Published in February 2023

Cross-pollination is a practical approach to incubating networks of place-based projects, collaborative research and innovationThe approach is based on the principle of creating a sharing economy of assets (skills, projects and resources) among different people and organisations, across disciplines and sectors.

Cross-pollination: Growing cross-sector design collaboration in placemaking (Jan 2022- April 2023), was a knowledge exchange project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under their Place programme based off of this approach. The project is a collaboration between The Open University and The Glass-House Community Led Design, working in partnership with the locally-based partners in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales; Barnet, London; Gleadless Valley, Sheffield and Glasgow, Scotland.

Cross-pollination Resource Development

An important objective of the Cross-pollination project has been to develop ways to help cascade and enable cross-pollination across locations, disciplines and sectors, in order to enable inclusive and sustainable placemaking processes and outcomes. 

Drawing on what we have learned through this and previous research and knowledge exchange projects using cross-pollination in a variety of contexts, we developed a  booklet which provides a brief introduction to the cross-pollination approach, examples of where and how it has been used to date, and some practical tools to help others use cross-pollination in their work or area.   

We hope that the resource will be valuable to anyone interested in exploring the value and mechanisms of collaborative working and in applying them in their local project, however big or small. This includes community leaders, community engagement professionals, voluntary organisations, local authorities, businesses or members of public bodies supporting placemaking.

The booklet was designed so that it can be read online, but it also contains materials which can be printed out and used in a workshop context. More specifically:

Section 1 provides an introduction to cross-pollination, presenting its history and explaining its key principles, value and use in practice. 

Section 2 introduces a series of 9 case studies, which serve to demonstrate the diversity of contexts and situations in which the approach has been used, and to help provide inspiration on how you can adapt it for your own context and objectives. You can view and download this separately here.

Section 3 provides practical guidance on how you could deliver a cross-pollination workshop to kick-start collaboration in your own network or local place. It explains the key stages of the workshop, together with top facilitation tips and a set of printable materials to use in the workshop. You can download the workshop materials for print here.

You can watch our film explaining the cross-pollination method here.