Design Innovation & Cultural Resonances (Resonance): Place based Collaboration

Lead Research Organisation: Glasgow School of Art
Department Name: The Innovation School


Resonance will draw together creative economy practitioners and creative and cultural organisations in a series of productive civic exchanges centred upon the capturing, amplification and sharing of nuanced local knowledge and cultural assets to inform decision-making and community development plans. This will enable the development of innovation capability, capacity and place-based collaborations allowing for wider socio-cultural and economic impacts at a regional scale. Resonance will focus on the cultural knowledge of project partners, stakeholders, communities, practitioners and the attendant governance structures, to inform decision-making thus delivering local impacts in areas with no easy access to universities or research and innovation assets. Resonance will be led by GSA's Innovation School, with Professor Lynn-Sayers McHattie as Principal Investigator with Professor Steve Love and Dr Michael Johnson as Co-Investigators. Dr Brian Dixon, Research Director of Art and Design at the Belfast School of Art will join the team as a specialist researcher and Zoe Prosser as Project Assistant. Lynn has extensive experience of directing and delivering UKRI, including AHRC funding bids, and will guide the progression of the research through each of its key phases. Resonance has been conceived and shaped in collaboration with project partners: Shetland Arts Development Agency; A' the Airts, Sanquhar; and North Down Borough Council in N. Ireland, in addition to connecting directly with the Scottish Governments Island Plan. It will focus on knowledge exchange within the creative and cultural economy with a longer-term view for evidence-based research to contribute to local regeneration and development plans. The two contexts of Shetland and Sanquhar and their discreet cultural, heritage and geographic attributes opens up the potential for new pathways to impact as each community is enmeshed within the wider inquiry. In scaling these two prior engagements, County Down, N. Ireland - Ards and North Down - will focus on the transferability of coordinated civic dialogues as a means of shaping productive, place-based collaborations. Throughout, Resonance will foreground direct impact for the communities involved through both the exploration and articulation of cultural assets related to place, landscape and craft. A key output of the project will be a Cultural Assets Framework that articulates place-based cultural assets towards advancing inclusive growth, sustainable innovation and equality; providing valuable insights that contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (, specifically SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 5 (Gender Equalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Resonance will take place over the course of 12 months (January 2022-23) and progress through three distinct, interrelating phases: scoping and planning; speaker's series and civic exchanges; evaluation and dissemination. The civic exchanges will allow each respective community to explore issues around place, landscape and cultural assets through the lenses of renewal, sustainability and the future of communities. The civic exchanges will also facilitate local knowledge around the ways and means by which cultural heritage can be articulated and contribute to community strategies and development plans. In this latter aspect, attention will be paid to the distinction between the local and the regional, and the extent to which intercommunal comparisons may be drawn, as well as whether it is possible to scale up to a national perspective. The Resonance programme will conclude with the design of the Cultural Assets Framework and a Final Symposium in October 2022, which will simultaneously draw together and disseminate the insights and findings amongst the wider network(s), with the opportunity for partners to co-evaluate and trace the impact Resonance has had within communities and wider publics.


10 25 50
Description Emerging Insights: People I Place I Practice
Place-based Communities: Creativity & Collective Wellbeing
Changing Landscapes: Sustainable Communities & Practices
Communities of Practice: Documenting, Sharing & Protecting Knowledge
Exploitation Route Design-led Innovation approaches
Sectors Creative Economy



