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Creating Connections East: spaces available for event on 10th June

Benjamin Meunier24 May 2019

Creating Connections East: UK 2070 Commission on Inequalities

Monday 10 June 2019 15:00 – 17:00

Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6HG

Creating Connections is a regular networking event bringing people together from UCL with representatives of community organisations, charities, residents’ groups, social enterprises and statutory organisations. For our next event, we’re teaming up with the UK2070 Commission, an independent inquiry into social and economic inequality in the UK. We warmly invite you to join us.


We’ve still got some spaces available – find out more and sign up at studentsunionucl.org/volunteering/about/creating-connections/creating-connections-east

And if you know anyone else at UCL who might be interested, please do feel free to pass on this invitation.

Topics will include:

Local talent & skills: Come and talk to people interested in: how to nurture local skills, ensuring local talent is part of the economic future, support for vocational training, how universities can support local job markets, how we can help people overcome barriers to entering the workforce.


New technology: Come and talk to people interested in: how new technology can create new jobs, how the Voluntary and Community sector can benefit from new technology, how schools can prepare young people for technological change, how data science can be utilised by communities, what opportunities are there in clean tech?


Local cultural and sporting sectors: Come and talk to people interested in: how to engage under-represented groups in the cultural and sporting activities; what role universities have in the cultural and sporting sectors; the role of culture and sport in economic development.


Supporting projects for the future: Come and talk to people interested in: What types of projects would transform east London for long term success? What services and activities should local decision-makers focus on? What would success look like in east London?


This is a short networking event for people interested in these issues – a starting point for finding like-minded people you might want to collaborate with. It’s intended for experts, beginners and everyone in between. It’s not a conference and there won’t be long plenary speeches or workshops!


Light refreshments will be provided.


Find out more and register at:


If you’ve any questions or comments about the event, contact John Braime at Students’ Union Volunteering Service (j.braime@ucl.ac.uk) , Briony Fleming in UCL’s Public Engagement Unit (b.fleming@ucl.ac.uk) or Lucy Natarajan from UCL / UK 2070 (lucy.natarajan@ucl.ac.uk)


Creating Connections East is organised by UCL’s Public Engagement Unit, Students’ Union UCL’s Volunteering Service and The UK2070 Commission

INVITE: Creating Connections 24 April – The St Pancras & Somers Town Living Centre

Benjamin Meunier10 April 2018

Creating Connections
Tuesday 24 April 18.00 – 20.00

The St Pancras & Somers Town Living Centre, 2 Ossulston Street, NW1 1DF (5 minute walk from Kings Cross & St Pancras Underground station)


Register via the Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service website where you can also find further information.


Creating Connections is a regular networking event that brings together staff and postgraduate students from University College London (UCL) with representatives from community organisations, charities, residents’ groups, social enterprises and statutory organisations. We have a mixture of themed discussions in small groups and the potential for more informal networking throughout the event with the aim being to find areas of common interest and encourage collaborative working. At this event there will be a particular focus on health, wellbeing and co-production in research.


As outlined by INVOLVE:


“Co-producing research is an approach to research in which researchers, practitioners and public work together, sharing power and responsibility from the start to the end of a research project, including the generation of knowledge”.


If you are interested in making links with community organisations from St Pancras and Somers Town, Camden and beyond – please come along!


Topics will include:


Homelessness and wellbeing

  • What services are available locally and how do we mobilise local organisations and institutions to collectively provide ongoing, cross-sector support all year (not just at Christmas) to prevent those at risk of homelessness becoming homeless?
  • How can we work together to ensure that pro bono clinical care reaches those most in need in community settings?


The impact of construction on the health of a local area

  • How can we work together to minimise the effects of large scale construction work on our health?
  • What are the most useful ways to address the impact of lost green space and green infrastructure on the mental health and wellbeing of us all?


Air quality and health

  • How can we move from strategic thinking to practical ‘on-the-ground’ solutions to health challenges that have come about because of poor air quality?
  • Are there ways that we can use technology and/or people power to address air-quality-related health problems?


Local antibiotic use

  • How can we work together to better understand how society can influence the use of antibiotics and their effectiveness?
  • Are there some practical solutions that we can start to put in place, such as social prescribing (referral to local, nonclinical community services), in order to improve local community health?


Greening and the community

  • What are some practical approaches to greening that everyone can work together on, in order to improve the mental and physical health of the neighbourhood?
  • Are there key places within the community that lend themselves to greening that we can easily take advantage of as a group?


Social care integration with health

  • How can we integrate social care more closely within the local healthcare system in order to avoid duplication of effort by patients and clinicians, lost notes etc.?
  • What role might social prescribing play in social care?
  • What are the biggest challenges to the concept of a lifetime home becoming a reality and how do we address these?


Note that the event is a short networking event for people interested in these issues – a starting point for finding like-minded people you might want to collaborate with. It’s intended for experts, beginners and everyone in between. It’s not a conference and there won’t be long plenary speeches or workshops!


Light refreshments will be provided.


Register via the Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service website where you can also find further information.


If you have any questions or comments about the event, contact Niccola Hutchinson-Pascal at UCL’s Centre for Co-production in Health Research (n.pascal@ucl.ac.uk), John Braime at Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service (j.braime@ucl.ac.uk), Sarah Elie at Somers Town Community Association (sarah@somerstown.org.uk) or Hannah Camm at the Francis Crick Institute (hannah.camm@crick.ac.uk).


