About Summer Event

What contribution can university-community collaborations make to the creation of flourishing cities?

Modern cities are dynamic hubs of interdependent communities with different interests and cultural backgrounds, global experiences and local knowledge. With around 80% of the UK population living in urban areas, they are rapidly becoming the centres for cultural diversity and community activism, with smart and creative technologies fostering innovation and social change. But life in the city is not without its challenges: from poverty and exclusion to congestion and a lack of green spaces, from inequalities and marginalised citizens to issues with food, energy and water supplies.

Urban living requires not only technological advances and community-focused innovation, but also universities, communities and cities addressing these challenges together. How do we create interconnected cities which will promote empowerment and limit exclusion? How do we develop new forms of collaboration to boost diversity and reduce poverty, nurture creativity and eradicate disadvantage?

To explore these and many other questions, Connected Communities Programme and Urban Living Pilots have organised a free two-day event focused on innovative partnerships between universities and civil society organisations co-creating, re-inventing and improving life in the city and its surroundings.

Aims and objectives

The key aim of the event is to better understand the ways in which collaborative work between universities and communities helps create flourishing cities, engaged citizens and sustainable urban environment. Drawing on a wide range of university-community projects and co-creation experiences in the two research programmes, we invite you to explore the changing role of universities in becoming key partners of city government and urban communities in inventing new approaches to managing and running cities. With a series of parallel discussions and informal learning workshops, the event will provide ample opportunities for stimulating conversations, co-produced knowledge and critical responses to city challenges, social action and interdisciplinary research.

Event highlights

  • Hear the latest insights from the RCUK-funded projects, including ‘Everyday Participation’, ‘Stories of Change’, ‘Productive Margins’, ‘Imagine’, ‘Urban Living Pilots’ and many others
  • Develop new approaches to co-creation of sensory cities and smart technologies, playful urban spaces and cultural heritage, inclusive city art and creative economy
  • Build new collaborative partnerships in urban living to overcome resistance to change in the age of austerity
  • Re-imagine the future of urban living with the help of regeneration projects and empowered communities, refugee-welcome places and creative citizens
  • Engage in co-design and evaluate urban visioning by taking part in hands-on workshops and creative sessions

Who is this event for?

Bringing together universities and funders, city communities and local government representatives will provide an exciting opportunity to produce substantive knowledge about urban living and develop practical solutions to evaluate and improve future collaborative research.

  • Funders will benefit from a stronger engagement with some of the less-developed areas of collaborative engagement
  • Academics will share successful case studies, participatory methodologies and community impact strategies
  • Civil society groups will discover the ways in which they can support or challenge urban partnerships and engage with universities
  • Local authorities will become better equipped to evaluate opportunities and risks of university-community and university-government initiatives

We welcome academics and community organisations, future learners and digital technologists, smart city planners and local authorities, heritage specialists and environmental experts, artists, performers creative imaginaries and members of the public.

For further information about the event, please email: katya.braginskaia@bristol.ac.uk