Skip to main content

Accelerating civic impact: Camberwell College of Arts joins England-wide action learning programme

  • Written byNicole Horgan
  • Published date 29 August 2023
Festival for Community Organising | Photography by Disha Kulkarni, 2023

Camberwell College of Arts has been selected to join a group of 12 civic university partnerships as part of the National Civic Impact Accelerator (NCIA) Action Learning Programme (ALP), launched by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) and Sheffield Hallam University (SHU).

The partnerships will join a dynamic action learning programme over the next 18 months, working on a range of challenges, including: how to measure the impact of civic partnerships; how to develop equitable partnerships which realise mutual benefit; how to find meaningful ways to involve communities and citizens in decision making, and how to work with communities to address the climate agenda.

As the UK’s largest art and design university, UAL is uniquely placed to explore civic engagement through a creative lens. Our 2022-32 strategy sets out a clear commitment to change the world through our creative endeavour, addressing deep rooted social, cultural, environmental, and economic problems. Spearheaded by the Public and Community Engagement team at Camberwell College of Arts, the college’s participation in the programme will focus on Camberwell and Peckham in Southwark, London.

This work will capitalise on an already established vision for a local civic ecosystem that includes physical spaces – such as the Eagle Wharf Hub – and activity spanning business incubation and community engagement. It will also leverage pre-existing relationships within the local community with key stakeholders such as Southwark Council and Citizens UK with the aim of creating an ecosystem that drives economic growth, addresses societal issues, and supports the local community. The main challenges that the team will be focusing on will be:

  • How can Camberwell College of Arts create an ecosystem from disparate spaces and programmes to support the growth of creative and tech businesses in Southwark?
  • How can Camberwell College of Arts work with Citizens UK to address local housing issues?
  • How can Camberwell College of Arts develop its relationship with NHS South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the South London NHS anchor alliance to address local health and wellbeing?
We want to build on a strong history of committed but dispersed local community engagement to develop a strategy for long-term, high impact work. Moreover, [this] is a critical opportunity for us to drive internal change in the approach to local, civic work institutionally. We are excited to share valuable learnings and insights across these partnerships and co-create innovative solutions for greater civic impact together as higher education institutions.

— Hannah Guthrie Head of Public Engagement at Camberwell College of Arts, Chelsea College of Arts and Wimbledon College of Arts

The programme will be kicking off in September, where all participating universities will be gathering in Birmingham to join action learning sets looking specifically at measuring civic impac, mobilising knowledge for civic impact and navigating complex local and political geographies.

For updates on the Action Learning Programme and further resources and development opportunities, make sure to follow the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement and the NCIA.