Participatory and Responsive
We focus on hands-on thinking, collaborating and contributing; our engagement tools are shaped to respond to each project and shared across social and age groups as we believe everyone can participate in creative and meaningful ways. We value storytelling in our work: effective communication is important to ensure that we gather and relay information that reflects what people want and need. We can translate these wishes into accurate briefs, project ideas or physical interventions and demonstrate local demand.We tailor our approach to the particular context and community of each project, ensuring that feedback from participants shapes the proj ect going forward. In this way we make sure the process is as collaborative and responsive as possible. We believe that this helps make the project more engaging, effective, and impactful for everyone involved.
We start our projects by exploring and identifying local groups, services, activities and places so that we can connect with the whole community and meet people in familiar surroundings.
We believe in the power of curiosity to encourage people to participate in our process, including those who do not usually get involved in local projects. We use props, happenings and a fun visual presence to capture people’s attention, from outdoor film screenings to dog shows.
We use our engagement process to gather insight on what people feel the opportunities and concerns around local change are. We invite people to take us on walks about their areas and use participatory tools to begin to understand the area from a very local perspective.
We analyse insight throughout the project, as well as at the end. We look for common themes and areas of disagreement. We also analyse the reach of our engagement and check it against area demographics to ensure we are we reaching a broad range of people.
We believe that part of our role is to encourage people to be aspirational. This might mean taking people on study trips to meet other groups who have achieved similar results to their aim, looking at inspirational buildings and places or inviting speakers to come and share their experience.
We believe in being open and transparent so we share our findings with people as we go along. We find this helps us to check we are hearing local people correctly and establish if we are heading in the right direction. We write reports, produce infographics, make films, publish newspapers, co-create newsletters or hold public exhibitions to share our findings widely and use the right communication tool for a particular audience
We hold community workshops to bring people together in order to focus discussions – using boards, pictures, maps and dialogue to pin down ideas and priorities. Bringing different groups together is a vital part of any engagement process so that members of the community can understand others’ views and perspectives.
We know that the key to good engagement is ensuring people have the capacity to understand and engage with the big idea behind the project and the process of realising any type of change. This means we aim to build knowledge and skills in the steps needed to achieve change, understand realistic timeframes and make information as accessible as possible.