Talkaoke visits Knowle West for Futures Festival!

In August and September 2023, we have been collaborating with Knowle West Media Centre in Bristol. We explored Knowle West’s past, present and future as part of Future Festival. We celebrated with an exhibition of archival footage and local voices. Together, we honoured the rich history of Knowle West and shared our hopes for the years ahead.

Read a fragment of the blog post by Knowle West Media Centre, which you can find it in its entirety on their wesbite.

The day before Knowle West Fest 2023, The People Speak rocked up to Knowle West Media Centre in their van full of props to train up some Knowle West residents to be Talkaoke hosts. They ran two workshops to build confidence in talk show skills – one with young people and one with adults.

As part of the workshop, everyone tried out a practice-run of Talkaoke. The topics were entirely chosen by the workshop participants, ranging from the housing crisis to ‘where in Knowle West would you hide from zombies?’ A few of the adults enjoyed it so much that they even chose to join the young people’s workshop in the afternoon. It was great to see people coming out of their shells and into the swivel chair, sparking lively conversations across multiple generations.

Armed with their newfound skills and props, our new hosts could be found spinning in the middle of the Talkaoke table the next day at Knowle West Fest. Throughout the day, all sorts of topics were covered by the people of Knowle West – from the Levelling Up Fund to party busses to communication between generations.

A few weeks later, The People Speak visited us again. This time, they were shown around Knowle West by Frank – an active member of the community and recently trained Talkaoke host. Frank showed them a few key parts of our area, from Broadwalk to Inns Court Gardens. Together, they gathered audio of nearby sounds and interviews with residents.

This audio was combined with recordings of the previous Talkaokes at KWMC and Knowle West Fest then edited by sound artist Jo Elise. The final audio tells the story of various topics close to the hearts of local people:

To share these stories, we hosted a ‘Back to the Future’ themed exhibition and listening party at Filwood Community Centre. The event explored our rich history, current reality, and hopes for the future. The audio played at various listening stations and people were invited to write down their responses. These responses included “bring back community spirit with shops” and “bring back ‘Queen of Knowle West’!”.


Photo by The People Speak

Photo by Ibi Feher

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