, a six month pilot project from Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, will support those engaged with climate action in the region to explore this question with us. We want to nourish new regional collaborations, unlocking imagination and sparking conversation.
This summer, we invited those involved in climate action, together with creative technologists, artists, designers and creative practitioners to propose new and distinctive ideas that will bolster climate action in our region. Grounding Technologies have funded six projects new projects that investigate how creative technology can be used to support action on climate change.
The six projects are:
Eyes on Bristol Airport
An experimental project capturing flight and air traffic data to hold Bristol Airport accountable to its climate pledges. #EyesOnBristolAirport
Bristol Airport Action Network, Stephen Clarke, Gideon Jones, Richard Baxter, Jackie Head, Mary Collett, James Collett.
The Apothecary Network
A network of decolonial community apothecaries which center growing, herbology, community, collective care, joy, and connection with nature in radical, anti-racist ways and reclaim green spaces for themselves and their communities.
Marcus Berdaut, Zoe Palmer, Javie Huxley, Chinonyerem Odimba, Zaina Nesayem
Focus – but where?
A playful online interactive crowdsourced zine/game that explores the intersection between climate change activism and our complex media / information environment, using eye tracking to explore direct climate action and comms.
Kexin Liu, Kai Charles, Inigo Hartas, Xingzhi Zheng
Garden Lab Whispers Grow
A project based on an allotment in Knowle West, investigating how new sensor technology can be combined with local, embodied and non-human knowledge to further climate action.
Knowle West Media Centre, Annali Grimes, Martha King, Paul Granjon, Ruth Hennell
Greenbelt 2.0, Rings of Resilience Resistance + Renewal
A project to reimagine the use of Greenbelt around Bristol through co-created mapping and animation using data from communities.
Maddy Longhurst, Mark Thurstain, Rueben Armstrong, Yew Tree Farm
Where Do We Go When We ____,
An investigation into how creative technology might support marginalised and neurodiverse communities to navigate nature experiences and climate action.
Emma Blake Morsi, Ruby Spencer, Olamiposi Ayorinde
These six projects build on a rich tradition of activism and thought in the West of England region to address the climate crisis. They bring together expertise from across sectors, locations and communities in vibrant collaborations to create tools for the future. Each project will receive £15k to experiment and develop innovative responses to the challenge of climate change.
Read our final report here: Grounding Technologies Final Report
Grounding Technologies is a 6 month programme funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) and Department for Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) as part of its Demonstrator programme. It is also supported by Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, part of AHRC's Creative Industries Clusters Programme.
Bristol+Bath Creative R+D is a collaboration between UWE Bristol, Bath Spa, University of Bath, University of Bristol and Watershed, which has spent five years working to create a more equitable environment for innovation to raise the bar for the region’s creative industries.