This is a photo journal documenting my placement at KWMC: The Factory so I can share what I am up to and (hopefully!) encourage other researchers to get more involved with local communities, charities and businesses and vice versa.

About me

My name is Alice Haynes and I am a PhD student in the Soft Robotics Group at Bristol University. I wanted to have the opportunity to communicate my research with the local community to get feedback and ideas as well as sharing my skills in robotics, art and technology so I went to the Bristol Doctoral College speed dating evening.

Speed Dating

The Bristol Doctoral College are always looking to encourage researchers at the University to get involved with local industries and charities. Not only to provide their skills to the company and learn from them in return, but also to improve the communication channels between industries and academia. As part of this they have started a pilot programme funded by EPSRC to allow postgraduate students to extend their studies and include a placement at a local business. They set up a speed dating event to match keen students with keen businesses. That is how Alix (a fellow keen researcher) and I matched with Penny and Lucas from KWMC… and the rest is history.

KWMC: The Factory

The Factory is Knowle West Media Centre’s new innovation space for making, digital fabrication and product design. They have a great range of tools from the big CNC machine and laser-cutter to 3D printers and embroidery machines. There are also a range of training courses and residencies for artists and start-ups. You can find out more on their website.

What I am doing at The Factory

During my placement at The Factory, I will be creating a series of workshops for groups in the local community to give them the opportunity to play with the machines and learn about what we do. A big part of this is going out and about in the local area meeting people to see who might be interested and how we can get people that may be isolated or lacking transport to have the opportunity to be involved. Alongside the workshops, Alix and I will be sharing some of our robotic skills with the residents at KWMC and creating a robotic art installation to hang in the front area of The Factory.