Part Two – Creative Visualisation Workshop – Exploring ideas

This blog post details some of the processes and outputs from the Creative Spaces workshop with guests Belay from MRSN and Sara from CAN.  In part one of the workshop Manchester Refugee Support Network and Community Arts North West gave us background on creative educational projects with Refugees. We then moved on to the more active and creative part of the session where students generated idea to solve the challenges.

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Part One – Creative Visualisation Workshop – The need to support Refugees in Manchester

Input from the Community Partners

The workshop was started by Belay from Manchester Refugee Support Network who set us some challenges to solve, which would add to the projects they are already doing.

Sara Domville from Community Arts North West then lead activities on Creative Visualisation using the challenges set for us by MRSN. The key question was how can we use those skills to bring innovation to support that existing work?

There are already activities which are co-ordinated by MRSN. We started to explore ideas of how MMU students could add to this.

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Birley Community Day: Mapping Local Learning

Yesterday, the EdLab team had the pleasure of meeting lots of people from our local area at the Birley Community Day hosted by MMU in Hulme. As a project about engaging students with the local community and informal learning in enterprising ways, we wanted to know more about people’s local learning experiences. After managing to print a big map of the area in our lovely Art department, we were set, but we needed local people to talk to us. Luckily, either our charm, or our free marshmallows brought them in!

People were really great in telling us their experiences of learning around Hulme. Chloe told us that she learnt about Egypt at her Primary school, Elena learned to swim, Bekki found out she was pregnant, and Mary Williams learned to teach tie dye classes. Everyone told us about the places where they lived, the places they knew, and the places that were gone. For example, David was concerned about the loss of learning support in local libraries, and Ali was sad about the closing of adult education classes. Others however, told us about the work going on at the William Griffiths centre, Venture Arts and family centres in the area which they valued greatly.

Overall we were excited by the opportunities present in our local community, and the enthusiasm of people to work with MMU students through EdLab, to create and enhance learning opportunities and experiences. Now we must live up to our community!

This week, we attended a meeting at Z – Arts to discuss the Snow Queen Learning Log project. Every year Z-Arts creates a Christmas show which is brings together local school children and is the basis for a learning journey. This year their show is called Snow Queen which blends live action with film, puppetry and digital storytelling. Our challenge, is to help create a learning log for this event.  The purpose of the meet was to discuss our ideas and plan our next steps, but firstly Paul (Z – Arts Education Officer) set us a creative task to get our thinking caps on!

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EdLab has Launched!

So today we launched EdLab, and joined some of our shiny new students with real live educational challenges! The lovely people from Hulme Garden Centre popped across the road, Paul from Z-Arts walked up the street, Liz from Code Club demonstrated some musical bananas and The Hive came down to see what was occurring.

It was great to start learning about what our students are interested in, what their #goodstuff is. Many students were excited about the challenge from Z-Arts to create a learning resource for their Christmas show which will be potentially used by 1700 school pupils. Other challenges which ignited passions were the library project to engage young people and families with John Rylands central library, and the tasks set by Manchester Refugee Support Network.

Whilst over 17 projects have already be proposed to EdLab from outside partners, it was clear that students also had their own ideas and identified some important gaps in what was on offer. Some students were excited to create projects working with disabled young people, and this is a great starting point for developing their own EdLab projects from scratch.

Next Steps…………..

On Wednesday 30th September from 12-1pm we will host our first creative workshop space in the student resource room. During this time we will get to know each other, spark creativity and offer support for starting EdLab projects. The space is open to outside partners and students alike, and we look forward to seeing you all. Come and play, and make your #goodstuff happen!

Videos from the event…………..










EdLab Launch Event – 24th September 1-3pm

You are invited to the EdLab Student Launch event on the 24th September 1-3pm in the 2nd floor resource area of the Brooks building.

“EdLab” is a part of the CYES department’s commitment to enhancing your experience and developing your unique skills and employability profile. EdLab will give you the opportunity to work directly with external partners in the public and private sector to solve real-world educational challenges and capitalise on new opportunities. You might develop a workshop or intervention, an app, product or resource – you will make a difference as part of the local community, and gain experiences that will make you even more distinctive. Come along to the launch workshop to learn a bit more about the lab, and play with responding to challenges from our partner organisations in creative and interesting ways.

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EdLab Spark: Help the work of Hulme Garden Centre with young people

For 15 years Hulme Community Garden Centre’s vibrant site, incorporating a thriving garden centre and inspiring community gardens has brought the community together through gardening and provided a vital green space to enjoy, relax in, learn from and be part of.


