Design Innovation and Land-Assets:

Towards New Thinking & Communities

The Design Innovation and Land Assets (DI&L) FoF project will connect academics, designers, artists, rural sustainability experts, human geographers, cultural policy workers and community groups. The contextually located programme focuses on the articulation of island communities’ shared land assets and use in relation to social, cultural, economic (including non-monetary economic) factors and associated wellbeing domains. It will comprise of a series of site specific co-design workshops in Orkney, Shetland and Mull. Through sharing participatory and co-creative methods, island communities will be equipped with the skills to transform their decision-making practices as well as their approaches to governance. It is intended that that this will inform the development of a proposed model for early-stage, community-based policy-formulation.  

Image of Orkney by Michael Johnson

The DI&L FoF team comprises Prof. Lynn-Sayers McHattie of GSA’s Innovation School as Principal Investigator, with DI&L Co-Investigator Dr. Brian Dixon of University of Ulster continuing in the role of Co-Investigator. Elio Caccavale, Reader in Transdisciplinary Design at GSA’s Innovation School, will join the team as a specialist researcher. 

The DI&L FoF team is further enhanced with the inclusion of Project Partners Chris Fremantle, Saoirse Higgins and Dr Katherine Champion who each respectively hold expertise in: ecological theory and practice; art ecology and the Anthropocene; and cultural policy formation. Beyond this, Graeme Howell, Shetland Arts Development Agency and Carol Dunbar, Pier Arts Centre join as Project Partners. Additionally, the PI and Dr Anna Hicks of AHRC funded Landscapes of the Mind Network have identified synergies across their respective projects, particularly related to Orkney, and Dr Hicks will also join the DI&L team as a Project Partner. Further stakeholders will include Mull & Iona Community Trust, Scottish Government representatives and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

DI&L FoF will take place over the course of 18 months in parallel with and building on the DI&L LRN and will involve three inter-related phases: scoping and planning; delivery; and evaluation. A series of co-design workshops will investigate how design innovation principles and practices can provide more holistic approaches to support effective, embodied and experiential insights into land-use decisions that reflect the diverse environmental and historical assets of indigenous island communities. A further workshop will develop a call for a Special Issue of CoDesign Journal on Land Assets, supported by Professor Janet McDonnell Editor in Chief CoDesign.

Image of Orkney by Michael Johnson

The programme will conclude with a DI&L symposium in September 2021, which will simultaneously draw together, evaluate and disseminate the insights and findings. Impact beyond academia will be an embedded component within the project, in the sense that real issues will be explored in the workshops with community members and activists. Dissemination of the project will occur through the production of a publication/report, visual assets (videos and photography) to be distributed both physically and digitally amongst all partners, relevant regional and international policy-makers and wider public

Link to the project page on the UKRI Gateway to Research https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=AH%2FT01234X%2F1