Engaging young people in the Lewes Neighbourhood Plan

Creative Community Workshops 2016.

Our workshop flyer!
using ageing apps
making card models for 3D scanning
3D scanning creations
using virtual reality headset
using minecraft to present ideas

The Town Council commissioned four creative community workshops to enable young people to form their opinions and develop their ideas and visions for the town. About 120 children participated in 4 days! Some of these are on the map.

Click arrows on image to see more pictures..

Here we are in action!

Co-design and research summer school 2014

Team with Minister for Transport Norman Baker

This intensive workshop included a range of young people who helped test and apply a range of apps and creative community design processes in the context of their local neighbourhood plan.

The workshops are being researched by PHD and undergraduate students and findings leading to further development towards co-designed tools for use with young people and community practitioners.

Young attendees creatively generated an augmented reality map of their views, 3D modelling to demonstrate designs for buildings, used animation to communicate ideas and created geo-tagging games and left them in locations around the town. Based on the success of this process we are now creating a 'techno-tapestry' that will tell the stories and present the ideas and visions to the community and public audience.

They presented their ideas and creative outputs to the local MP and Minister for Transport Norman Baker and are visiting The Houses of Parliament with their creations.

Talking Techno-Tapestry

Inspired by The Lewes Tapestry we created a Tremendous Talking Tapestry to go on display in the Town Hall.

The woven tapestry map of the town is a really exciting interactive experience. Having captured digital videos, talking animations and young peoples visions we used augmented reality to embed them into the tapestry. When community members hover over the tapestry with a smart device the animations and videos magically play!

The object becomes a great draw to bring the community together to experience it and discuss the ideas within it.

Summer School visit to Parliament

We had a great day seeing where the big decisions get made. We gave out a few certificates from the Summer School too - thanks for organising a grand day out Liz from AIRS!

Priory School workshops

Year 7 pupils from Priory School in Lewes undertook a four week workshop with us as part of their citizenship curricula. It was really exciting to be working with 35 energetic and enthusiastic community planners.

We tested our pilot engagement processes and some of our tools to varying success with some key learning outcomes. This included our 'ideas and issues' catalyst tools which pupils did at home with their families as well as during lessons and our 'communication game' which challenged the pupils to consider different digital methods to communicate their opinions and visions.

The finale was the development of our process that combines the use animation and ageing apps. Some of examples are present on the map and the slide-show above. A different approach to 'digital-storytelling'.

The process requires the pupils to age each other using apps on smart devices. Then they are asked to tell a story or imagine their lives in the future as they appear in the aged image. They tell this story into an animation app that then animates their aged personas. This proved to have a number of positive effects: 1. It was great fun and highly interactive. 2. It was intuitive and needed little or no instruction (as the apps are very well designed). 3. The animations they made are funny - but deliver their opinions and visions in an engaging way. 4. We witnessed how the process of ageing the pupils actually evoked empathy with the idea of being old in some cases.

For more information see the tool and associated videos.

Building Lewes in Minecraft!

The video above explains how the process was indeed engaging. The young people worked really attentively to replicate and understand the built environment, architectural design and character of their town and translate it into a virtual place where they could then co-design play games and ultimately redesign the town in their vision.

The open nature of the platform plus the use of virtual reality headset means it able to be visited by other children, councillors and citizens alike - indeed one of the town councillors did just that. The nature of the process also has many parallels with planning in the 'real' world in terms of considering current places and the consequences of change and planning, communal negotiation, consideration of resources and sustainability.

The plan is to open the town up to young people as part of the Lewes festival (in collaboration with the neighbourhood plan) and see what happens when it is made openly available for re-design according to users their ideas.


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