On Monday 30/04, I attended the launch of the Knowledge Quarter Community Champions scheme. The Knowledge Quarter is a partnership of over 85 academic, cultural, scientific and media organisations located in a 1-mile radius around King’s Cross and Bloomsbury. Partners include the British Museum, University of the Arts London, Google, the British Library and UCL.
For more information on the Knowledge Quarter (KQ), see www.knowledgequarter.London
The Community Champions project is a series of events designed to bring KQ partners together with local charities and community groups, in order to encourage KQ partners to develop collaborative projects around the themes of youth, employability, environment and wellbeing.
Jodie Eastwood (Chief Executive, Knowledge Quarter) emphasised the number and importance of libraries in the Knowledge Quarter. One of the major objectives of the KQ is to facilitate more sharing of our resources and collections with the local community. Dr Grace Sims (Outreach Development Manager, Royal Veterinary College and Chair of the Knowledge Quarter Community Engagement Sub Group) outlined the details of these aspirations, to increase the participation of communities with KQ partners like UCL. The scheme is about sharing knowledge of existing programmes between partners, and identifying potential areas for collaboration. The Library Leadership Team are currently collating stories that show how our teams make a contribution to the UCL London Strategy – how UCL Library Services makes “a tangible difference to London’s people, economy, communities and culture”. I have already received some great examples of work with schools and communities in Camden and hope to share this more widely once we the various activities underway have been fed back in the coming week.
Based on the main areas where programmes are already happening, KQ has identified 4 categories: Youth (which covers work with secondary, primary, early years, family), Wellbeing (physical and mental), Employability, Environment.
One of the presentations of early “success stories” was a collaboration between the Recovery College, part of Camden & Islington NHS Trust, and Kings Place Music Foundation. The Recovery College provides courses designed to contribute towards wellbeing and recovery, allowing students to share their experience of mental health or physical health challenges and teach on the courses, with the intention of inspiring hope and embodying the principles of recovery. The speakers emphasised how being able to hold events at Kings Place allowed students to socialise and normalise mental health experiences in a welcoming non-clinical space. This has proven very beneficial to the students of the Recovery College. Wellbeing courses at the Recovery College are open to all, including staff in the KQ partners. For further details see: https://www.candi.nhs.uk/services/recovery-college
Presentations also illustrated how the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) set up a homework club with the Bengali Workers Association (BWA), supporting pupils aged 6-16 (mainly 9-10). This has proven hugely popular with the BWA. The RVC initially offered vet-related activity sessions (e.g. specimen handling in lab coats) but transitioned to support for Maths, English, Science in line with parents’ expectations and demands. The homework club still has a link to the RVC, for instance, narrating the stories of animals or counting different types of animals or bones…
The slides and delegate information pack from the launch event have been uploaded to the Knowledge Quarter website here. If you would like to find out more or get involved in the Knowledge Quarter activities, you can:
- sign up for the newsletter to be kept informed about the latest Knowledge Quarter news and events. You can sign up on the KQ website.
- sign up to the Knowledge Bank, where KQ are trying to encourage people to connect with one another based on skills they want to share or want to learn about.
- attend future events, subject to line manager approval. KQ have a great line up planned for 2018 including private views at the British Library (May 9) and the British Museum (May 18). All of these events are run for free with the aim of encouraging mutual trust and understanding between KQ institutions.