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TAP Symposium: Transform / Activate / SHAPE

Posted on 21 September 2022

Written by:

Jake Stephenson-Bartley

During the summer of 2022, we had the pleasure of partnering with the TAP (Transforming and Activating Places) programme, through which we invited two students from The University of Sheffield into our organisation as interns to help us develop and iterate our Gaming Workshop model.

Screenshot of the individual build activity at The State of Play workshop, where the young participants explored their ideal playable space – during the internship with Vince and Enrico.

On 14 September, The Glass-House and our interns Vincent and Enrico attended the TAP symposium event, Transform/Activate/SHAPE in Sheffield, a closing event to celebrate the 2 years of the TAP programme and the wonderful student-based knowledge exchange projects that have emerged through the partnership of placemaking organisations and the SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, People, Economy and Environment) students of University of Sheffield.

The Symposium focused its energy towards galvanising and championing place-based knowledge exchange, foregrounding the innovative ways we can share skills, perspectives and realities. The event not only  proposed new approaches to student knowledge exchange, but also considered the role place-based knowledge exchange could play in the transformation of higher education institutions.

Each contribution showcased ways in which we can collectively embed place-based work experience to allow students to step into the local community, ethically and with reciprocity. It was also a space to shout about the importance of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts subjects and the event clearly demonstrated a more robust narrative to champion SHAPE subjects belonging in society, and more importantly the need for these subjects as a path to catalyse change.

From the perspective of The Glass-House, the TAP programme felt like a huge success. Not just because of the generous contributions of our own interns, but also because of the infrastructure in place to support their 140 students through the entirety of the TAP programme. 

Both our interns and staff team appreciated the training and systems in place to help all of us step into that collaboration with a shared understanding of the key objectives of the programme, and the underlying vocabulary and principles of placemaking, as well as the confidence to articulate what we each wanted to get out of the collaboration.

The Glass-House was also particularly interested in the fact that the TAP programme prioritised bringing underrepresented voices into the world of placemaking, and encouraged students from a broad range of disciplines to apply their studies and life skills in this space. The fact that the programme set up funded internships, which ensured that the interns were paid for their time, also made the programme more accessible for interns and partner organisations alike. 

One of the most poignant questions which emerged as a culmination of coming together and the collective practice of celebrating voices through this programme was, “How do you transform, change and champion (student-based) Knowledge Exchange, get it out of the room and into policy (to make/affect change)?”

Here are just some of the key points that emerged through discussion:

Throughout the day the contributions of the symposium event illustrated several important threads, that when interweaved embodied a successful TAPestry of Knowledge Exchange. Some of the key threads that form this tapestry are the importance of storytelling, conversation, listening, relationship building, being inspired (inspiration), reflection, iteration and care.

Thank you for inviting The Glass-House into this wonderful space of generosity and reciprocity, an inspiring day for all.

To read more about the internship and the iteration of the Gaming Workshop model please follow the links below: