The outcomes of intensive public engagement through Mapping Nottingham’s Identity project were presented in the form of a public exhibition (3 September–1 October 2016). It was organised in Nottingham Central Library – a free community space, easily accessible and known to the wider public. It included a set of workshops that are explained in more detail in ‘A participatory methods’ toolkit’ [see method 10].

This page briefly explains the results created in the intersection between public engagement and creative practices.

2 Mapping your identity

3 Mapping Carrington’s identity

5 ‘Loading ... ’ area

4 Mapping Sneinton’s identity

1 Co-creation of Knowledge

Participation lies at the heart of this project. In several experiments participants planned, explored, discussed, engaged, designed, and made things together. Anyone could participate in the project, in any way and at any time to ensure inclusivity and flexibility. The agenda and outcome were not predetermined, which made the process exciting and challenging as ideas evolved and changed as necessary. The process included dealing with time management, negotiating different expectations, accepting risk as part of the process, identifying responsibilities, finding a common language, fighting our egos, and building mutual trust. Every mistake was a way of learning. Improvisation was imperative for the project’s success.

Engaging with primary school pupils was a very important part of the project: we wanted to start dialogues about issues of identity and belonging, as well as promote an awareness of the built environment.

Discovery of Sneinton’s very active and engaged community inspired us to design and create a common resource that will strengthen the existing links between the various community groups, and inspire new ones in the future. In collaboration with Sneinton Alchemy, kNott (the modular furniture as seen on display) was designed and created through dialogue with the various local community organisations in order to fulfil a number of different functions from community kitchen furniture to a performance stage. Through mapping the work and collaborative links of these organisations, we identified community needs and motivations. kNott is not only an object – it represents and encourages cooperation and trust. KNott elements are now stored and used in Sneinton Market, and will be combined and exchanged among organisations in Sneinton when necessary. Material was kindly donated from the local supermarket TWO J. A DIY guide will enable the future growth of the structure on the basis of the community’s capacity and needs.

In collaboration with Carrington Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (CTARA), we started getting to know Carrington through speaking to the residents about local stories, heritage, current activities, and collective memory. By asking them to draw a map of their neighbourhood as they imagine it, we identified places with the strongest community narrative. This small area is bursting with neighbourhood spirit and heritage legacy. We believe that in the years to come, we will be able to use design techniques to amplify good practices that are already taking place in Carrington, and thus inspire new ones. The main potential of this area lies in creative and active individuals, as well as great links and communication between the local community, Nottingham City Council, and local businesses.

This part of the exhibition evolved during the public engagement workshops.