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Grounding Technologies

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

Bristol Airport Action Network, Stephen Clarke, Gideon Jones, Richard Baxter, Jackie Head, Mary Collett, James Collett.

An experimental project capturing flight and air traffic data to hold Bristol Airport accountable to its climate pledges.

The Apothecary Network

Marcus Berdaut, Zoe Palmer, Javie Huxley, Chinonyerem Odimba, Zaina Nesayem

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.

Focus – but where?

Kexin Lu, Kai Charles, Inigo Hartas, Xingzhi Zheng

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.

Garden Lab Whispers Grow

Knowle West Media Centre, Annali Grimes, Martha King, Paul Granjon, Ruth Hennell

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.

Greenbelt 2.0, Rings of Resilience Resistance + Renewal

Maddy Longhurst, Mark Thurstain, Rueben Armstrong, Yew Tree Farm

A project to reimagine the use of Greenbelt around Bristol through co-created mapping and animation using data from communities.

Where Do We Go When We ____,

Emma Blake Morsi, Ruby Spencer, Olamiposi Ayorinde

An investigation into how creative technology might support marginalised and neurodiverse communities to navigate nature experiences and climate action.


In December 2023 we ran a final Grounding Technologies Sharing with our six successful teams. You can watch footage of the sold out event here.

We also wrote a final report which recognised some of the emerging principles of Grounding Technologies. These includedsupporting deep thinking around a local, just transition; raising up marginalised voices; and embedding just design principles.

It also surfaced some key learning from the project:

  • There is a hunger across the West of England – and beyond – for a collaborative network between the climate action and creative sectors.
  • There exists a huge potential for new ideas, projects, products and processes, new and creative uses of emerging, existing and mundane technologies, and for new models of business which would flourish with further funding.
  • The local, place-based nature of Grounding Technologies was crucial to its success, as was its focus on a just transition – greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.
  • The way we ran this programme was important: centring peer to peer learning and inclusive practice, aiming for a community-led approach and giving very early stage ideas the space and funding to grow.

Download the Grounding Technologies Report here.

From 2018-23 Bristol + Bath Creative R+D stood out as the Creative Cluster programme which developed inclusive, planet-centred processes to support responsible innovation. Coming at the end that Cluster programme, Grounding Technologies embodied those processes in practice, and we can only hope that others take inspiration from it.

With deep thanks to the Production team who made this possible: Zoe Rasbash, Climate Action Researcher (Watershed), Teresa Dillon (UWE) Melissa Blackburn, Exec Producer (UWE), Bridget Hart, Coordinator (Watershed) Amy Densley, Coordinator (UWE) and Jack Lowe, Research Fellow (UWE). Huge thanks also to our Grounding Technologies Executive Board: Teresa Dillon (UWE), Melissa Blackburn (UWE) Natasha Kidd (Bath Spa University), Debbie Watson (University of Bristol), Danae Stanton-Fraser (University of Bath), Jo Lansdowne (Watershed), Nona Hunter (West of England Combined Authority) and our advisory members Tay Aziz (now at We Can Make) and Amy Harrison (Bristol Climate + Nature Partnership). Grounding Technologies was funded by a Demonstrator grant from AHRC And DCMS as part of the Creative Industries Cluster Programme.

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03.05.23 News

Introducing Grounding Technologies

by Zoe Rasbash, Watershed's Environmental Emergencies Action Researcher

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