London Residency

The first part of the London residency with Public Works was focused on tools for education and learning. The aim for such tools is to allow the sharing of knowledge developed through local experimentation and in relation to local resilience challenges, as a way of networking resilience practices. We explored a number of tools in collaboration with a group of students from Sheffield School of Architecture (SSoA), as part of a six-week Live Project.

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The students had the task of developing a toolkit for an ecological-civic curriculum for the Civic University, a Public Works initiative. The Civic University is an experimental educational model aimed at teaching students and citizens to be at the forefront of decision-making in how the city is made, imagined, negotiated and managed. The students were asked to develop the eco-civic curriculum toolkit based on their direct engagement with four London sites connected to Public Works and their specific ecological and civic practices – Loughborough Junction Farm, The Old Tidemill Gardens, Roman Road Market and R-Urban Wick.

In line with open-source spirit promoted by EcoDA, the students were encouraged to develop a toolkit that would remain open for others to adopt, adapt and contribute to it based on their own site conditions and local eco-civic practices. For example, the toolkit, or elements of it, may be used in Paris and Bucharest by the practitioners collaborating on the EcoDA platform.

Following a number of site visits to the London sites, hands-on engagement with the activities carried out on these sites and prototyping workshops in both London and Sheffield, the students developed a ‘Masterclass Toolkit’. Critically engaging with the term ‘masterclass’ / ‘master’ and ‘class’, the toolkit is put forward as a platform that allows people to create their own environments for the exchange of knowledge and skills, in which the role of the ‘master’ is subverted and where the ‘class’ – the learning and the knowledge-sharing process – takes central stage.

The toolkit includes a number of user guides on how to organise, capture and record a masterclass, and also a number of examples of masterclasses as illustrations of potential classes and knowledge exchange processes (e.g. participatory, collaborative, peer-to-peer). In addition, the students have researched alternative accreditation models for informal learning, such as learning how to compost through volunteering in a community garden. Identifying appropriate accreditation frameworks is a key element in the process of recognizing the value of resilience practices, which experiment with ways of engaging with city space that do not conform to the prevalent modes of economic production, typically focused on commodification and monetary exchange.

The toolkit is open for further production and will be located as part of the EcoDA platform, together with the other tools prototyped during the project.