This February 2018 saw the last of the Leapfrog co-design project work at The Glasgow School of Art draw to a close, and with it came our final exhibition and showcase of all the great co-designed tools the whole Leapfrog team have co-produced over the past three years. Seventeen professionals from academia, healthcare, social care and community development attended a half-day showcase and sharing event in The Glasgow School of Art’s Reid Building in Glasgow, followed by a small drinks reception and the official launch of the exhibition.
The whole event kicked off with lunch and a chance for our guests to comb through our exhibits, showcasing all that the Leapfrog has achieved over its lifetime. This included a large wall sized map of the UK displaying the geographic spread of our projects; a mock office ‘tool station’ with a PC loaded up with the Leapfrog tools for people to browse through and print out; a gallery of pictures from all of our workshops and events; and a wall of evaluation with quotes from our co-design partners and some of our key findings from the project. After lunch, we moved into our auditorium where the Leapfrog principle investigator, Professor Leon Cruikshank, gave everyone a warm welcome and an overview of the project. Following this, members of the Leapfrog team each talked briefly about some of the more interesting and challenging Leapfrog projects they had been involved in, highlighting our approaches, techniques and the co-produced engagement tools. After a lively Q and A session, the team and guests stopped for a quick coffee, before coming back together in smaller groups for a series of break-out discussions about the theory and practice of community engagement. Topics ranged from challenging contexts for co-design to new tools and approaches. After an hour of interesting conversations, the groups came back together in the auditorium to share their insights with one another, before Professor Cruikshank ended the session with a thank you and an invitation to join the team for a celebratory drink at the official launch. With their printed Leapfrog tools in hand, the guests moved back into the exhibition space where we were joined by Glasgow School of Art Staff and Director Professor Tom Inns, who shared his thoughts on the three years of Leapfrog project and raised a glass to officially end the project and open the exhibition.
The event was a great opportunity for the Leapfrog team to share some of their experiences and reflections on co-design and community engagement, and of course to share a selection of the tools available through the website. The event allowed our guests to understand and experience the tools, their origin and how they might be put to work in their own context. We hope our work on the project was able to enhance their approaches to community engagement and add to their existing community engagement practices in the future.