Co.LAB: Strategies and tactics for collaborative action in/with the City

Jones, Matthew and Columbano, Alessandro (2019) Co.LAB: Strategies and tactics for collaborative action in/with the City. In: Creativity, Knowledge, Cities Conference 2019: Rethinking, Resisting, Reimagining the Creative City, 12-13 September 2019, Bristol, UK.

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Using the work of Birmingham Co.Lab, an inter-disciplinary design and research initiative based in the Birmingham School of Architecture & Design, this paper explores strategies and tactics for academic-community collaborative action in the City. Co.LAB, the latest iteration of the School’s tradition in developing ‘live’ projects as part of the curriculum, brings together students across a range of disciplines, academics and external partners in a collaborative learning process. While there are many schools of architecture that have established ‘live’ project programmes, since its creation in 2011 Co.LAB projects have moved away from typical design-build opportunities to more exploratory investigations working at the boundaries of art, architecture and design research. Projects are considered a live ‘Lab’ through which ideas and strategies are proposed and tested, encouraging students to become a part in the innovative research projects the university is engaged with in the city. Projects range from activism to artwork, installation and performance to building design and landscape masterplanning.

The paper analyses the range of projects Co.Lab has undertaken to identify how the projects engage with the city, its creative culture and its communities. The paper identifies new working methods that combine multiple perspectives for innovative and socially driven design responses. These approaches offer new insights into how collaborative action between the academy, creative partners and communities can create positive impact in and with the City. What emerges is a positive role for these projects, working in the gaps between disciplines and between academia and practice, in creating a space to critique, re-think and re-imagine the future of the City.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
22 May 2019Accepted
Subjects: CAH13 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01-01 - architecture
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Matthew Jones
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2019 10:40
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 13:21

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