W2 Day 2 - Tools and methods for building narratives

The morning of day two was hosted by one of our Brussels partners, Housing Europe. Here all the partners sat down for the workshop entitled, ‘Co-designing a pedagogical framework’, coordinated by the University of Sheffield team. The aim of this session was to understand how we can create a common way of teaching which is underpinned by a shared set of principles and learning approaches to inclusion. After splitting into three groups, each group briefly studied one of the following pedagogical frameworks; NESTA Playbook for Innovation Learning, Live Projects Handbook (University of Sheffield), Learning and teaching strategy 2016-2021 (University of Sheffield). The groups discussed the format and contents of each, looking at benefits and drawbacks of their format and content. After a full team reflection on each group’s observations, each were asked to work together to answer the following questions:

What should the aims of the DESINC pedagogical framework be?

Collation of group thoughts:

- Audience : Educators (Partners) , Students, Civil (partners) / Diverse Audience

- Flexible, adaptable framework

- Active document, question-posing, game?

- Learning and shared knowledge as focus (rather than teacher vs. learner) - what can be learnt from each participant, students, civil society...

- Ethics of partnerships and engagement - Code of conduct

- Address new learning needs identified through DESINC project

- Accessible in terms of language and content

What should the main components of the pedagogical framework be?

Collation of group thoughts:


- Short and Sharp

- Visual (But not overwhelming)

- Double text (summary and depth)

- Questions as table of contents

- Jargon free

- Abstract elements and terms paired with descriptions or examples

- Roadmap: how do you read/ use the whole document

After a productive morning session, we made our way to one of the most successful social economy enterprises in Brussels Communa. While there we had a short talk about the origins of the enterprise. The group was founded over 4 years ago, and its central aim is to facilitate community life in temporarily vacant buildings. This particular space has been transformed into a hybrid space, which intermingles neighbourhood community activities, artistic workshops, repair cafe, exchange library, food and drink. Here one of the small businesses they are supporting, OUR HOUSE, treated us to a lovely Syrian vegan lunch. They are a refugee-led catering cooperative set up 1.5 years ago who use their profits to run social projects.

The afternoon session took place at the ‘Social Platform’, which is the largest network of European rights and value-based civil society organisations working in the social sector. The KU Leuven team arranged for three talks around the topic of ‘Building Narratives of Inclusion’. First up, teacher, architect and anthropologist Koen De Wandeler (KU Leuven) talked about his work around rhythm analysis, and how by intervening in the everyday rhythm of people’s lives, can be an opportunity for interaction with the local residents. The second speaker was independent researcher Afra Dekie. Her work looks at making visible the exclusion of the undocumented persons in Brussels. She worked with them to develop their narrative of the city through urban photography. She found that the safety of the camera enabled her participants to venture out into the highly policed tourist areas of Brussels to take photographs, spaces they would normally avoid, and in some cases had never been.

Finally, social justice meditator, Minne Huysmans (Vrije Univrsiteit Brussel) presented his research project in Anneessens neighbourhood of Brussels, a space historically seen as the arrival zone quarter. Here he used the tools of walking interviews and digital storytelling to record the narratives of the residents of the area. After which the urban intervention of the Sjarel, a mobile shed which acted as a gathering space and served tea and coffee to passerbys, was used to widen the participant circle. The research work resulted in an act of civil disobedience by the team and local residents, who took over a vacant plot to build a park for the neighbourhood.

The day ended with an inspiring talk and walk by Petra Pferdmenges of Alive Architecture. Petra took us around Parckfarm in Molenbeek - a project she worked on in close collaboration with local citizen’s initiatives.