Building the Hive in Broughton: Building on a Case Study for Culture-led Sustainable Urban Regeneration

Lead Research Organisation: University of Salford
Department Name: Sch of Arts & Media

Abstract

This research development project focuses on two central aims:

o the development of new knowledge exchange, action research and community outreach activities with regional organisations working in community heritage.
o the design of collaborative, interdisciplinary research within a HLF-funded case study for culture-led sustainable urban regeneration

This project uses the experience of previous collaborative relationships between the University of Salford and third sector organisations engaged with culture, heritage and community-driven change in order to develop wider links betwen academia and community groups in a sustainable way. The proposed activity would develop a case study from an earlier collaboration which led to a HLF application and use this as a promising model to broker new relationships. We believe that this approach adds value to the Open Days by presenting research expertise in a context that will stimulate debate and the exchange of knowledge, while providing a springboard for new ideas. At the same time, it will have the indirect benefit of also deepening and enhancing the existing relationships.

In 2010, the University of Salford built a heritage-led, sustainable urban regeneration case study for culture-led sustainable urban regeneration as part of a Vice-Chancellor's Iconic City of Salford research project (http://www.rgc.salford.ac.uk/cms/news/article/?id=169). The project involved eight academics, The Hive at St. Johns, and thirteen other public, private, and third sector organisations in creating 'Building the Hive in Broughton', the four-year case study. The 'Building the Hive in Broughton' programme centres on the transformation of a Grade-II listed, redundant church into a centre for creativity, culture and the arts. It also includes a suite of creative learning/participation activities engaging with the diverse cultural heritage of Broughton, East Salford. In December 2010, The Hive at St. Johns submitted a £1million stag-one HLF application for the 'Building the Hive in Broughton' programme, in which the University of Salford was a key named partner. March 2011 brought news of success at the stage-one phase and The Hive at St. Johns is currently working toward the stage-two application submission in June 2012 toward an October 2012 start for the programme. The timing of this Connected Communities call allows in-depth research development for the case study's final development and potential implementation, as well as building new partnerships for innovative community heritage design and delivery.

The University of Salford is committed to developing sustainable and mutually-beneficial partnerships both in and beyond the Salford community. The collaborative relationship between the University of Salford and The Hive at St. Johns will serve as a best-practice model to illustrate how partnership work can support and deepen the impact of community heritage actions by third sector organisations.

The 'Building the Hive in Broughton' research development programme will embed inter-disciplinary research in the very ways envisaged by the Connected Communities programme: capturing the "potential for increasingly inter-connected, culturally diverse communities [for enhanced] participation, prosperity, sustainability, health and wellbeing" within culture-led regeneration. Each member of the University of Salford's research team holds considerable experience with community partnerships and engagement activity. As a collective, their varied expertise encompasses the visual arts, performance, heritage and culture, design, creative documentary, archaeology, sociology, health and wellbeing, ecology, the natural and built environments. However, the academics involved are united by their multi-faceted work on urban regenerati

Planned Impact

This research development project expands the pool of academic researchers currently engaged with the University of Salford's heritage research and outreach activity. With the expansion of the research team, the interrogation of community heritage's potential impact in building sustainable communities also expands. Integrating academics from sociology, intergenerational relations, health and wellbeing, health ecology and the environment, this Connected Communities project would explore and articulate the benefits and challenges of culture-led regeneration from a wide array of community-focused, interdisciplinary perspectives.

All research outputs and materials will be made available as open educational resources, widening potential audiences. The research developed could impact four specific non-academic audiences:

o Cultural practitioners working in community settings: the potential of 'creative cities' and 'cultural regeneration' has been examined from a range of range of architectural, urban planning, and regional development perspectives. This project involves researchers from heritage, art and design, creative media, performance, archaeology and cultural studies, therefore turning research focus on the creative methods and engagement approaches employed in culture-led regeneration, identifying links between distinct practical approaches, individual development, and community renewal.

o Local authorities and private companies working in urban regeneration: The 'Building the Hive in Broughton' programme was crafted in collaboration with academics from the ESPRC 'SUE2' SURegen project (http://www.suregen.co.uk/index.html). This project examined the complexities of sustainable urban regeneration projects and supported the creation of a web-based application- the 'SURegen workbench'- to better manage such projects and share best practice models within regeneration planning. The 'Building the Hive in Broughton' programme developed as a case study for the SURegen workbench, using this innovative tool to capture the complex outcomes of this case study. In addition, its impact as a SURegen case study will extend to future users of the workbench, accessing its programme of activities and emergent research.

o Third sector organisations engaged in community, creative and heritage activities: while the social value of these activities are recognised by academics, policy makers and community members, the evidence supporting these values is often anecdotal and difficult to distil. The research undertaken in the 'Building the Hive in Broughton' programme will monitor community development from a wide range of social, health, cohesion, and employability perspectives. In turn, the outcomes of the case study may provide third sector organisations the 'hard evidence' needed to justify funding for and continuation of the valuable activities they deliver in local communities.

o Policy-makers in culture, communities and regeneration: in the current political climate, the ambitions of the 'Big Society' ethos of active UK communities is overshadowed by rising unemployment, economic stagnation and the sharp scale-down of public service provision. By exploring the specific benefits identified in this emergent research (in wellbeing, employability, social cohesion, and active community engagement), this may effect policy that defines 'high quality' cultural activity and policy connecting social/cultural enterprise with sustainable community development.

Publications

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