We run a fantastic Toddlers group on Thursday mornings. People tell us that it’s magical.  How can we best capture and share the good things that happen in these sessions so that others can learn from them? You will be able to observe and record these sessions happening by helping out. You can also ask the workshop leader questions after it happens too.

The Garden centre work with a good number of primary schools in the area who come to visit for tours and activities – we also work in schools delivering hands on activities and even designing and installing school gardens…we can provide activities around growing food, biodiversity and bushcraft and there are plenty of curriculum link opportunities. We need your help to expand this service:

How can we best market the fact that we can do work within schools…a case study? Video?

How do we get more schools to visit and present the curriculum links alongside the benefits of simply being outdoors? What is the most effective way of getting our message to the right people in schools and not into the bin!?

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Help Uncovering Hidden Voices Create a Visual History Resource

Uncovering Voices is a project which aims to build on some of the work of the Hidden Voices community research project which focused on the day-to-day lives, views and experiences of Hulme’s older residents. Hidden Voices was lead by local residents and studied the local area. They found that that isolation and disengagement of the elderly was a big problem locally. 

We are looking to work with local partners to support this challenge. The challenge for us is to come up with information, images and text to help jog memories and provoke discussion. There are many resources open to us in the MMU and central library. We can work together to gather these images and stories to put them onto tablets to bring the get togethers of the community groups.

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EdLab Spark: Creating ‘Cooler’ teaching resources on Climate


The Carbon Literacy Project is helping by creating a “carbon instinct”, making it routine for all for us to make those everyday changes that minimise the damage, and maximise our opportunity, now and in the future.

Climate Change affects everyone, and although more and more people are now responding, not everyone has yet realised how urgent and important our actions are.

Cooler have developed resources on carbon sustainability to deliver in schools. The target age range is Year 6 and Year 7. At EdLab we look forward to working with Cooler to help deliver these sessions in the new year but there is a more pressing challenge.


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EdLab Spark: Design an app to help refugee community groups create websites

In these times of mass migration and refugee crisis, the web is being used as a key tool to mobilise support and spread helpful information. Mobile devices are being used more and more as the tool to share information and access learning. Our challenge is to work with an existing course to take advantage of the web and mobiles.

Community Arts North West have a strong track record of supporting refugee groups and individuals through their Exodus programmes. We will work with CAN to create resources for refugee groups on how to create  community or campaign websites.

CAN run a course to support community groups called Community SpirIT. Community SpirIT is a free introductory digital-media training course run by Community Arts North West aimed at community leaders.

Students will have the opportunity to attend parts of the course and to observe the training in progress. They will work with the course leaders to evaluate how to best take this learning and make it available as a resource to create campaign and community website for refugee groups.

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Summary of Everybody Loves Robots project

MMU’s pilot project ‘EVERYBODY LOVES ROBOTS’ came to a close on 1st April. Pupils from three local primary schools brought their robots to the ‘show and tell’ celebration event. And they were AWESOME! Check them out…


Videos of the project

Here is a video made up of stills of the project.

It’s not finished but we wanted to share the rough cut with you. MMU student Thomas Payton-Greene made this rather wonderful video about the recent Everybody Loves Robots MMU/ Manchester Hive project:

Originally posted here.

Below is a photo gallery of stills from the video.

Manchester Learning Hive – teaching technology in the gaps

There are many ways to learn about technology. We all know about ICT and Computing lessons as schools but what about other ways. Based on feedback from students, we are are very interested in making connections between learning technology to other areas of interest. To do this we are looking for inspiration from the HIVE Learning Networks especially those in New York  and Chicago.

We want you to think of activities that can be a good base for future work for the Hive Network in Manchester. These activities could be driven by any passion. It could be interest in Music, interest in changing the world or making your neighbourhood a better place. It could be putting on a fun event.

Digital technology is now everywhere but we are still all learning to use it to make the world a better, more connected place. The key part of this mission is to engage not only with the digital and technology elements of a project but to bring in civil or human rights issues.

About Hive Learning Networks

The following video best explains how a Hive Network can be useful for a city.

MMU student Thomas Payton-Greene made this video about Everybody Loves Robots MMU/ Manchester Hive project:

More Information:

If you would like to support and develop this project please contact or

Partner Name: Manchester Hive

Keywords: civic issues, popular education, hive networks, digital rights