ASF’s international network exchange ideas for new learning experiences

During the annual global ASF International General Assembly in Marseille in April 2018, ASF International, ASF UK and ASF France jointly collaborated to deliver a Challenging Practice (CP) one-day seminar as part of the DESINC project. This was an opportunity for ASF to pilot its new Challenging Practice learning experiences which form part of Intellectual Output 2 of the DESINC programme.

Challenging Practice (CP) is an independent-learning programme for built environment professionals and students that want to work collaboratively with vulnerable urban communities. It is currently delivered by various ASF groups - in the UK, France, Italy, Sweden and Spain.

In a typical CP Stage A seminar, participants will spend a day learning through one specific scenario that has been developed from the activities ASF is involved in. In this case, detailed personas of different refugee situations have been developed based on the learning outcomes so far of the DESINC project such as the experience of refugees along their migration journey. This was an opportunity to test these new learning methods and tools within the ASF network. We had around 30 participants attend from 15 different countries.

Through role-play exercises and various participatory methodologies, participants were able to explore a multi-layered understanding of the situation faced by the refugee personas, the links with other actors and the wider neighbourhood, as well as considering the challenges of intervening in complex social, political and economic contexts.

Using ASF tools and methods, together we created strategies to co-create solutions based on the personas and to address their needs and address the challenges that were affecting their wellbeing and inclusion.

We ended the session by having a group reflection on the seminar so that this feedback can be taken on board for the ongoing development of the DESINC learning experiences. This seminar was also a great opportunity for some of the organisations currently delivering Stage A seminars to share their experiences with other ASF-International members. This was done by involving participants from other ASF organisations in an example of what a Stage A seminar looks like.

This seminar was followed up by a Training for Trainers session for ASF organisations aspiring to start running CP in their own countries. Attendees had the chance to share their experiences and challenges, provide feedback and comments about the seminar they were involved in, and get a deeper understanding of the preparation needed to deliver CP. We also agreed to have a working group and developed a systems for members to support each other as things evolve.

We hope this can lead to the expansion and strengthening of Challenging Practice across the ASF network. We are also looking forward to keep on combining DESINC and Challenging Practice as a way for people to develop new skills to approach and work collaboratively with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.