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Relearning Place: REvalue Student Blog

Posted on 19 April 2023

Written by:

Guest Author

Relearning Place: Student Blogs are a series of online blogs by our WEdesign students, giving a taste of their experience of planning and facilitating the live event. We have invited student participants from each of our partner universities to write a short blog about taking part in WEdesign from their perspective. In our first student blog of this series, Architecture and Urban Planning students from Newcastle University have co-authored their thoughts, feelings and experiences of taking part in WEdesign.

Newcastle University students facilitating the interactive activity they devised.

Newcastle University students in Architecture and Urban Planning: Co-producing Space

The WEdesign public event in February 2023 provided us with an opportunity for a safe space to learn from The Glass-House and engage for the first time with the wider public. To help situate our project on Re-valuing Clayton Street, we designed participatory activities which included a drawing ‘in progress’ of Clayton Street on large tablecloth showing a few landmarks to help orientation. Using this interactive prompt helped participants share what they would like on Clayton street – using playful elements that allowed to create shapes – and what they would like to see more of (placing green wooden blocks) or less of (using red wooden blocks). As the conversations unfolded, we jotted down participants’ views and reasoning thus creating an open page with a multitude of voices and views.    

Interactive activity about Clayton Street in Newcastle.

We were all very nervous initially however, these introductory activities acted as an ice breaker and helped us feel gradually more comfortable in our role. Moving on to our respective themed tables, a variety of resources was at hand to facilitate ideas and reflections on ecology, practice, education, community. Although never quite in our comfort zone, we felt that, as we all sat around the tables, we had established our position as student: neither as novice nor professional but able facilitators.   

Reporting back to the rest of the group.

Our experiences were varied, yet we concurred in that: 

Ecology group notes and creations
Practice group using craft materials to illustrate their ideas

The positive feedback on the event provided by The Glass-House team the following day helped us build confidence, as only a month later, we designed and installed a temporary intervention in Clayton Street to enable conversations about the future of the street. We are deeply thankful to The Glass-House for this meaningful opportunity and experience. 

Newcastle University students in Architecture and Urban Planning: Co-producing Space (APL3001)

About the WEdesign 2022/23 Series: Relearning Place

Relearning Place is The Glass-House’s 2022/23 WEdesign series which combined free, interactive events and co-design activities in person in Glasgow, Sheffield, London and Newcastle, with a range of online events and think pieces. This year’s series finished in March 2023. 

WEdesign is kindly supported by the Ove Arup Foundation.