Creative community engagement
At Eden we use creative ways to engage visitors, including storytelling and practical activities. We’ve also taken these techniques out into neighbourhoods, to shape a series of community engagement events.
Using fun and inspiring techniques such as art, music, storytelling, humour and hands-on practical activities, has proved a fantastic way to involve people in influencing the future of where they live. We've used them in neighbourhood planning events, whether it be helping people make the most of green spaces, kickstart community enterprises, understand climate change, or respond to large-scale planning developments affecting the area.
Along with other forward-thinking organisations in Cornwall, we’ve designed sessions in all shapes and sizes – but we always make sure that they are as little like conventional stakeholder engagement events as possible. Among them you’ll find:
- drop-in community planning days, designed like local fêtes
- film-making workshops with local stakeholders
- learning journeys to other communities
- practical training on everything from gardening to business skills
What they all have in common is an ambition to value the process as much as the products of engagement. Our sessions aim to:
- establish a real sense of participation
We give people tangible ways to input to the day, such as setting up ‘washing lines’ or ‘rant pinboards’ where they can add their comments.
- encourage new people to get involved
We reach out to as many age groups as possible by providing a convivial setting (often with tea, cake and bunting!) in a venue that’s easily accessible.
- inspire new thinking
By creating an inspirational space and offering practical activities – such as contributing to ideas scrapbooks – we try to raise people's aspirations of what's possible.
- catalyse partnerships
We convene different people, from residents to service providers to community groups, in a neutral space where they can find common ground.
Community engagement case studies
These case studies outline creative approaches that communities can use to kick start conversations about where they live and work, and get involved in neighbourhood planning.
From scraps of land for play to large-scale developments which cross communities, this collection of examples should provide the inspiration and tools to help people think more creatively about how to engage communities in thinking about the future of places.
Seven Cornish towns worked with theatre company Wildworks to animate open spaces and support regeneration. Download the case study.
The Ayr Adventure
Eden helped a community in Cornwall design an innovative nature-based play space for local families to enjoy. Download the case study.
We used creative consultation techniques to aid this Devonshire community in building a recreation ground. Download the case study.
This project was all about the community designing better outdoor play access on the Lizard Peninsula. Download the case study.
We used creative play and consultation methods with residents to design better play spaces on the island. Download the case study.
Wildworks Community Project
This theatre company used fresh techniques to help residents in Cornwall's Clay Country articulate their ideas. Download the case study.
Eden designed and delivered a creative community consultation project in five parishes of Cornwall’s China Clay Country. Read the case study.
Community arts charity Multistory used creative ways to help strengthen community links in the West Midlands. Download the case study.
Creative Spaces Project
The Sensory Trust used outdoor activities to reconnect older people in care homes with their local community. Download the case study.
Great Day Out
A good example of how to engage harder to reach sectors of the community in designing spaces. Download the case study.
A project making use of empty space in the east end of London, for local projects and fledgling businesses. Download the case study.