Urban Education Live supported a recent exhibition of student work in a busy supermarket in Sheffield. Architectural design projects by undergraduate and masters students were on show in the Tesco Extra in the residential neighbourhood of Burngreave for a week in June. The exhibition, showing proposals for sites in the city centre and in Burngreave, was designed and curated by MArch Studio in Residence, tutored by Carolyn Butterworth, and Year 2 BA students, tutored by Cith Skelcher and Mark Parsons.
The Studio in Residence projects were developed in collaboration with local people and community groups from Burngreave exploring the theme ‘Play in the City’. The resulting proposals are sited along Sheffield’s Steel Route, a line that connects the city centre with the neighbourhood of Burngreave. The second year students designed housing projects for several sites in Burngreave, investigating the options of shared residential streets.
On the first day of the exhibition the students were available to discuss their projects with customers in Tesco Extra. The MArch students have been acting as co-researchers for UEL this year. The MArch students invited visitors to fill in surveys to gain feedback on the relevance of the speculative projects to local people, local perception of the University and suggestions of how the University can better help people to build urban capacity and shape their local neighbourhoods and city.
This exhibition was an opportunity to show local people design proposals for sites that they will know well. Some of them may have even contributed to the ideas exhibited through earlier engagement activities in Burngreave. There was a great deal of interest and positive reception to the student work and the conversations that the work prompted have highlighted many potential opportunities for further collaborations between UEL, Studio in Residence and Burngreave.
This exhibition was the second of two such events in Burngreave — students from Studio in Residence exhibited and discussed their projects with local people in Burngreave Library earlier this year in February. The event with the title: ‘’Design your own Sheffield!’’ was aimed at exploring how Sheffield as a city could be more playful, more connected, and more equal for the local communities.
A temporary one-day use of the library space provided a focal point where students had the chance to talk to local people, who shared their ideas about the area they live in, and commented on student proposals. Working locally gives the students and the research team the opportunity to work ‘in residence’ with local people, beginning to build a relationship of trust between academia and local citizens — and developing proposals that are relevant and sustainable.
These events/exhibitions of student projects are part of the ‘satellite hubs’ in the Pitsmoor/Burngreave area of Sheffield, where they work as temporary extensions to Live Works hub located on the Moor in the city centre. Local hubs are also points of doing research by doing interviews and surveys with the people who live and/or work in the area, as well as developing design proposals by the students.