The first co-design workshop of the exciting project ‘Tools for Renewal’ was launched last Tuesday at the Newbold House. People drawn from Newbold Trust, Findhorn Foundation and Forres local community members came together to collectively participate in a ‘Deliberative Walk’ around the Newbold House property. Walking in this first workshop became the vehicle to engage with participants setting an informal and relaxing atmosphere. This has enabled the participants to experience first hand the spatial dimensions, which support the social and educational services that Newbold Trust is currently delivering. The walk helped the participants to contextualise themselves within the future aims of this social enterprise. The Trust aims to achieve this by involving local communities in the renewal of their facilities, as well as in the re-shaping of the Newbold Trust identity. The walk has been inspired by the Ehrström’s works (2016), who has developed “a participatory process in which the participants, by deliberating in small groups and joining facilitated walks, tackle a complex policy issue that has highly intertwined social and physical dimensions” (Ehrström, 2016: 6). Another influence on this activity can be found back in the 1990s in the Stalker/ Osservatorio Nomade and in the book Walkscapes (Careri, 2001). The walk helped us to learn in different ways, activating visual and kinaesthetic learning processes. It also broke down the hierarchies that sometimes can be found in traditional environmental conditions such as rounded tables indoors.
After about one hour of deliberative walk facilitated by the managing director, Victor Morales and our PhD researcher Mirian Calvo, we gathered around a big blank canvas where we could map out our first impressions and thoughts. This created a space of confluence for different perspectives to come together in a joint and collective action-plan. This will inform our next co-design workshop, which is happening early next week at the Glasgow School of Art Creative Campus, in Altyre Estates, Forres.
Careri, Francesco (2002) Walkscapes: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili.
Ehrström, Peter (2016, September) Reflections on Deliberative Walks – A Participatory Method and Learning Process. Paper presented at ESREA: 8th Triennial European Research Conference. Imagining diverse futures for adult education: questions of power and resources of creativity, Maynooth University, Ireland.