The Tetley feast

Hooper, Sharon and Springham, Marianne (2014) The Tetley feast. In: Cumulus Johannesburg: Design with the other 90%. Greenside Design Centre; University of Johannesburg, pp. 253-260. ISBN 9780620603737

Abstract

The Tetley Feast was a community-engaged, participatory design project between academics, students and local community organisations, that occurred within a host centre, The Tetley, which had just opened as a new contemporary arts centre in Leeds, North England. It involved 70 undergraduate BA (hons.) Visual Communication students from the University working with a range of local community organisations which were economically and culturally deprived, as well as being, in the main, excluded from design practices and education. As part of the conference Cumulus Johannesburg, Design with the Other 90%, the paper is regional in focus but framed against the context of current global inequality. This project sought to promote engagement between design students and communities that would lead to sustainable long-term relationships. It was important that these were dialogic and people created learning opportunities together, that is students learned from the communities and vice versa. Participating organisations included: schools and alternative education providers; an Asian health centre; a youth club; a group of adults with learning and physical disabilities; a single dads’ group and a mental health organisation working with women from the Polish and Bangladeshi communities. This paper reports on a case study that encompasses methods of design as social practice and participatory action research. The project culminated in a temporary exhibition at The Tetley with a range of work made by students with different levels of collaboration with community participants. These included films, photography, graphic design, craft, installations, outcomes of workshops run by students and interactive workshops. Over 200 participants from the community groups attended and took part in the event, inspired by the Hunslet Feast, a local community festival that took place over 100 years ago.

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