Museums and Collections

Description Collaborating and identifying shared values with distributed communities in Shetland, Sanquhar and Country Antrim, Northern Ireland provided important steps in making cultural assets tangible within local and regional development and wider place-making decision-making. Such 'resonances' are important criteria within which to specify indicators for evidencing and monitoring as part of an evaluation and impact framework. We position 'cultural resonances' as a mode of representing community-based shared values to be built upon and made increasingly tangible through dialogue. We position design-led innovation as a supportive process and approach that can provide the necessary competencies towards capturing, communicating and evidencing the following values: Encourage engagement and hope, is an exercise of listening, understanding and valuing needs or opportunities for development, which Resonance pursued through interviews and facilitated engagement towards co-producing the Shetland's Cultural Resonances film. This process aims to achieve 'buy-in' and build dialogue. Explore multiple perspectives and resources, is the discipline with which a process of gathering understanding 'in-the-round' is pursued to identify and validate place-based assets, which Resonance facilitated through a consistent dialogue with partners and community members as peer researchers. This process aims to identify shared values relating to assets in place. Share creatively and openly, is the methods by which the stories of people, practice and place are captured and curated into representations of the assets, inter-relations and inter-dependencies that emerge. Resonance co-produced the film and screened it at Mareel, Lerwick, as part of a knowledge exchange event that invited reflections and ideas for further development. This aims to validate connections to place-based assets through ongoing relational dialogue. Gain New Knowledges, with experts and guidance, was done through a 'community of practice' as an embedded peer-researcher approach to ensure people on the ground were respected as experts of their own lived experiences and to provide opportunities to 'recruit' individuals who may have been unknown to the research group through previous work. Act Strategically, democratically and inclusively, was the principles that underpinned our collective process; achieved by involving all perspectives, creating as many opportunities to engage wider audiences through sharing and knowledge exchange and by producing outputs that were permeable across layers of decision-making. Find and Align, with partners and policy, was enabled through wider contextualisation and which provided reference points throughout Resonance to ensure connections were made with appropriate policy and governance agendas on an ongoing basis. Review, Learn and Adapt, with the journey, is how processes of development achieves transparency, trust and shared understanding of progress. We embraced this through iterative co-creation and evaluation with different places. It is important to emphasise that the Resonance engagement approach promoted a bottom up and not top-down model, which is different from other development frameworks (e.g. the Scottish National Performance Framework or UN Sustainable Development Goals). Therefore, pathways to impact regionally or nationally arise from the translation or development of shared ways of speaking about the assets and resonances that emerged as shared values.
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural


Description Creative Futures - Re-imagining creative education and digital learning in Shetland through collaborative creative practice
Amount £75,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 2436897 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2020 
End 02/2024
Title A Hybrid Method 
Description DI&L followed a transdisciplinary approach grounded in the practice of Design-led Innovation. Design-led Innovation can be described as the successful creative engagement with people and communities that promotes collaborative ways of working as the means by which new knowledge is generated, shared and applied in practice. Methodologically, we endeavour to pay attention to: the situated contexts of our work; asset valuing; mutual learning; reflexivity (rigour through self-examination); emergence (of insights, consequences, actions); community empowerment; self-actualisation; building sustainable capacity; and insights for the long term (policy). DI&L developed a hybrid approach blending in-person insights from project partners and practitioners located in island communities with digital and distributed methods, tools and techniques. Hybrid methods enable diverse people and communities to coalesce and to stimulate dialogue within distinct contexts at different scales. Creative and participatory approaches mediate cultural, geographic and technological barriers to engagement towards capturing insights and outcomes that address complex social and cultural challenges pertaining to land-decisions. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Hybrid methods that seek to strengthen community resilience at the hyperlocal scale can often lead to immediate impact (Manzini, 2020). Pathways to impact include cultivating a network of sustainable relationships that could evolve into hybrid "communities of place", which contribute to and support communities approaches to land-assets, land use and democratic decision-making. 
Title Impact-film 
Description Co-produced contextually located video 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Place-based social and cultural impact 
Description Shetland Arts Development Agency 
Organisation Shetland Arts
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The PI has worked extensively with Shetland Arts Development Agency (SADA) and Graeme Howell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) over the last eight years. The collaboration with SADA acts as a fulcrum to collaborate with wider stakeholders from: Shetland Community Planning Partnership; The Centre for Island Creativity; The Shetland Island Council; The Shetland Amenity Trust; Shetland Local Authority - Economic Development Department; Highlands & Islands Enterprise; and Creative Scotland.
Collaborator Contribution The PI in collaboration with SADA have co-designed approaches to support creative practitioners and the wider cultural economy in Shetland aligned to SADA's Social Outcomes Framework.
Impact AHRC Funding AH/W009080/1
Start Year 2020
Description Co-Design: Design-led Innovation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Mapping as Method: three maps of decision-making processes and provocations were co-designed with individuals and groups with experience of facilitating community participation in landscape decision-making from contrasting perspectives, for example, private landowners with sustainability targets and community trust development representatives. Each map functions at a separate scale - and combine to form a multi-level Land-Assets Decision-Making Framework: (1) the land-assets decision-making in Scotland Map, which outlines the policy, legislation, organisations, mechanisms and tools that influence land decision-making across Scotland. This map provides a national system-wide view of all the roles and stakeholders involved within land decision-making; (2) the local and-assets decision-making Influence Map, which can be used by communities to map assets within their landscape, relevant stakeholders and the influences they have over land and asset decision-making. This map takes a pragmatic and contextually situated approach to mapping both tangible and intangible assets in a specific locality with a focus on directions and scales of influence; (3) the local land-assets decision-making Mapping Tool, which can provide communities with prompts to build an equitable and participatory land and asset decision-making model, bespoke to their area and community needs. This map takes a conceptual approach and prompts community groups to consider the key thematic requirements of equitable community land decisions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021