Incubating civic leadership in design: The role of cross-pollination spaces

Alexiou, Katerina; Zamenopoulos, Theodore; Hale, Veronica and de Sousa, Sophia (2022). Incubating civic leadership in design: The role of cross-pollination spaces. In: DRS2022: Bilbao (Lockton, D; Lenzi, S; Hekkert, P; Oak, A; Sabada, J and Lloyd, P eds.), Design Research Society.



The paper explores the hypothesis that access to places that enhance capabilities for co-design work across sectors, is an important vehicle for incubating and supporting civic leadership. More specifically, the paper reports insights from a study which created ‘cross-pollination’ spaces to bring together academic and non-academic individuals from different backgrounds, disciplines, and sectors to explore the notion of incubating civic leadership and to develop pop-up interventions to test ideas for incubating civic leadership in two locations in the UK. Drawing on the reflections of participants collected through group reflection spaces and through individual interviews, the study identifies a number of common themes which help understand the value of cross-pollination spaces, but also the barriers and enablers of civic design leadership. As such, the study contributes to both the theory and practice of co-design within and with communities across sectors.

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