Play Salo Symposium

Summing up the Play Salo Symposium, May 16, 2019

The local newspaper, Salon Seudun Sanomat, reporting from the Play Salo Symposium

Play Salo is a game based learning process with the focus on Active citizenship and Urban development. It is a collaboration between Tampere school of architecture, City of Salo and the Salo Highschool.

Since beginning of 2017 a number of different pedagogic experiments have been conducted that in april 2019 involved a one week full time game: “Space Transformers” where 30 students from Tampere (university) and Salo (highschool) took part. A description of the pedagogic experiment will follow soon.

On Thursday May 16, 2019 a Symposium was arranged in the Linjuri shopping mall in Salo that also had functioned as the basecamp for the pedagogical experiments and an exhibition of the results. the Symposium was attended by 30 highschool students and about 30 local stakeholders from civic and public sector (planning, education, local engagement)

What follows is a brief summing up of the topics that was discussed along with the ideas and suggestions that came out of these discussion.

>> this indicates some suggestion for possible next steps.

The main questions of the Symposium:

A. How can we make the youth in Salo have a more active role in the development of the city?

B. How to take the results of Play Salo to the next level? — more integrated into the community of Salo and into the academic world — with a larger positive impact on both learning/research and the development of Salo.

1. New Platform/channel/space

“New channels needed — social media doesn’t work — School, interesting persons…”

The Play Salo Symposium took place in the Linjuri shopping centre that is partly empty and therefore could be used for both the symposium and function as a base for the game based learning process with students from Salo High School and Tampere University.

The new space could be both an online forum and a physical space where a central aspect was that it should have a low threshold to include (as many) (young) people from Salo.

It should be a space with a positive attitude/atmosphere that would give people the courage to tell ideas and listen to them. One suggestion was that the school (primary or vocational/high school) could be the “best channel to get young people involved”

>> Explore the possibility for establishing a new space both on and offline, linked to schools in Salo.

>> Work more on what gives a space/channel a positive attitude and low thresholds that gives the courage to tell ideas and listen to them.

2. Education

“Develop new methods of learning with teacher students”

The PlaySalo symposium was mainly based on an experimental one week full time game based learning process that resulted in a more holistic understanding of the complex dynamics of the city and the role youth can play both individually and together as a community.

One first suggestion was to go further in working with learning processes that takes place in public space EG working “in, with and for” the marketplace in Salo.

Using such “local practical tasks” to learn how to “make plans reality” and combine this with a deeper understanding of the history of Salo and how various economic, political and cultural factors play into how the city has developed.

What is also quite clear is to expand the work with highschool students to include first of all students from the Vocational School in Salo.

>> Work on expanding the collaboration with educational institutions in Salo

>> Work with developing new types of curricula and learning methods

3. The community of Salo

“Organising residents — Life in the villages: For young and existing ones…”

Play Salo is so far a collaboration between the University of Tampere, City of Salo and the Salo Highschool. The question is how to integrate the project deeper into the community of Salo that includes both the public, private and civic sector.

One suggestion was the obvious to establish collaboration with existing networks and fora: The youth council, the village coordinator and work with the 4H “involving young entrepreneurs” that is run by the city of Salo.

A suggestion was also to make the city (hall) more familiar — a “more open city hall”

>> work with entrepreneurship — 4H — that includes civic/social entrepreneurship.

>> develop new collaboration with local newspaper SSS

>> develop new collaboration with cultural and business networks

4. Universities

“Involve more different students from different fields”

PlaySalo has been initiated by the University of Tampere, School of architecture as part of a project that explores how the universities could play a more active societal role by being a independent broker and catalyst in an urban community.

While the first PlaySalo experiment involved only students from the school of architecture there are a number of other faculties that has shown interest for the PlaySalo project of whom some researchers were present at the PlaySalo symposium (Social sciences, Youth Studies, Games, architecture, urban planning in Tampere and Machine learning/natural language processing, Geography, urban studies in Turku).

It was quite clear that among the participants of the symposium there was an interest into to “have more participation/collaboration between highschool and university”. And the expanded collaboration should also involve different students, scientific fields and universities.

>> develop a new platform/organisation for university collaboration working “in, with and for” the city of Salo as a case study.

-> Develop a research project that explores how a more interdisciplinary and deeply immersed method can discover overlooked local problems and possibilities.

>> Develop a transdisciplinary course in collaboration with the urban studies program in Turku/Tampere/Helsinki.

5. Funding and networks.

“Investigate different funding ressources”

Play Salo has been part of an EU funded project “Urban Education Live” and supported by the collaboration with the Salo highschool and the city of Salo. It is clear that many new elements can be done by involving existing resources both in the community of Salo and in the universities but it is also clear that additional funding is necessary to take the Play Salo project “to the next level”

Suggestion for funding of taking PlaySalo to the next level included Kone and Me/we foundation, regional and national funds as well as EU funding. It was also suggested to establish “collaboration between different projects and cities”

>> Develop new networks on a city level such as the “Attractive nordic towns” funded by the Nordic Council.

>> Scan funding possibilities broadly, local, regional, national and EU — public and private.

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