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Call for community to collaborate on new degree course


Members of the community across the Yorkshire region are being invited to collaborate with Leeds Beckett University on the creation of a new education and social innovation degree course.

Professor Damien Page

The Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett is working with social enterprise, Doing Social, to launch a new course, a BA (Hons) degree in Education, Childhood and Social Innovation, which will be co-created and co-delivered by people and organisations with experience and expertise within their local communities. 

The co-creation process will be launched at a free event on Thursday 27 April, from 2-5pm, at Leeds Beckett’s Headingley Campus. The event is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the process or who is interested in participating. It will include a panel-led discussion, ‘Building an inclusive economy: co-creation and community-led innovation’. 

Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, commented: “As one of the leading Schools of Education in the country, we’re committed to creating impact not just in schools but in the wider community and this course does exactly that. We’re proud to partner with Doing Social and provide a collaborative degree focused on helping students to identify social and community issues then co-design their solutions to effect real change. 

“For our students, it will develop a wide range of skills and experiences highly valued by employers but it will also provide the opportunity to co-create social innovations and community ventures. More than that, the course will create real solutions to real social issues, which is a key principle of Leeds Beckett’s strategy to drive forward development in the region.” 

Harsha Patel, Chief Executive of Doing Social, whose mission is to promote and enable meaningful co-creation and inclusive social innovation practice in Britain, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Carnegie School of Education to launch this new course. Our role in this partnership is to lead the process to co-create this degree with civil society and other stakeholders, and also to lead the co-delivery of the course with partners, specifically the content relating to social innovation. 

“While this course must lead to strong outcomes for students, we believe it must also have a wider impact outside of the University. Our ambition is that the course will contribute to efforts to tackle socio-economic issues, inclusion challenges, and market failures at local levels and will improve skills and build capacity in communities. It’s important therefore, that the course is based on ‘place-based’ principles and that both local and national stakeholders are involved in an inclusive and meaningful way.” 

The new degree programme, which will begin in September 2018, will cover: building an inclusive economy, community-led innovation, design for co-creation, and grassroots-led approaches. As part of the degree, students will also share their knowledge, developing capacity, and co-creating ideas with civil society and others to tackle local social challenges.

Harsha added: “To tackle poverty and disadvantage effectively and build an economy and society that is fair and inclusive, where everyone has access to the right opportunities to progress in life, we need to invest in ‘bottom-up’ solutions and innovations - i.e. solutions that are led by and co-created meaningfully with community beneficiaries.” 

Speakers at the event include Rob Greenland, Co-Founder of Leeds Community Homes, Neil McInroy, Chief Executive of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), Naomi Mwasmambili, Director of Chanua Health, and Jacqui Howard, Deputy Head of Engagement at the RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)It will be chaired and hosted by Professor Damien Page, Dean of the Carnegie School of Education. The ambitions for the new course and the co-creation process also will be discussed at the event, as well as an outline of the opportunities to get involved. 

For more information, and to reserve a place, please click here.

A series of focus groups has already taken place to begin the co-creation process. These have taken place with key local organisations including Voluntary Action Leeds and Batley Girls’ Sixth Form. 

An online survey will also be launched, inviting people to share their ideas and to express interest in delivering content within the course. For more information, please contact Doing Social.

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