Survey by Qualaroo

The University of Local Knowledge

The University of Local Knowledge (ULK) is a long-term work developed in collaboration with Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) and artist Suzanne Lacy, together with residents of Knowle West in South Bristol.

The project explores the longstanding legacy of community-led learning and its impact of existing inequalities of knowledge and power. In an extensive process of discussions and conversations, residents from Knowle West shared their specific expertise and experience, resulting in short videos which serve as teaching units. The project aims to challenge and disrupt existing hierarchies by celebrating the way in which specific knowledge and talents develop in relation to local contexts and within communities.

In its current phase, close to 900 videos have been collected and integrated in a web-based interface that will provide an ongoing tool for members of the community to document, organise and share expertise. Members can add to the existing information and put together their own courses. As a practical tool, ULK aims to promote the value of experiential forms of learning alongside more traditional academic understandings of knowledge.

ULK is a collaboration between Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) and Suzanne Lacy and developed with Arnolfini, The University of Bristol, University of West of England and supported by Bristol City Council (Art in the Public Realm), the BBC, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE)


Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) is committed to the exploration of socially engaged arts practice in a very local context, yet with international reach and influence in terms of networks, sharing practice and collaborative projects. KWMC has a genuine commitment to excellence and innovation, particularly in relation to digital media and arts.

Suzanne Lacy has worked collaboratively with artists and communities since the 1970s. In 1991 she founded TEAM (Teens + Educators + Artists + Media Makers) with photographer Chris Johnson and producer Annice Jacoby. A writer she edited the influential Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art in 1995, a book that prefigured much current writing on politically relevant performance art. She is the Chair of Graduate Public Practice at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

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