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3 big questions – ­3 short films

8 April 2016

Three short films, co-produced with local digital media company, Calling the Shots, outline the practicalities and challenges surrounding a collaborative project between the University of Bristol and local partners to explore, research and map the city’s history, heritage and culture.

The films coincide with the culmination of Know your Bristol on the Move, a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Connected Communities initiative. The project drew together an interdisciplinary team from the University of Bristol to work alongside Bristol City Council, Bristol Record Office and several Bristol community groups.

Know Your Bristol enabled people to explore, research and map Bristol’s history, heritage and culture using digital tools co­developed with participants. Between October 2013 and August 2015 the project ran a series of events with local residents, exciting interest in local history and eliciting submissions to the custom digital mapping site, Map Your Bristol. Map Your Bristol was co-­developed by University of Bristol Research IT with community partners and the Know Your Bristol team.

The site enables communities to map their overlapping histories by creating a layer and uploading images, stories audio and video to a place on the map. The following three-part animation series presents short responses to the key questions that have underpinned Know Your Bristol on the Move.

What is Co-production?

This has been a persistent issue for this and for many of the projects funded through the AHRC Connected Communities programme. Co-­production can be a slippery concept. This film deals specifically with university-­community co-­production as practised through the course of Know Your Bristol on the Move. For more ideas on the practicalities of university-­community co-production, check out our Toolkit.

Why Map History Together?

Why maps and why collaboratively produced maps? Surely we could have just employed a professional cartographers to do this for us? At the heart of know Your Bristol on the Move has been a desire to enable people to create their own multi-­layered map of the city. Watch the film to find out why.

● Where is Bristol’s History?

Know Your Bristol on the Move has taken a very different approach to 'doing history' than that practised by the vast majority of academic and professional historians. Through real-­world events and workshops and via our participatory historical mapping site and mobile app, Map Your Bristol, we invite you to create and map your own histories. Where then is Bristol's history to be found? Watch the video for some ideas.

 Synthesising such complex and contested concepts into less than four minutes has not been without its difficulties. There is always more one could say, there is always something that is lost. Yet this goes for the 100-page tome as much as for the two-minute video. The discipline of brevity has proved a challenge for the team, but also its own reward, promoting reflection on, and, hopefully, expression of, what has really mattered to this project. Can you say it simpler? Tweet us @knowyourbristol.

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