First workshop to develop joint methodologies kicks off Climate Action Heroes project

Service designers and community organisers unite for climate action in the Climate Action Heroes project.

The first Community Action Hero workshop took place on 30 July 2020 and brought together professionals from the service design and community organising fields to explore how principles of the two disciplines can be applied to boost creative leadership potential in individuals, groups and systems.

Dr Laura Santamaria, the Project Lead and Lecturer within the Institute for Design Innovation, said:

"The workshop was designed as a playful exploration using storytelling activities and artistic elements to open the conversation on how to empower both disciplines to promote diverse and inclusive ways of thinking, knowing and working in the community engagement sphere."

Sina Marleen Petersen, a current MSc Entrepreneurial Design Management student and Research Assistant for the project, said:

"It was a pleasure to kick off our Community Action Hero project and discuss the space of community engagement for building Creative Leadership capacity for social change through synergy between service design and community organising! We talked about the recognition of power, roles and relationships, about affording people space to rest and engage, about how subjectivity helps to uncover what is at the root of a problem, and the legacy of community engagement as an opportunity for capacity building - and so much more."

The workshop included the likes of Dr Francesco Mazzarella (Research Fellow in Fashion and Design for Social Change at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion), Froi Legaspi (Community Organiser at CitizensUK), Ana Franca-Ferreira (Community Organiser and PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham), Julian Thompson (Strategic Designer and Founder of Rooted By Design), Bethan Mitchell (Service Designer at Snook), and many others.

About the project

The Climate Action Heroes project is led by Institute for Design Innovation academics Dr Laura Santamaria (Project Lead) and Dr Ksenija Kuzmina (Co-Investigator) and links climate action with economic regeneration. It aims to empower young people to imagine and create desirable futures for themselves and their community as they progress into adulthood. 

The project will engage with schools in some of the most deprived areas in Hackney. It aims to develop young people’s ‘creative leadership’ capacity by boosting skills which are less attended through the school curriculum. It focuses on aligning their personal aspirations with sustainability values, empowering them to envision and create policies, enterprise and environmental championship in their community.

To find out more about the Climate Action Heroes project, please visit our blog.

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