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Hello!

Inspiration and dedication in Knowle West

LIGHTS! LIGHTS! LIGHTS! is a research and development project led by Knowle West artists and residents Claudia Collins and Megan Clark-Bagnall exploring the Christmas Lights in Knowle West. Together, they looked at a tradition that's at a point of change due to the cost of living crisis and environmental factors. The project is an opportunity to document and celebrate this art form as it is today. They investigated what happens behind the lights, listening to residents' stories, and considering what lights people up in the dark patches when the Christmas lights come down.

 

Building collaborative relationships has been an absolute priority, with residents' voices contributing throughout the process. This builds on previous work that Claudia and Megan have done in the local area, gradually getting to know and building trust with local people, and genuinely involving them in the process as co-creators.

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WHAT HAPPENED 2022

  • A bus tour event of the Christmas Lights in Knowle West.

  • 17 workshops for welcome spaces, secondary school, and local groups.

  • A Blue Sky Thinking event, dreaming up future project ideas with local residents and arts organisations.

  • Peer support and advice from artist Scottee.

  • A Showcase event - a show and tell pizza party to celebrate the Lights! Lights! Lights! research and development phase and to share future project plans.

  • 3 podcasts broadcast on BBC Radio Bristol (the Lights Bus Tour event, What lights you up, and The Project Process).

  • A genuinely co-created plan for the legacy of this R&D phase, with residents forming ideas for part 2 of the project.

  • Established relationships with local residents to be involved in the next part of the project.

  • Stronger partnerships with groups and organisations in Knowle West.

  • A film of the process, events, and workshops.

  • Professional photographs of events.

  • Strong partnership with Bricks who will share best practice from this project to other organisations and artists in Bristol and beyond.

  • Potential collaborators identified for the second part of the project.

  • Creative ideas and perspective from local resident and access advisor Ruth.

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WHO TOOK PART

  • 357 people directly took part in an activity: bus tour, workshop, or event.

  • 1910 people listened in to 3 podcasts broadcast on radio Bristol.

  • Every age category engaged with the project.

  • The majority of participants were in the 25 - 44 age range.

  • 65% of participants were female. 

  • 29% of participants identified as LGBTQ+

  • 30% of attendees reported having a physical or mental health condition

  • 25% had a condition that impacted their ability to carry out day to day activities

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CULTURE OF CARE

Claudia and Megan wove a culture of care through every part of this project. Practically this manifested in a number of ways:
 

  • Weekly artist supervision with a therapist, plus additional sessions offered to the wider project team.

  • Weekly access support sessions, with some full day workshops.

  • Post event debriefs - generous time allowed for all of the team to feedback and to contribute to future ideas.

  • Providing food at workshops and events - ensuring spaces are as welcome as possible.

  • Allowing time to chat and listen to residents, building relationships, taking a genuine interest in the community’s stories, passions, interests, and lived experiences.

  • Personalising sessions - for example, each attendee at the Blue Sky Thinking event received a welcome pack with objects made just for them.
     

Having weekly artist supervision enabled Claudia and Megan to unpack the process in a safe and held space, to share difficulties they encountered as they came up, and to centre their wellbeing as social artists which enables them to, in turn, centre the residents they’re working with. 

FEEDBACK

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Jen Martin
Project Supervisor

I hope that this project serves as a light for others within this industry to promote the support and care that they deserve, providing wonderful projects for communities

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Workshop Participant
Resident

I've really enjoyed today. I never would have though making something like this. Its going to remind me to stop more often and take a little more time for myself.

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Isobel Jones
Resident

This project has been an amazing thing for our community. It's encouraged local people to get engaged with something they can feel a part of.

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NOEL WEST  2023

The future was bright for Noel West, part two of the Lights! Lights! Lights! project. With local residents all aboard the Noel West Airways for a bigger, better brighter show and light spectacular.

Full details and an Impact Report will follow.

FEEDBACK

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Steve & Sian
Residents

This has been the most heart warming, spirit lifting experience. We're proud to be  Bristolians.Well done all. Thanks for bringing this crazy brilliant idea to life. It should be an annual event!

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Jackie Hunter
Resident

Aww what a fabulous experience! So magical and so emotional too!

I laughed lots and at the same time was very touched hearing everyone’s stories! What a fabulous idea this was. Well done Claud and Meg.

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Lesley Powell
Resident

It was a Noel West fabulous light show thank you so much Claudia, Meg and all the cabin crew! What an amazingly special journey of Knowle, my home most of my life, it was. A wonderful eve. Proud to be a Knowler xxx

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SO WHAT'S NEXT?

As part of the production, a key element was to take the joy generated by NOEL WEST over the festive season and try to extend it into the start of the New Year, often considered a bleak time after the revelry of Christmas. Meg and Claud have therefore created six weekly sessions of compassionate creativity to help us  stay lit! Join them for free fun and art to keep your spirits up.

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FLYING INTO THE FUTURE

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the whole team involved in producing Noel West but especially to those of you who turned up and helped us create the spirit and joy that only people can bring. We couldn't have done it without you.  So where to now? We're hoping the Noel West Airways will fly again. 

Sign up to our mailing list below and we'll keep you posted about the next exciting flight.

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