Decolonising Memory AR City Trail Launches


Kwesi Johnson

Kwesi Johnson

Kwesi Johnson is the Creative Director of The Cultural Assembly

Decolonising Memory AR City Trail is Launched

A new digital art experience exploring Bristol’s legacy of enslavement and countered with creative dance inspired by the culture and history of dance of the African diaspora has been launched.

Decolonising Memory: Digital Bodies in Movement, is a UKRI-funded Citizen Science project led by former Green Party Lord Mayor of Bristol Cleo Lake, Kwesi Johnson, Co-Founder and Creative Director of The Cultural Assembly, and Dr Jessica Moody of the University of Bristol.

The launch of the augmented reality mobile app – based walking trail called Decolonising Memory saw a free mobile application available to download which journeys through the streets of Bristol and explores through augmented reality a cityscape of new works of visual art, music, spoken word, movement and storytelling.


The idea of using augmented reality to re-examine the plaque description on the Colston statue in October 2019 predates the recent controversy surrounding the statue. The trail reimagines the Colston plinth and a number of other contentious sites around the city, and launches on the 5th of January, to highlight the acquittal of the Colston 4 protesters a year ago to the day.


Informed by the citizens of Bristol, the design of the immersive experience was a collaboration between former Lord Mayor Cleo Lake, the University of Bristol, The Cultural Assembly and Bristol Citizens Researching Together. Over the course of last year, a series of events and workshops across the city were designed to facilitate a dialogue of atonement, reconciliation and learning. Led by local experts and community leaders, the events provided an opportunity for local artists, activists and people to come together to engage with these issues in a safe and supportive environment.


Kwesi Johnson, Creative Director said, ‘This is purpose-driven work, where AR extended reality and creative technology can present a different view of the city. It became a response to the recent events in Bristol that had been brewing for many years and channels that response into something that everyone can access, and that can make a real impact.’


The Decolonising Memory trail takes a bold step towards imagining a decolonised city and re-examines contentious landmarks and locations. It allows users to see and interact with an ever changing series of creative interventions using augmented reality as if they were physically present through the lens of their smart phone.


Maya Alexander, Director of The Cultural Assembly said,

 ‘We hope the reaction to the Decolonising Memory trail will be a positive one. The immersive journey is an opportunity for the city to promote understanding and equity, through conversation. People can connect, and be resilient as they stand together exploring the streets of Bristol with a new perspective’.


Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a first-time visitor to Bristol, the Decolonising Memory trail is a remarkable immersive experience, and a must-see for anyone interested in discovering more about Bristol’s heritage from a different perspective.

It explores hidden stories within the city’s landscape, inspiring those who take the journey, to engage with the past and present in a more meaningful way.


Watch the trailer or Download The Decolonising Memory App here.

For more information on the project hit


The Cultural Assembly

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