February 2018 saw the close of The Glasgow School of Art’s co-designing work on the Leapfrog project, and the opening of a showcase event exhibiting the tools, partnerships, and reflections on the three-year collaboration with Lancaster University and the many public, third sector and community co-design partners. The showcase opened with an afternoon of talks and discussion groups with invited guests from academia, health care, social care, and community groups. We shared our insights, approaches and the co-designed tools, followed by a small gathering to mark the opening of the exhibition. The event was a great success but it is not only professionals already started in their careers that could find the work of Leapfrog interesting. We realise that many of the Glasgow School of Art’s Innovation School Masters students who use co-design and participatory practices as part of their post graduate projects could also benefit from hearing about the project. For those students, learning how co-design and participatory practice in research is designed and executed in live project settings could be really valuable.
So, following on from the showcase, the Leapfrog team invited post graduate students studying Design Innovation to come along for an afternoon of presentations and a panel discussion with the Leapfrog team. With coffee in hand, students gathered into the auditorium to take their seats, before being given a brief introduction to the project by one of the Leapfrog Research Fellows based at the Glasgow School of Art. After the overview, three members of the Leapfrog team took to the stage to talk about three key aspects of the three-year project: how we design our co-design into projects; how we evaluate what we have done; and from one of the Leapfrog PhD students, what it is like researching within a live project. The afternoon finished with an open panel discussion with all four of the Leapfrog team where the students could, and did, ask lots of interesting questions about community engagement, co-design, participatory practices, and how they can develop their own career trajectory working in these fields.