Public Collaboration Lab (PCL) delivers research led collaborative design practice that explores the potential and value of strategic collaboration between local government and design education to service, policy and social innovation.
Building upon learning from an 18 month research partnership between London Borough of Camden and University of the Arts London (UAL) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The PCL leverages synergies between local government’s operational objectives and design education’s learning objectives, co-creating and co-delivering ‘live’ collaborative design projects that variously deliver engagement and consultation, raise awareness and change behaviours, or redefine and redesign ways of developing and delivering services. These approaches embrace staff and students as societal resources and the public context as a learning environment.
At a time of austerity, when reductions in central government funding to local authorities necessitate new ways of meeting the needs of citizens, councils are having to find new ways of working that improve outcomes for citizens while reducing the costs of achieving them. Public Collaboration Lab seeks to provide a ‘de-risked space’ for council staff, university staff, students and citizens to collaborate in interdisciplinary research and practice to explore and experiment with new ways of designing and delivering place-based solutions to local challenges.
Participatory and collaborative design-led approaches engage citizens and other societal actors in the co-definition, co-design and, in some scenarios, co-delivery of social and service innovations that mobilise citizens as experts by experience,as active collaborators and as potential service participants as well as users. This approach recognises citizens both as ‘people with needs’ and as ‘assets in meeting their own and each other’s needs’. Public Collaboration Lab aims to increase understanding of design education’s potential to support innovation practices within local government and among the residents, community groups and businesses they serve and to democratise social and service innovation and improve public outcomes.
Our team is made up of design researchers and project coordinators with many years experience of applying co-design approaches to complex social challenges.
Project teams are assembled in collaboration with partners, bringing together university staff, students and graduates with the specific skills and experience the project demands.