Connected Communities & Design Highlight: Empowering Design Practices: historic places of worship as catalysts for connecting communities

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: Faculty of Sci, Tech, Eng & Maths (STEM)

Abstract

The proposal considers the contribution community-led design can make to unlock the potential of historic places of worship to be a highly valuable community resource as well as a fundamental part of UK's national collective culture. The aim is to examine how community-led design practices can help empower those that look after historic places of worship to engage effectively with their communities and develop their creative capacity, to think 'designerly' and to realise inclusive and sustainable places. This is what we refer to as 'empowering design practices'.

The project focuses specifically on the potential of places of worship to be sensitively adapted for wider community services through community-led design practices and on the impact of these practices on people, communities and place.

Our core partners include advisory bodies such as English Heritage (EH) and the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance (HRBA), funders such as Heritage Lottery Fund, design professionals, such as Wright and Wright architects, research-based consultancy bodies such as the Bureau of Design Research (BDR), and design support and infrastructure organisations such as The Glass-House Community Led Design. The academic team will bring in a range of different disciplines and perspectives, from architecture, design research, arts and media to architectural history, heritage studies and cultural studies.

The project starts with the observation that advisory bodies and funders for the protection of heritage - such as the Heritage Lottery Fund - are moving away from a model focused exclusively on repairs and restoration of the physical structure of buildings to a model that places a new emphasis on the long term use of these places, the engagement of the larger community in the design process and the co-production of new uses and solutions that will make the places relevant to people and society. However, despite these changes there is a concern that professional design practices are still disconnected from the needs and practices of communities; the processes that support and empower communities to develop and take ownership of their space are not well established; and there is very little understanding of the value of these processes in creating inclusive and sustainable places.

The project will use design-based and other creative-based methods of enquiry (design studio, prototyping, visual and emotional mapping, asset mapping, digital storytelling) and will involve a diverse program of engagement with a wide network of communities delivered in collaboration with our partners: from one-to-one support and design workshops with communities, to peer learning events, study tours and networking activities. The project will also include a program that aims to build capacity for research by design in the context of community led design practice.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from the research:
The research activities and outputs of the project are expected to benefit individuals and organisations representing multiple sectors and a wide range of roles. Apart from academics working in the areas of design research, community-led design, architecture, and heritage and cultural studies, the project will benefit a number of different stakeholders nationally:
- individuals and communities involved in CLD in their local area and particularly communities looking after historic places of worship
- professionals working in regeneration and CLD (facilitation experts, artists, architects, urban planners), particularly those working in conservation of historic places of worship (ecclesiastical/conservation architects and surveyors)
- third sector organisations mediating, supporting and advocating CLD
- organizations providing support and funding to sustain historic places of worship
- independent organisations dedicated to promoting design, and organisations interested in embedding innovation in heritage
- local authority representatives and policy-makers (involved in planning, regeneration, service provision and heritage management)

These stakeholders will benefit from a better understanding of the current landscape surrounding community-led design in the context of historic places of worship, including barriers, opportunities and best practice examples; from gaining access to evidence of impact of those practices; and from practical guidelines and methods for design research and community engagement.

How will they benefit from the research:
The project is focused on empowering design practices and supporting those involved in CLD and the adaptation of historic places of worship more specifically, to use design thinking in order to lead their projects and effectively engage with their wider communities. The project has built in a wide range of support mechanisms to directly benefit over 30 different projects within 5 years. Other projects/communities will benefit indirectly through gaining access to produced resources providing advice and practical help. The project also includes activities (workshop and events) that bring together communities around places of worship helping them to share experiences and knowledge and potentially create a peer-to-peer support network. The timescale of this impact is likely to spread at least over 10 years.
By developing and evaluating CLD practice and providing evidence of its impact the project is expected to enhance policy making, and the effectiveness of support provided by heritage organizations (funding and advisory bodies). The project also emphasizes capacity building and the development of participatory design research skills for design and community development professionals and students, both through its co-design and co-delivery activities and through its design research training program. Overall, the knowledge derived from the project activities has the potential to enhance the quality and the effectiveness of both the 'process' of empowering and bringing people together to develop and manage a project, and the 'product' in terms of achieving people's expectations and visions taking into consideration design, heritage, cultural and faith values. Achieving inclusivity in the design process is expected to lead to places that attain economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The outputs of the project (reports, papers, guidance documents and media) will be directly available from the project website and will be disseminated through the academic and community partners networks and through the final conference. The project has intentionally planned different types of outputs for different types of audiences: academic papers, plain language reports, videos, blogs and visual materials. The project will also help stimulate new connections between research and practice communities and create ideas for future collaborations.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description The overarching aim of the project is to develop and evaluate practical approaches to build the capacity of communities - that look after historic places of worship - to engage in design practices and carry out design projects. The project delivered a number of activities with communities that run historic places of worship in England as well as professionals, advisors, funders and policy makers. The key findings/outputs can be summarised as follows:

1. The project identified a spectrum of tensions (and identities) that arise in projects that seek to adapt/develop historic places of worship. These tensions and identities are shaped by the way communities tend to balance the value of heritage, theology of place, community purpose and design/architecture.

