Know Your Bristol stories

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: School of Humanities

Abstract

A programme of work will be undertaken involving collaboration between University of Bristol researchers (including students), the University's Centre for Public Engagement, and two community groups in Bristol, focusing on providing support for community events and research activities. This builds on the successful model developed during the Research Development Grant award for 'Know Your Place, Know your Bristol'. These events will focus on two different community groups, Horfield Organic Community Orchard, and Local Learning, and related partners, and will involve different types of community heritage (e.g. memory, historical artifacts, photographs, film), and will help build new connections between different groups.

The aim is to make academic research and expertise available through collaboration with local community partners, to aid the production of local knowledge by community groups, the Bristol City Council 'Know Your Place' project, as well as researchers. The events will explore the potential for future programmes of interaction, and development of other funding bids, and enhance development of sustainable partnerships. They will be recorded through blogging and other social media, as well as through digital media, and the project website will develop a resource-bank outlining how arts and humanities researchers at Bristol can aid, as well as learn from, a wide variety of different local community groups.

Bristol City Council's 'Know Your Place' project has created an open-access interactive map website covering Bristol: layers of historic maps are overlayed on the modern map of the city, allowing users to explore the historic landscape underneath their feet, and the evolution of their localities. The project aims to capture additional user-generated data -- photographs, film, documents, recorded oral testimony, and proactively sought out university researchers to help it develop a strategy with which to achieve this. By collaborating with the Bristol City Council team, arts and humanities researchers will be able to help feed material towards this recourse, and will be facilitated in consolidating relationships with and between community groups.

Planned Impact

There is considerable interest from our local community and heritage partners in the opportunity provided by this scheme to augment and enhance their HLF-funded activity.. The planned activities would provide specific benefits to these partners and to the wider public. It will:
1. facilitate and support interaction with arts & humanities researchers
2. facilitate and support access to University of Bristol resources (expertise and skills, digitization support)
3. facilitate and support networking between community groups
4. assist publicity through use of university publicity networks
Moreover:
5. Through this collaboration it is hoped that, where this is not already the case, that communities will better appreciate the value of their own archives in terms of research and wider understanding, and that this leads to a sense of community empowerment.
6. It will facilitate and co-ordinate interaction between different groups and each other, and with the Bristol City Council Know Your Place mapping project.

Letters of support demonstrate how individual partners see the benefits that will arise for them. E.g.:
1. Local Learning: collaboration "will be invaluable in helping the community to develop a variety of research skills and enabling them to tell their own stories", and "will allow the community to develop skills that they would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience."
2. Horfield Organic Community Orchard, state that they "would welcome the expertise and dynamism of the Know your Bristol team. The equipment and other resources that would be made available will also add capacity to our project", and are particularly keen on the Early Career Researcher involvement and deployment of specialist skills.
3. Quantocks AONB Service is keen to continue successful and productive interaction with the team of researchers, in the new skills that Nourse can bring, and is extremely interested in linking up with HOCO, and to exploring how to learn from and deploy its expertise to build up community orchards activity in a rural environment.

There are also significant societal benefits arising from this project's enhancement of, and greater engagement with, the Bristol City Council Know Your Place resource.
1. Participating communities can make a direct contribution to the understanding of the city. As the web resource forms part of the Bristol Historic Environment Record in the Planning Department any validated public contribution can have a material weight in formal planning considerations. The proposed activity will enhance the range and depth of community engagement with the Council project.
2. Such contributions can empower those communities, by providing direct links between their own activity and the formal Historic Environment Record.

Publications

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Marianna Dudley (2014) Quantock Orchard Project in Exmoor Magazine

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Marianna Dudley (2014) Fallen Fruit and Orchard Roots: Historical Orchard Research in the Quantock Hills in Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society