Community Engagement

Ideas Workshop 1: October 2008

21/22 October 2008 at The Canongate Youth Project, Edinburgh

workshop participants from Canongate Youth ProjectSome of the participants in the first Ideas Workshop. Photo by Peter Dibdin.

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50 photos of the workshop have been uploaded onto Flickr. Photography by Peter Dibdin.



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A two-part film documenting ideas from the workshop has been shared on You Tube. View it here.

A very successful Ideas workshop was held at Canongate Youth Project (CYP), over two half days, for 30 young people who researched the history of The Causey and imagined its future as a vibrant space for people, one which highlights its significance and that of its surrounding historic buildings. The workshop was one of several to be held in a community engagement process intended to draw out ideas for the future of The Causey from the community.

Our partners in this event were The Canongate Youth Project who hosted the event and The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Buildings of Scotland (RCAHMS) who gave participants access to their historical archive and expertise. CYP members formed the core of the workshop participants while a number of participants came from The University of Edinburgh Department of Architecture, The Woodcraft Folk, First Bite Theatre Company, Muirhouse Youth Development Group and individual young people from the local community.

The content and activity of the workshops was led by RCAHMS at their site and by ARCADE Architects, in collaboration with artist Shaeron Averbuch, at the CYP base. Filming was carried out by Glenda Rome and stills photography by Peter Dibdin. The event was co-ordinated by Isobel Leckie.

Documenting the ideas

Part 1

Part 2

Content of the workshop

The aim of the workshop was to understand the history and the present condition of the Causey, the triangular space at the junction of Buccleuch Street and West Crosscauseway, and propose ideas for what it should become and how it could be used in future that will inform the process of re-designing the space for people.

On Day 1 participants were introduced to the documents, maps, photographs and on-line resources available for researching historic buildings at RCAHMS. The young people then visited the Search Room, examining and retrieving resources specifically about The Causey, obtaining photocopies of these to assist their knowledge about its past use and configuration. Participants then spent time in The Causey itself, considering its present use as a place for cars, looking at the surrounding buildings, making sketches, taking Polaroid photographs , completing surface “rubbings” and noting their reactions to the space. All information was gathered into a folder of “evidence” by each young person.

On Day 2, workshop participants, working in groups, and using the evidence gathered from Day 1, created visual representations of its past and present, all illuminating and diverse. When these were presented by each group to the others, it was clear that the young people had gained much knowledge and understanding of The Causey from their research on Day 1.

A presentation by ARCADE Architects on the history of streets in general then explored how they have changed over time and how, with the vast increase in car ownership and use, vehicular traffic has become the dominant influence on the design and use of the public realm.

Working in groups, participants then imagined how The Causey would look and how people might use it in future. They created three-dimensional models that represented and expressed their ideas and, at the end of the workshop, presented them to the whole group.

All the ideas, images and representations of the future Causey were transcribed and photographed and the models stored safely, to be used for future reference when the community engagement process is complete. The workshop was also filmed and a DVD has been compiled to form a critical part of the briefing process for the professional designers who will take the project forward in due course.


workshop partners

Causey2 acknowledges funding and support from: workshop support