Last week the Leapfrog team travelled to Forres to host the second co-​design workshop for the ‘Tools for Renewal’ project, with our partners from New Bold House. This time the workshop was hosted at The Glasgow School of Art Creative Campus, on the Altyre Estate. We spent a great session exploring methods of engagement and discussing some new concepts and ideas that might turn into tools. Tools that will help to support the partners to engage with their local community on a ‘deliberative walk’, an engagement method already developed by the group as a means to engage with their communities throughout the renewal process that they have already started. This time, participants from Newbold Trust and local communities around Forres came together for a creative session of exploration and ideas. We began with lunch and an opportunity to analyse the data collected during the first deliberative walk, developed in the first workshop around the Newbold House property. To do this we produced a series of postcards featuring pictures of the walk and the insights gathered from the original participants’ as they walked. The Leapfrog team had organised the insights into what we saw as short-​term, medium-​term and long-​term aspirations. As a method of engaging, the group with the insights and to shape their thinking about what was valuable to them in terms of renewal, we asked them to re-​arrange the postcards into their own order of importance. Using string hanging from side to side of the room, we began to hang the postcards organising them according to their collective criteria, shaping a timeline of interventions based on the values of the group. This helped the group to consider what ‘type’ exchange they look for in engagement and the methods they will need to use to gather, interpret and act on information gathered during the exchange.

 

For our second activity we wanted to put participants into the shoes of the people that they will ultimately engage with during their ‘ Deliberative Walk’. So, we set them off on a walk of discovery around the campus grounds. After the task we gathered to share experiences of discovering the Creative Campus and begin to think about where in the walk there was an opportunity to intervene and what that intervention might be. One of the most interesting points raised was the importance of somehow tying the flow of a walk into the purpose of the engagement. As one of the participants mentioned: ‘in general the experience was that the flow of the walk needs to be tied into how someone who does not know about this place may interact with it…and how they feel’.

 

Following the discussion we began to generate some initial ideas for how we might engage people on a walk, exchange and capture information. Working in small groups, we co-​developed three potential routes within Newbold House: the first concept explored how to embed the tools within the space; the second concept explored the consequences of having a free tour without facilitation; and the third idea explored how the tools might be able to capture the walkers’ feelings engaging with the several spaces. Yet, the workshop finished without a clear idea-​generation tool for capturing the walkers’ observations and hence closing the cycle of engagement. Hence, we discussed the concepts and decided to focus on a walk tided into the renewal purpose: envisioning the different identities of each space for renewing Newbold House and then, we decided to organise another rapid brainstorming session for the following day.