Digital Engagement During a Pandemic: how can you bring people together when you can’t bring people together?

Film by Megan Miller — a film-maker documenting the Future of the High Street project process and sharing these via our monthly project blog.
Testing out WhereBy as a digital engagement tool with the project’s Advisory Board
  • genuine collaboration,
  • respecting the time and input of those involved, including creating two-way reciprocal processes wherever possible (such the prize draw for professional photography, illustration or sign-writing packages for participating businesses),
  • and an open inclusive approach that allows diverse voices as part of these conversations.
  • A dedicated engagement-focussed ‘High Street Tweak’ website and branding, created by New Practice and tailored toward local stakeholders as the ‘storefront’ for the project and ways they can be actively involved. This complements the overall Future of the High Street website which includes more detailed information about the project process and approach that may be of more interest to a professional industry/academic audience.
  • An online survey created using SurveyLab. This is available for local businesses, residents and organisations in Gorgie/Dalry or Dalkeith to fill in via the High Street Tweak website. To respect the time and input many local people had already contributed to previous consultations, rather than repeating Place Standard questions or things that had already been discussed at length for other projects in these locations, we instead summarised previous engagement/consultation reports and asked respondents to rank these by priority or add in others of their own.
  • Participatory mapping as part of the online survey allows the easy communication of the spatial location of participants’ ideas or challenges for their high street. This will be helpful to identify potential locations where a pilot might be most beneficial to address a certain challenge or deliver most impact.
  • Whereby and Miro alongside live digital sketching — the upcoming co-creation workshops at the end of March will be interactive sessions with local businesses, residents and young people, where potential pilot ideas will be explored and then refined with the team of designers and architects. To allow individual voices to be heard, and to facilitate this process, the team will be using Miro as an online whiteboard for sharing thoughts and ideas during the structured workshop, and WhereBy as a web-browser based online meeting tool. In addition, we are currently planning to incorporate live design sketching of ideas to help participants see their ideas come to life and to aid discussion.
  • A blended model for young people — where we mix the best of digitally delivered tools and workshops with physical activity packs. This creates a safe environment for young people to be able to easily engage with the project without having to compromise the tangible, creative making that young people respond to so well.

Direct from the project team: our thoughts and diaries from inside the project process — March 2021.

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