2. The project identified a set of capacities that need to be supported/developed in order to empower local communities to engage in design practices and lead design projects:

• Sense making and envisaging futures (visioning): communities often struggle to move from thinking about their current situation (e.g. needs, issues or threats to the sustainability of a place) into a vision about the identity and future of their place. They often lack the mechanisms to help connect people and inspire them to think about their assets and imagine potential futures to respond to their needs and aspirations.
• Creating: communities struggle to develop and turn abstract ideas about the future into concrete creations (e.g. spaces, uses or services). This challenge often arises as a difficulty to understand the design process, communicate with domain experts (e.g. architects or heritage experts) but also negotiate conflicts that arise.
• Engaging: communities often have a wide range of connections with people, professionals, businesses and organisations in their locality and beyond. However, one common challenge is the difficulty to exploit their social capital, explore new connections and turn these connections into collaborations that can inform or support the process of visioning and creation.
• Planning and Leading: although research suggests that communities often have people with some sort of project management skills they also require an understanding of the peculiarities of design projects. This includes an overview of the steps and tools that are needed in order to vision, create and engage.

3. The project developed a set of approaches for building or unlocking the identified capacities. These approaches range from general strategies, to material resources and tools as well as infrastructuring processes (which include an online educational program) to support people to vision, create, engage and plan their projects.
Exploitation Route A lot of the project approaches are taken forward directly by community partners of the project (The Glass-House Community Led Design, Historic England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Religious Buildings Alliance) but also by other communities, professionals or support organisations that find out about these approaches through focus groups, events or presentations. The project is actively seeking to engage and to work with other organisations both to support their practice, and to create pathways for dissemination. For example, so far we have engaged with the Churches Conservation Trust, the National Churches Trust, the Prince's Regeneration Trust and the Baroness Warsi Foundation.

Moreover, the project developed learning opportunities for postgraduate students (e.g. via participation in live projects); a two-day training event for professionals; an online MOOC; and standalone resources and toolkits which are shared online on the project website and in print at appropriate venues.

Other routes for dissemination of project findings and approaches to empowerment include participation in public events like for example the Utopia Fair in London in 2016 and an interactive public workshop and installation at the Tate Exchange (in Tate Gallery in London) in 2018.

Academic avenues of dissemination include presentations in conferences focussed on heritage and design, and a planned end of project conference and engagement event.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other

URL http://empoweringdesign.net
 
Description The project's activities and outputs have contributed to non-academic impact in two main arena's: buildings skills and capacity of local communities and influencing policy and practice Impact on local communities: To this date the EDP project has engaged with over 40 communities that look after historic places of worship across England, providing direct support, training and specialist workshops to effectively more than 400 people helping them develop their awareness, skills and confidence to lead design projects in their places. An mid-term impact review of the project in July 2017, highlighted strong evidence of impact on 'connectivity' between people, particularly in terms of sharing skills, methods, knowledge and understanding as well as impact on 'morale' particularly in strengthening group vision as a catalyst for moving projects forward. The most strongly-evidenced category impact so far is 'learning' about the practice and the value of community engagement in design which applies across project activities for both individuals and groups looking after historic places of worship. Impact on policy and practice: The project also shared insights and advice about key capacities and approaches to community engagement in design project with professionals and support/funding organisations through presentations, hands-on activities and meetings. This include the following bodies: National Churches Trust, Prince's Regeneration Trust, Churches Conservation Trust, Historic Religious Building Alliance, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England's Places of Worship Forum, Baroness Warsi Foundation.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Academic advisor for DCLG's Our Place program
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The produced evaluation report is the key document providing recommendations in order to shape DCLG policy and Locality strategy aiming to improve local services that respond to local priorities and with reduced cost across the country.
URL http://mycommunity.org.uk/resources/place-evaluation-report-case-studies/
 
Description EDP website and resources on Taylor Review on Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
 
Description Providing evidence and insights about the required strategies for engaging communities in design at the Heritage Lottery Fund's 'Places of Worship Practice Group'
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact The Empowering Design project provided insights about the strategies that are required for supporting local communities to lead transformations in their historic places. These recommendations have informed HLF policy around historic places of worship.
 
Description Providing insights and advice to the Cabinet Office and the Head of Civil Society Insights Team on policies for community mobilisation (and the role of third sector organisations)
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Providing insights to DCLG policy advisors and analysts on community mobilisation and the role of third sector organisations
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
 
Description Response to DCMS English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review Survey
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/english-churches-and-cathedrals-sustainability-review
 
Description Connected Communities Festival 2016
Amount £11,700 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 11/2016
 
Title A general approach for engaging communities in design 
Description The EDP research identified a number of barriers and required capacities for communities to engage in design projects. Through the development and testing of a large number of support activities, a general approach for engaging people in design has been developed. The approach helps communities to create a 'task environment' that encourages people to carry out small design tasks, to work with others and to engage others in design. The approach also includes a number of more specific 'techniques' such as: - Generation of ideas by connecting community assets with challenges - Mapping how design elements affect the experience and use of a place - Creation of vision/purpose statements by reflecting on priorities, concerns and values 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This approach is the product of research and collaboration with over 40 local communities in UK reaching over 400 people and has influencing academic practice as well as the work of partner organisations, particularly the Glass-House. It is also the key approach in the development of an online course on community engagement in design that is expected to reach hundreds of people every year. 
 
Description Collaboration with The Baroness Warsi Foundation 
Organisation The Baroness Warsi Foundation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution The EDP contributed to the Warsi Foundation Debate Series on Modern Places of Worship by sharing knowledge on the practice of community-led design in the context of historic places of worship and the challenges and opportunities they face relating to architecture, community, faith and heritage. The EDP team also offered advise on the organisation and capture of learning from the debates. The EDP team partnered with the Foundation for the organisation of the debate in Liverpool on the 25th of November 2016, focussed on shared places; and co-designed a national survey to record people's perceptions of the future of places of worship in the UK and their place in society. A workshop focussed on design, faith and community is collaboratively organised as a next step.
Collaborator Contribution The Warsi Foundation invited the EDP team to share learning, to contribute to their debate series and to collaborate in the collection of data on issues of common interest. They also helped connect with their network and reach non-Christian faith groups.
Impact - Survey on Design and Places of worship https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/designpow - Debate on Shared Spaces at Liverpool University, 25/11/2016 - Planned workshop with different faith groups in Bradford
Start Year 2016
 
Description Contribution to BRICK Workshop organised by Princes Regeneration Trust and the Churches Conservation Trust 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited presentation and workshop on asset mapping to around 40 delegates at the Princes Regeneration Trust BRICK Workshop focussed on churches and how to find alternative uses for the space if they cannot be used solely as places of worship. Participants were primarily volunteers interested in developing their building, but also professionals supporting them. The workshop offered practical advise about the use of asset mapping in their projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://brick-work.org/events/brick-workshop-19-bolton-with-the-churches-conservation-trust/
 
Description Design Research for Change Showcase at London Design Fair 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This activity was an installation that was exhibited as part of the AHRC 'Design Research for Change' showcase in London (20th - 23rd September 2018). The Empowering Design Practices project was one of the 67 design research projects funded by AHRC that were selected for this showcase. The overall purpose of the exhibition was to illustrate the wide-ranging social, cultural, and economic impact of design research funded by AHRC. The particular installation exhibited was the product of a creative-participatory workshop organised by Empowering Design Practices project during a public event in Tate exchange.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.designresearchforchange.co.uk/showcase/
 
Description Design Studio: Gaming as a tool for engaging children in design 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This workshop was delivered at a group of 11 Year 5 school children from St Mark's Church of England Primary School in Islington, North London. The workshop was co-designed and co-facilitated with two Year 6 students from schools in East London. The aim of the workshop was to introduce children to basic architectural concepts and enable them to use an online multiplayer building game, Roblox, to design their own spaces and engage in conversations about their places around them. The children use
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/blog/category/gaming
 
Description Design Studio: Live Projects 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This Design Studio in May 2018 brought together over 20 people who have been involved in community-engaged student projects including students, academics and community group members/professionals from Cardiff, Nottingham, Sheffield and London. The workshop provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences of their projects and the challenges and benefits they presented particularly for communities. They also explored new ideas and opportunities to create beneficial outcomes for community clients, practitioners, students and academics. The participants reported the workshop provided a useful space for reflection and learning and suggested the creation of a network for sharing best practice and advocating for better recognition.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/blog/a-design-studio-on-live-projects
 
Description Design Studio: filming as a tool for community engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact On 21 November 2018, the EDP team with the direction of Tot Foster, an experienced filmmaker and media producer, delivered a workshop looking at how film can be used as a tool in the design process and for community engagement. The design studio brought together people that lead community projects to improve their buildings, and those who support such groups. The participants used their phones to produce short films. The feedback received shows that participants valued the opportunity to gain
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/blog/design-studio-working-with-film-for-community-engagement
 
Description Design Training 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Design training is a two-day hands-on course that aims to enable community groups who are at the early stages of re-thinking the use and physical elements of their building to develop their design skills, knowledge and confidence. The course is based on the Buildings by Design programme, delivered by The Glass-House Community Led Design for over a decade.

Three courses were delivered in Manchester, London and twice in Sheffield. The courses were attended by 48 people from 13 different groups: Stratford URC; ISRAAC in Sheffield; Bow Church, London; Friends of St John's, Manchester; St Mary's, Bideford; Community Church Edinburgh; St Peter's Chester; Cemetery Road Baptist Church, Sheffield; Chichester CDT; St Michaels, Byker; Blackley Baptist Church, Rotherham Minster; and Trinity Church, Rowden. Participants completed visioning and making activities and learned from study tours to completed projects in the different locations. Participants reported a better understanding of design principles and process and a greater awareness of how design can enhance the quality and functionality of their building.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/design-training.html
 
Description EDP website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project website reports the activities and knowledge developed and provides useful resources and tools to support those who look after historic places of worship to lead projects to develop their buildings for the benefit of their communities. The project website also has a blog and a library of resources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://empoweringdesign.net
 
Description Focus group with professionals on community-led adaptations of historic places of worship 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact In November 2015 the project held a focus group with people who provide professional advice and support for community-led adaptions of historic places of worship, particularly officers working for Historic England and project architects.

The purpose of the focus group was:
1) to identify and learn from each other about the core challenges but also assets that help people to carry out adaptions of historic places of worship
2) to identify and share with each other resources that are required in order to address the above challenges and improve the design process

The activity included mapping exercises of assets and resources on community-led adaptions of historic places of worship and the creation of profiles (for architects and support officers) that specify gaps in their knowledge, skills and resources.

The core outcomes of the workshop were the following:
1) Professionals developed their awareness on issues and resources that are available to support their practices
2) The workshop identified knowledge, skills and resources that are currently used for the development of a national educational program on community led design
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://empoweringdesignpractices.weebly.com/blog/report-from-focus-group-with-architects-and-support...
 
Description Live Projects 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Live projects is a strand of work which aims to build capacity in design and design research by bringing postgraduate design, architecture and planning students to work with communities looking to develop their places of worship. This activity is delivered in collaboration with Live Works at the Sheffield School of Architecture. We have so far run projects with 5 places: ISRAAC in Sheffield and two churches in Chester and Congleton in 2016, the Cemetery Baptist Church in Sheffield in 2017 and St Michael's Byker in 2018. The students helped the groups develop a vision for their building and developed potential short, medium and long term solutions. They also helped engage with the wider public into these plans. The participating groups reported a raised awareness about their potential of their building and the road ahead and the work helped spark new ideas. Both students and the participating groups reported that the projects challenged their assumptions. The projects helped students develop new practical skills (in communication, collaboration, project management etc). We also mediated a separate live project with postgraduate students at the Bartlett School of Planning in 2017, who worked with Bow Church in London to deliver a community audit, exploring the needs and potential of the church to serve its local community. The students collected input directly from local residents through interviews and an open day event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/live-projects.html
 
Description Longitudinal program of workshops that aim to support community engagement in the design of more open and sustainable historic places of worship 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The main objective of the 'Longitudinal program' was to work with three particular historic places of worship continuously over the course of the project to explore ways to support them to understand their challenges and opportunities, re-imagine the future of their historic place of worship and design specific proposals. The project worked with Bow Church in London, the ISRAAC Somali Community association in Sheffield and St Peter's Church in Chester) and co-developed and delivered 16 bespoke workshops and events with them. Research shows evidence of an increased capacity - in terms of skills, confidence and produced outputs - to carry out their projects and engage their community in the design process.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/longitudinal-projects.html
 
