Over the last year the Cross Pollination research project, part of the Placed-Based Research Programme hub, worked in several locations to see how the Cross Pollination approach could enable local organisations to enable their own communities.
One of the key objectives for this particular research project was to develop ways to cascade and enable cross-pollination across places, disciplines and sectors, in order to foster inclusive and sustainable placemaking processes and outcomes.
From the knowledge garnered during this research project and in previous projects, we decided to develop a ‘tool kit’. The Cross Pollination Resource pack is one of the outputs from this research, which is a collaboration between the Open University Design Group and the Glass-House Community Led Design. The resource pack is based on the learning and examples from several research projects that we have collaborated on over the years in a variety of context.
The A4 guide provides a brief introduction and context to cross-pollination, examples of where and how it has been used before, and a practical guide to using the cross-pollination approach in a workshop.
The aim for the pack is to be valuable to anyone interested in exploring the value and mechanisms of collaborative working and in applying these in their local project, however big or small. This includes community leaders, community engagement professionals, voluntary organisations, local authorities, businesses, or members of public bodies supporting placemaking.
The booklet was designed so that it can be read online, but it also contains materials which can be printed out and used in a workshop context. More specifically:
- Section 1 introduces cross-pollination, presenting its history and explaining its key principles, value and use in practice.
- Section 2 showcases a series of 9 case studies, which serve to demonstrate the diversity of contexts and situations in which the approach has been used, and to help provide inspiration on how you can adapt it for your own context and objectives.
- Section 3 provides practical guidance on how you could deliver a cross-pollination workshop to kick-start collaboration in your own network or local place. It explains the key stages of the workshop, together with top facilitation tips and a set of printable materials to use in the workshop.
We welcome your views about the resource, particularly if you are planning to adapt and use it.
Another resource we developed during this research project was this film by Emma Crouch. It captures a workshop we facilitated for the London National Park City (LNPC). LNCP are a grassroots movement aiming to make London greener, healthier, and wilder. They support a network of locally based Rangers across the city to connect and support thousands of people leading change in their own neighbourhoods. With one of their rangers, Becky Lyons, we enabled a cross-pollination workshop in Barnet. This event connected us with Ed Santry and Mark Cridge from LNPC, who were interested in exploring the cross-pollination approach with a wider group of their Rangers.
On Saturday 11 February 2023, the cross-pollination project team delivered a workshop with a group of ten LNPC Rangers that work across Greater London. The afternoon workshop explored the cross-pollination approach, helping the Rangers consider how they could implement the ideas, methods, and tools in each of their local areas, as well as develop an action plan to take the ideas developed on the day forward. By providing the LNPC rangers with an introductory workshop, the Cross-pollination Resource and a short action planning session, that they would be able to leave the workshop feeling equipped and inspired to use the approach in their own localities to generate and enable cross-sector collaboration in placemaking.
Another film we developed captures a Cross-Pollination event that was the result of several cross pollination workshops that were held over several months in Gurnos, in partnership with the Open University in Wales as part of two different projects: the Creu Cyffro Community Renewal Funded project, led by Wellbeing Merthyr, and this AHRC funded Cross-Pollination project. The workshops brought together members of the local authority and local organisations to see how they could connect, share assets and skills, and develop the final event would benefit local people while building a legacy for continued collaboration in Gurnos.
We are hoping to share two more films in the near future, about an event we enabled in Edinburgh. One looking at impact and another showcasing the Cross-Pollination process. So keep an eye out for our upcoming post.
Katerina Alexiou, Theo Zamenopoulos and Vera Hale are part of the Cross Pollination research team based in the OU Design Group. For more information on our research see: