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Six teams win £15K Grounding Technologies funding to explore creative action across the West of England

by Zoe Rasbash

The projects explore how creative uses of technology play a crucial role in building a better future for our region through climate action.

Grounding Technologies
is excited to announce six new projects that investigate how creative technology can be used to support action on climate change.

Grounding Technologies is a six month programme run by Bristol+Bath Creative R+D and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It invites those tackling climate and environmental issues in the region, along with artists and makers to explore the role of creative technology in bolstering climate action.

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.

The six projects are:

Keeping Them Honest: checking that Bristol Airport is sticking to the rules...

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 Bernard, Zoe Palmer, Javie Huxley, Chinonyerem Odimba, Joel Gethin Lewis

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, 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, 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.

About the project

Looking ahead to the next five, ten, twenty years, the creative sector must radically transform to combat and adapt to the climate crisis - the responses 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 it looks like.

Technology, and creative uses of it, can play a crucial role in this task of remaking a world where people and the planet thrive. Bristol+Bath Creative R+D and the West of England Combined Authority are collaborating on Grounding Technologies, exploring how creative technology can be useful to those working in climate action. How can creative technology enrich and enhance the vibrant regional work already happening?

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.

“While the project timeline for Grounding Technologies has been short and sharp, we are delighted with the response, which demonstrates the need for supporting work that sits at the intersection of climate action and creative technology. The rich diversity of ideas, community perspectives, skills, knowledge and values, that sit at the heart of the selected projects is indicative of our approach and how we see this such work going forward.” - Teresa Dillon, Professor of City Futures, UWE

“The West of England is quite rich in individuals and collectives engaged in climate action through community organising, activism, and arts. As an R&D space evolving our understanding of our own climate action responsibilities, we’re really thrilled that the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed can support Grounding Technologies and these amazing teams. The range of expertise and proposed projects across these six teams will no doubt positively contribute to the region’s ongoing activities, as well as spark new ideas for how we as a studio can keep supporting climate action work.” - Dr. Furaha Asani, Research Lead at Watershed

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, funds internationally outstanding independent researchers across the whole range of the arts and humanities: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages and literature, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more. The quality and range of research supported by AHRC works for the good of UK society and culture and contributes both to UK economic success and to the culture and welfare of societies across the globe.