Description Panel contribution at Warsi Foundation Debate in Liverpool 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of a partnership with The Baroness Warsi Foundation, the EDP project contributed to a public debate on Shared Spaces, hosted at the University of Liverpool in November 2016. Sophia de Sousa, the CEO of the key partner organisation of the project (The Glass-House Community Led Design) took part at the panel, chaired by Lord Alton of Liverpool. The debate was attended by a mixed audience (over 50 people) including architects, students, faith leaders, policy makers, and the general public and helped bring together a diverse set of voices from across communities and sectors in Liverpool to reflect on the barriers and possibilities of designing places of worship in ways that can be shared, with other faiths, and with the wider communities that surround them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/architecture/news/reports/places-of-worship/
 
Description Presentation at HRBA Big Update 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Invited presentation of the project at the Historic Religious Building Alliance's Big Update. Members of HRBA who attended the presentation consist in organisations and individuals professionally involved in the future of historic religious buildings: trusts, amenity societies, faith group representatives, third sector organisations, public bodies, heritage and architecture professionals and others. The presentation raised awareness about the project activities and provided insights into approaches and tools that can be used to support community engagement in the development of historic places of worship. It also sparked new connections and collaborations with academic and community partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.theheritagealliance.org.uk/update/hrbas-big-update-on-wednesday-30th-november-at-st-alban...
 
Description Presentation/Workshop at National Churches Trust Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact An invited presentation/workshop at the National Churches Trust's annual conference. Participants were primarily volunteers/people looking after historic churches, as well as professionals who support them. The workshop raised awareness about the value and approaches to community engagement and helped participants engage in design thinking about their place of worship.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Study Tours 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Study Tour events organised by the Empowering Design Practices (EDP) research project aimed to explore and inspire community leaders and professionals about the potential for community-led design to enhance and reimagine historic places of worship. The first study tour was a site visit to three unique places in Bow, East London (22nd August 2018). The focus was on how these buildings became more sustainable community resources that respect and enhance their existing heritage. The second study tour was organised with Mossley Hill Church in Liverpool (16th January 2019). The focus was on the process of engaging the wider community in the design of the place.
Feedback revealed that participants valued these events because it helped them connect with other churches but also provided inspiration and knowledge/resources useful for their project/church.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/study-tours.html
 
Description Targeted workshops supporting communities to re-imagine their historic places of worship 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Targeted workshops are one-off bespoke workshops/events that aim to unleash or build the capacity of a community to engage in core design tasks such as: sense making of current situation, envisaging potential futures, creation of possible ways to realize the envisaged futures. These workshops are also instruments that help the project team to develop methods and tools (reported in another section). So far, the projects have engaged with places of worship in Stoke-on-Trent, Lundy Island, Chester, Newlyn, Worcester, Bideford. These workshops/events showed that they increase awareness of design and community-engagement and confidence in setting up and developing community-led projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017
 
Description Tate Exchange in the Tate Modern: Exploring places that connect us 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This public engagement event was organised by 'Empowering Design Practices' project with the objective to engage the wider (international) public in creative ways to reflect on the quality of places that act as significant anchors in communities. The project included Artist Matthew Le Breton who conceived with the research team and made a set of modular pieces that formed the creative canvas of the workshop. The pieces that he created helped participants to share their stories and visualise their places of connection, using drawing, modelling and a variety of other craft materials. The individual connection pieces slotted together to form an installation that represented a collective body of Places for Connection. The public event and installation formed part of a week-long residency by the Who are we? Project in Tate exchange (Tate Gallery in London). The feedback from participants was that it was "fun" and "a great experience" to share their stories and "how they engage with places and people around you". Also, the activity helped people engage constructively with the Who are We? themes of memory and identity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/blog/exploring-the-spaces-and-places-that-connect-us-at-tate-exchan...
 
Description Teaching/Professional Development activity: Presentation to students undertaking Live Projects at Sheffield School of Architecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The EDP project delivered a seminar for 112 students at the Sheffield School of Architecture, to help prepare them in their work with community clients in Live Projects. The presentation outlined key considerations around community engagement and provided practical examples and tips of activities and ways of working. The feedback from their tutors was the session was useful for the students who subsequently incorporated presented ideas in their projects.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Themed workshops: engagement in design to unlock the potential of a place 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The EDP project developed a workshop aimed to help communities that look after historic places of worship to learn how to engage in design in order to unlock the potential of their church, for their congregation, and for the benefit of the wider community. The workshop format involves a presentation of stories from groups who have transformed their buildings, with both small and large scale design project examples, and a series of hands-on activities and tools to help communities to develop a clear vision for the future, and lead an inclusive design process that engages local people and unlocks local skills, assets and partnerships.

