Hi. My name is Tabitha Sims, and I am the Research Associate for the Lancaster based Leapfrog Team.

A large part of my Leapfrog role will involve forming partnerships with community and public service providers, to find out exactly how we can help, designing and developing practical solutions to that end by working together with our partners and the public, and facilitating the testing of our ideas through this process, all hopefully to the common good!

My own practice is in fine art interventions and collaborations, and I have worked within the community and in education for almost two decades. I particularly enjoy mass collaborations and took part in the 4th Plinth project by Antony Gormley, called One and Other, that involved over 2000 wildly diverse participants and facilitators, all contributing to a significant and memorable piece of social documentation, conducted in 2012 and published in 2013 (Jonathan Cape).

I was initially drawn to the project by its name: Leapfrog – Transforming Public Service Innovation by Design. I’m motivated by projects that have relevance and an impact in the real world, and how the project was framed resonated with my own social conscience.

I like the live aspects of the project. We are working with our partners already, responding to their current needs and concerns, to help give meaningful opportunities for people to focus, and develop creative solutions to their own particular set of needs. I’m hoping to build on existing relationships set in place through research and interventions already undertaken by ImaginationLancaster, and develop new partnerships with interested community groups and public service providers.

Developing the sessions and making the tools is fun, and it’s great to have the opportunity to test out some ideas, see what other tool use is taking place in similar situations and make some comparisons. Working with Glasgow School of Art’s Leapfrog team gives us all the chance to make more detailed socio-​geographical comparisons in tool need and tool use, as teams will be working with urban and rural communities and a diverse range of community members.

The economic, socio-​geographic and political factors surrounding public service provision and consultation practice interest me a great deal. Enabling critical consciousness and praxis to be reached by participants, through appropriate tool application during consultation processes, appears to be particularly merit worthy in a time of ‘austerity’, as grassroot and barefoot communities start to play an increasing role in shaping the world around them. For myself, I see Leapfrog as a great vehicle towards me reaching that personal goal.