This paper will present the Bristol Parkhive project as a model for sustainable and mutually beneficial collaboration between universities, local governments and local community organisations. Bristol Parkhive is an innovative collaborative project developed by the University of the West of England [UWE], Bristol, in partnership with Bristol Parks Forum, the city's umbrella network for parks and green spaces volunteers in the city, and contributed to Bristol's European Green Capital Award in 2015.
The project developed and delivered an extensive programme of activities, including co-creating an app to help residents (and visitors) find the city’s parks and green spaces, delivering digital skills workshops for the city’s parks and green spaces volunteers, and creating a new crowd-sourced digital photographic archive celebrating the city’s parks and green spaces. The project has engaged more than 4,000 of the city’s residents and continues to develop - catalysing transformative opportunities for local residents’ employment, enterprise and education, and providing UWE students and academics with a wide range of opportunities to engage with, work on live projects with, and lead the development of new initiatives while supporting sustainable, and ethical management of Bristol’s green spaces for our local communities in to the future.
The project has developed a model of engagement which maximises opportunities for students in Arts, Creative and Education programmes to work with local communities, and students from Faculties across the University on interdisciplinary projects which enable the development of graduate competencies and experience of working in practice; at the same time as developing opportunities for external grant capture, innovative teaching and learning opportunities and graduate employment and professional development opportunities for students.
How to continue to sustain this model of working poses challenges, in no small part because of the metrics that HEIs need to engage with. This paper will present an honest account and overview of the Parkhive project and the challenges of sustaining innovation in higher education.
Franklin, A., & Thomson, S. (2017, July). Bristol Parkhive: An interdisciplinary approach to employability for arts, humanities and education students in a supercomplex world. Paper presented at HEA Annual Conference 2017 Generation TEF: Teaching in the spotlight