Local Heroes

Local Heroes Project from Knowle West Media Centre on Vimeo.

Objective: To discover the “scars” of the local area by researching past buildings.

Data Type: Historical, ambient and geographic

Team needed: 8 Junior Digital Producers, Project Manager, Code facilitator

Techniques: workshops on photography, geo tagging and using the app Audioboo, field research and visits to the local records office.

The recipe

Tools / Ingredients

  • Geotagging – learning how to upload a photograph onto Google maps so that the photograph becomes a piece of data providing more information about the location.
  • Smart phones with camera, GPS and internet capability – to download the Audioboo app, and to connect to Google maps while out and about.
  • Audioboo – a free app that allows you to geotag audio as well as images. This is useful for recording ambient data like bird song, or the sound of a specific location.
  • Photography – the ability to take a good picture is useful for this task!
  • Adobe After Effects – for creating an interactive timeline. This can also be done with Flash or TweenMax.

If you want to turn this prototype into a real website, you can learn more about HTML and code here


Stage 1 – Research

Our first step was to research the history of Knowle West. Local residents gave us past and present maps of the area and we also went to the Bristol Records Office. We compared them thoroughly to find the differences in the area.

Stage 2 – Geotagging and Mapping

When we got to grips with how to take pictures and geotag, the next step was to go out and tag the buildings we had researched. For the purpose of our exercise, we decided to store our data somewhere that was easy to access and understand – a map.

Stage 3 – Design
When we had placed our data onto the map we decided we wanted it to be slightly more engaging and interactive. We created several other maps of the local area in the past, and then used After Effects to create an animation. We used audio recordings of local residents to give this a sensory element.

Stage 4 – Web Prototype
Once our animation was completed, we decided that we wanted to create an online version that was completely interactive. Not having this skills for this, we created an online prototype using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

COOKING TIME – 3-5 Weeks 


The aim of the Local Heroes project was to look at what was missing from the estate, to find the scars of Knowle West.

Knowle West ranks highly in deprivation indices for income, employment, health and education – in Bristol and the UK as a whole, but it is actually rich in heritage, with buildings ranging from the Roman era to the 20th century. Knowle West has grown since 1935, when the estate was built, but in recent years has suffered from many losses. Knowle West has lost its cinema, it’s swimming pool, schools, a fever hospital and many pubs.

The Junior Digital Producers created a geo tagged time-lapse map of Knowle West. The map began in Roman times and travelled through to present day. The map included audio and visual content. The aim of this was to create a prototype for a future map that would allow locals to populate the map with their own data.

The Local Heroes project has since evolved into MemoryScape. Memoryscape will be a 4 month pilot programme that will engage a group of people living with dementia along with other community members who have a common interest in exploring, gathering, sharing and documenting local, social and cultural history. Memoryscape will connect people with similar interests, so that they can develop relationships that could extend beyond the project, developing support networks and nurturing greater community cohesion.

Memoryscape will gather a range of historical, local cultural and social artefacts, which will be documented, archived and shared using digital media. The intention of Memoryscape is to engage people living with dementia, in a meaningful way, through the use of familiar, local and historical materials, in ways that support them to represent themselves positively, as active citizens.