Active CiTizenship and Social Housing (ACtS)
As part of the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme, Mapping for Change (MfC) is representing the UK in a learning exchange project with the University of Udine (Italy) and the University of Oulu (Finland).
The project focuses on specific educational and community issues in the field of social housing, where people are at risk of segregation and social exclusion. The aim is to explore which kind of contribution informal learning, in the context of social housing, could reinforce social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and personal fulfilment.
Each of the project partners will focus on a specific informal learning approach (community mapping, visual anthropology and identity building, informal citizenship education) to meet the project aims and objective.
Mobility activities to partner’s sites have been organised as well as an electronic platform to develop a specific curriculum for adult educators, to exchange experiences and share achievements. The kick-off meeting took place in December 2011 at the University of Udine. Partners will come to London this May and we will visit Finland in September. Furthermore, a final meeting with stakeholders will be organised at the end of the project in order to validate and disseminate the final results of the project.
Mapping Thamesmead for Change
Thamesmead first began to take shape in the early 1960s when the then London County Council (LCC) first published its plans to build 25,000 homes on Erith & Plumstead marshes. Mainly social housing developments built from the late 1960s onwards mostly on former marshland on the southern banks of the River Thames between the more established towns of Woolwich and Belvedere. Originally planned to have 60,000-100,000 residents, it is now estimated to be on target for a final population of around 50,000 people.
MfC will utilise participatory and community mapping to explore the level to which it can facilitate and help reinforce social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and personal fulfilment in Thamesmead. The idea is to work with people within the community to record their ideas and perceptions of their surroundings, as well as the organisations they work with. Through a participatory mapping process participants will be given the opportunity to share their experiences, put forward ideas for local improvements to shared spaces, identify key resources and valued spaces and places within the community. Central to this will be to build the skills of participants in using information and communication technologies.
From this, and with their full engagement, we will develop an on-line interactive community map. This will be used to:
- Map the organisations, groups and centres that they work with, and who support them.
- Map local events, activities, training and volunteering opportunities that participants can get involved with.
- Record their perceptions of their surroundings – this could involve them adding information to the map including photos, films, descriptions of where they are and their feelings and responses.
- Share stories and learning experiences.
- Identify and map other services in the area that they feel might be of value to them.
The map, the database with it and the information recorded will become a permanent resource for the community. Volunteers, community members and staff within local support organisations will be trained to use, maintain and develop the system.
Some of the benefits expected to arise from this work are:
- This is a unique way to work with people newly arrived in the UK to record their experiences and perceptions – this will offer agencies and others a chance to understand and learn from these new residents;
- Mapping local events, training and volunteering opportunities provides an opportunity to improve integration into society;
- By engaging the wider community to put forward ideas for projects to improve shared spaces there is the potential to develop shared common goals, create new links and form new social networks;
- Those involved will learn IT, communication and mapping skills and be encouraged to enable their friends and families to use the system as well.
Three mapping sessions were organised to take place in Thamesmead.
- Wednesday, 25th April, from 5pm to 8pm – MfC participated on the Thamesmead International Women’s Day, organised by the Trust Thamesmead and to be held at the Business Academy Bexley, in Yarnton Way. Please click here to find out what happened.
- Friday, 4th May, from 4pm to 7:30pm – Mapping session at the Thamesmead Leisure Centre, Thamesmere Drive, Thamesmead, SE28 8RE. Please click here to see the flyer;
- Saturday, 12th May, from 12:00 to 5pm – Mapping for Change will be participating on the TBRRAG meeting at One Stop Shop on Tavy Bridge. Please click here to see the flyer.
Our Project Partner’s Group visited us here in London on 17th and 18th of May. Have a look to ourBlog to find out what happened.