The first workshop was held in Adelaide Place Baptist Church in Glasgow on the 9h March 2018 in collaboration with the Church Buildings Renewal Trust. It was attended by 15 people coming from 3 different community groups in Scotland as well as professionals involved in church renewal. The Second workshop was held in Cemetery Road Baptist Church in Sheffield on the 18th July 2018 in collaboration with the Yorkshire Baptist Association. It was attended by 8 people from 3 different churches.

Feedback received by participants after the workshop indicated that the workshop significantly helped them to develop ideas about their places and an understanding of the potential of their building to realise these ideas. It also helped them to develop an understanding of possible engagement strategies with their communities. Participants predominately described the workshop as an inspirational experience that enable them to explore and identify the challenges and opportunities that arise in their buildings and make useful connections with others.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.empoweringdesign.net/themed-workshops.html
 
Description Themed workshops: exploring the role of places of worship and their potential to address local needs and aspirations 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The EDP project developed and delivered two workshops that had the objective to help people involved in different activities at places of worship (as well as the research team) to reflect and identify:
- what is the role of faith buildings within a community
- how the design of these buildings affects how the faith communities and their wider communities, interact with and within them
- how places of worship can support social action and the provision of community activities and services.

The first workshop, entitled 'Faith, Architecture and the City' was hosted by the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara in Bradford on the 8 May 2017. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Baroness Warsi Foundation and brought together people from local Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities.

The second workshop was hosted by the West London Synagogue on the 23rd of July 2017. The workshop was organised in collaboration with academics from another AHRC-funded project, entitled Ritual Reconstructed, and brought together members of Masorti, Reform and Liberal Jewish communities in London, as well as members of other faith groups who volunteer at synagogues.

Emergent themes and recommendations are expected to feed in a policy report produced by Baroness Warsi Foundation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://empoweringdesignpractices.weebly.com/blog/places-of-worship-at-the-service-of-people-and-comm...
 
Description Themed workshops: generating opportunities by connecting assets and challenges 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The EDP project co-developed and delivered a number of workshops on thematic areas that could help local communities that look after historic places of worship to identify opportunities and ideas for making their places more open to the needs of local communities. The workshop used an original methodological approach of identifying and connecting local assets and challenges to create these opportunities.

Three one-day events were organised:
- one-day event held in St Peter's Church in Chester (Oct 2015) that brought together 3 places of worship;
- one-day event held in Lumen church in London (Nov 2015) that brought together 8 communities from England that run historic places of worship,
- one-day event held in Ely (July 2017) that brought together 8 rural communities that run historic places of worship

More specifically, the purpose of the events was:
1) To help participants identify and connect challenges and assets associated with their place in order to identify common themes and imagine new opportunities.
2) To provide professional input and inspiration for participants through small surgeries or workshop activities on the topics of community engagement, asset mapping, development of a vision, negotiating conflict and fundraising.

Workshop activities were delivered by members of the Empowering Design Practices team, from the Open University, as well as nonacademic partners from Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, Historic Religious Buildings Alliance and The GlassHouse Community Led Design.

The core outcomes of the event were the following:
1) Communities developed ideas, confidence and skills on how to think about the future of their places
2) Communities gained some professional input and inspiration about their project
3) New collaborations emerged that advanced opportunities identified in the event: at least 5 places of worship were involved in further collaboration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2017
URL http://empoweringdesignpractices.weebly.com/new-projects.html
 
Description Workshop on Sparking Connections at AHRC Co-Creating Cities and Communities Summer Forum in Bristol 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A workshop entitled 'Sparking Connections: how cities co-design their future' was delivered at AHRC's Co-Creating Cities and Communities Summer Forum in Bristol by a team consisting Theodore Zamenopoulos, Katerina Alexiou and Sophia de Sousa and Louise Dredge from the Glass-House Community Led Design.

This workshop invited participants to follow a process that we call cross-pollination, to collaboratively generate a wide range of ideas for citizen led place-making projects. These project ideas were grounded on existing assets and resources identified in the room and formed the basis for exploring what are the capacities that are required to initiate and lead such projects.

This work draws on a number of different AHRC funded projects in which the convenors have worked together in, focussed on co-design, co-production and creative citizenship.

Participants reported that the most valuable aspect of the workshop was learning about and experiencing the proposed method for discussing and sharing community challenges, assets and generating ideas.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017