Know your Bristol is a collaborative project between the University of Bristol, Bristol City Council and several Bristol community groups. The project aims to enable people to explore, research and co-create Bristol history, heritage and culture using digital tools.
Between 2012 and 2013 Know Your Bristol worked with local residents’ groups to create a ‘community history layer’ on Bristol City Council’s online interactive map, Know Your Place. On the Know Your Place map users can ‘peel away layers’ to reveal historic maps of the city, and in doing so, see how the urban landscape has transformed over time. Creating a ‘community layer’ on the map meant bringing people together to enrich the map with their own content. At a series of events co-designed with local residents, people brought stories about each place, including family histories and memories of places, as well as films, family photographs, and historical artifacts. These stories, images, films and objects were ‘digitised’ – digitally photographed or recorded – and then uploaded on to the map and linked to their place of origin or significance. Now publicly available on Know Your Place, these digitised stories and images form part of an ever-growing resource about Bristol and its heritage.
Building on the success of working with communities to enrich the Know Your Place map, Know Your Bristol set out to achieve a wider ‘impact’: to connect with more Bristol residents, but especially those whose stories tended to be absent from official histories and maps of the city. With this aim in mind, the project assumed its current name and form: Know Your Bristol on the Move. This is current phase of the project.
Know Your Bristol on the Move is made up of four overlapping elements:
1. Augmenting the existing Know Your Place Website: Much like initial phase of the project, this will involve working with groups to upload content to the Know Your Place map. The Know Your Place map forms part of the Historic Environment Record which city planners consult in order to help make planning decisions. Augmenting the map therefore forms one way in which people can have an effect on neighbourhood planning.
2. Know Your Bus: This is a bus fully equipped with the latest audio-visual archiving technologies. The bus will travel around the city offering a mobile space for people to come together to share and digitise artefacts, recount and record stories and access and update the Know Your Place map with the support of others who’ve used the map before.
3. Map Your Bristol: Similar to Know Your Place, Map Your Bristol will also be online digital map but a more flexible version. Map Your Bristol will not be centrally moderated and will allow users to add multiple images, videos and text as well as to create whole new community layers allowing individuals and groups to map the city in whatever way they see fit. There will also be two mobile apps
4. Exploring Models of Community Co-production: Through the use of digital tools like the maps and apps and the public events and workshops that bring them to life, Know your Bristol creates spaces in which people can come together to co-produce knowledge about their city. Strand four of the project engages with this idea and the challenges and tensions it brings up, through a range of of events and activities with eight Bristol Community groups over the next eighteen months. See the ‘projects’ tab above for more information on the specific projects.
Know your Bristol started in 2012, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its Connected Communities programme. Following the successful pilot, Know your Bristol Stories took place in 2013, with additional funding from the AHRC and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Know your Bristol On the Move – the latest strand of the project – commenced in October 2013 and is also funded by the AHRC.