Congratulations to the Small Grants Scheme 2022/23 Recipients!

This year we received some great ideas and proposals, ranging in originality and diversity. We are pleased to announce the recipients of the Small Grants Scheme and we look forward to their findings!

Please join us in congratulating recipients Zoë Chazen, Kathie Pollard, Amelia Powell and Kirsty Watt. 

Learn more about the projects of your fellow Young Urbanists below!

If you have any questions about becoming a YU or the Small Grant Scheme please get in touch with our Membership and Young Urbanist Coordinator Roshni Thakker at [email protected]

Empowering Local Voices: Diversifying London's Public Realm through Small Grants - Zoë Chazen

In June 2020, London's Mayor Sadiq Khan founded The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm amid global protests for public tributes to reckon with uncomfortable histories and commemorate diverse populations. Although The Commission's charter to construct a public realm that reflects the city's diversity is clear, operationalising its vision and assessing the impact of its initiatives are less straightforward. 

Decisions about memorials and public memory are messy as they force all urbanists to ask fundamental questions about our society and values: "Whose stories matter, and how should they be told? Who should be involved in these strategic decisions, and in a site-specific context, who should be involved in determining meaning-making and representation? Who is the target visitor for these sites, and how much viewer investment and participation should be demanded or expected?" 

This research project will evaluate the grassroots approach to constructing public memory by first studying a central initiative of The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, the Untold Stories grants scheme, which has funded 70 projects led by community organisations in London to introduce their stories to the public realm.

I will aim to study a subset of the projects individually and also as a collection to develop a point of view on best practices for community-led memorials and the broader distributed approach to memorial construction, which empowers local community members to lead memorial design and construction as opposed to top-down government-led approaches. 

Exploring the Community-Led Regeneration Model in Scotland - Kathie Pollard

A third of the Scottish population lives within 500 metres of a derelict site. Living near derelict land can have a significant impact on the local population, for instance on wellbeing and sense of community. Using our land and buildings actively and purposefully, is vital for the wellbeing of people and our planet. 

In Scotland, community groups are taking on land and buildings in urban and rural areas, transforming these into multifunctional spaces in their community to deliver a range of services, spaces and facilities. 

There are wider questions about the total impact that community-led regeneration has on the economy, society and environment and to what extent this approach could be scaled-up and replicated outside of Scotland. This project will focus on a small number of examples leading regeneration in their local communities. What is the chosen route to ownership or development and why? What are the challenges and opportunities? What learning can be shared? 

Over the coming months, by seeing and speaking to the people making these transformations happen on the ground, the project will capture their stories. Watch out for a webinar, zine and other material from this project as it develops...

Amelia Powell
Kirsty Watt

Unseen At Night : individual representations of queer and feminine (femme) space 

Femme is used to express any gender identity that has an awareness of femininity and feminine experiences - Amelia Powell and Kirsty Watt

There is a lack of inclusive, safe and accessible urban spaces for queer people to celebrate femme art and music whilst experiencing the power of queer joy. The importance of these spaces is becoming even more prevalent as the violence against marginalised communities is becoming widely publicised in the media. However, there is often an absence of physical spaces that suit the parameters of what these spaces need to be, which we hope to demonstrate. Even within queer communities, there is a lack of space for women, people with disabilities or accessibility needs, as well as people of colour and transgender people.

The intention of this exhibition is to provide a design project with freedom for a diverse range of creatives to showcase how we can be represented within design and art, providing a useful expression of our needs to heterosexual, cisgender peers in a way not previously done.

The first output for this project is the formulation of a brief in collaboration with Femmergy - an inclusive queer night event and DJ collective in Edinburgh - for an inclusive and accessible queer and femme night space based on our collective experience. Following this, an Open Call will be held for artists and collaborators based on the Project Brief, including Academy of Urbanism Young Urbanist members. Each collaborator will produce an image based on the Brief for a final exhibition in Custom Lane in Edinburgh as part of the Archifringe Open Programme (16th-18th June), to push dialogue around queerness and the feminine / femme femme experience in design. More information will be available prior to the launch of the open call in April 2023, stay tuned!

The Academy of Urbanism (Number 2) Limited is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales 0595604, 11c Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 IXE, United Kingdom.
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