Creating Connections is organised by UCL’s Public Engagement Unit, Students’ Union UCL’s Volunteering Service, The St Pancras & Somers Town Living Centre, Somers Town Community Association, and The Francis Crick Institute.



Creating Connections: Libraries

Benjamin Meunier16 June 2016

Last week’s Creating Connections event was sponsored by The Knowledge Quarter. Dr Celia Caulcott, UCL’s Vice-Provost (Enterprise), greeted attendees with a welcome to UCL and an update on progress with developing a strategy for London to ensure that we realise the UCL 2034 Principal Theme 5 “in London, of London and for London”. The VP emphasised how UCL’s challenges and areas of strength mirror those of London as a city with special mention of architecture, culture and biomedicine (connected with London’s world-leading hospitals) as areas of excellence and London’s ubiquitous challenge of lack of space. One could easily have added libraries as an area where UCL’s strengths reflect London’s huge network of libraries and innovation in the sector: UCL’s Bloomsbury Campus is surrounded by the greatest concentration of libraries, museums and archives in Europe…


Perhaps in friendly retaliation for having booked John Braime, the organiser of the Creating Connections event from the Volunteering Services Unit in UCLU, to speak at our Library Staff Conference in July, I had been invited to facilitate the discussion on “Libraries”. As we were about to begin, I noticed that on our table were jars of Cubed Earwax and vials of Salt Made from Tears of Boredom and a tin of Escalating Panic. With more than a soupçon of trepidation as I wondered whether I would momentarily be disapparating off to Honeydukes or finding that Willy Wonka had registered late for our table, I started off a round of introductions. The group comprised colleagues from LB Newham, the British Library, Wellcome Collections, the UCL Department of Applied Health Research, government policy researchers and local community / voluntary organisations BuddyHub and the Ministry of Stories (a writing and mentoring centre for children, who had brought in the aforementioned “monster supplies”).


Discussion was lively. It was noted that there appeared to be a two-tier approach developing in the sector, with well-funded academic and research libraries on the one hand growing services around user demand and needs and establishing high-quality spaces. On the other hand, public libraries, with decreasing funding and pressure on space, seemed not to be taking into account user needs to the same extent. There should be more sharing of good practice between public and other libraries, to help with developments on a national (and indeed, international) level. Some public libraries are converting, and host activities ranging from reading groups to Zumba classes, but it was noted that many new libraries do not have fit-for-purpose space for events or do not allow posters to be placed on walls or noticeboards, hindering the ability of local communities and groups to interact. The group felt quite strongly that there needs to be space in the library, physical and digital, for people to share information, meet and make connections, and that libraries should facilitate events (for instance to support literacy or creative writing initiatives).

Space for users to post feedback or notices, such as the board used in the UCL Cruciform Hub, should be encouraged to enable users to have a say in their library services


In the spirit of “creating connections”, there was some discussion on value of having some digital space where library users could share interests, so that people with shared areas of interest could find out about each other and potentially collaborate. This prompted Nigel Spencer from the British Library to share information with me about an initiative he is leading called The Idea Spotlight: User Community, described in his words below.


“The Community is part of a project which aims to make our site at St Pancras in London one of the UK’s most open, creative and innovative public spaces for the 21st century and our initial focus will be services that we offer at our St Pancras site.

It is an ‘idea management platform’ which will enable people to submit ideas in response to specific questions and challenges to comment on other people’s ideas.  Ideas will be reviewed by us periodically and a decision taken on whether to take the ideas forward.  The process will be transparent and, we will give a clear explanation in the case of any ideas that we do not take forward.

This link will take you to the community website from which you can follow a simple registration process:   https://blideaspotlight.wazoku.com/ccc/community

The platform will be officially launched in late-June 2016 but we are inviting people to join now and contribute prior to the main launch.  The first 2 challenges we are posting are:

  • ‘Making the most of your first visit to the British Library’.  This will invite suggestions on how someone’s first experience of the BL could be enhanced.
  • ‘Meeting people at the British Library’.  This seeks to explore the assumption that people want to meet people that are researching similar topics by asking them what we can do to enable people to meeting, interact and collaborate.

This is the first time that the British Library has used this collaborative approach and we are hoping that we will get some great and unexpected ideas and know that we will learn much more about how we can develop services that users will find valuable.“


The DOK in Delft (you can follow a virtual tour here led by its charismatic founder and director Erik Boekesteijn), The Hive in Worcester and Chattanooga Library in the US were mentioned as examples of great innovative practice in the public library sector.


The Human Library where readers were encouraged to “borrow” people rather than books, was described as a project at the Wellcome which was very popular and enriching. The goal of the Human Library is to challenge prejudice through conversation, and it struck me as a great way for libraries to fulfil their place furthering equality and diversity in modern democratic society.



Following the event, I came across this write up on a recent symposium at Trinity College, Dublin on “Library Futures”. You can watch and see slides from all the talks, including Jeffrey Schnapp’s thought-provoking presentation on how libraries will survive and even thrive after 2019 when, according to a timeline created jointly by What’s Next and Future Exploration Network, libraries are due to follow in the way of the dinosaur, the dodo and affordable housing and become “extinct”. Happily, the discussion at Creating Connections concluded with a strong sense that libraries are dynamic places which are re-defining themselves and I was especially pleased to get feedback from some colleagues (who confessed that they had not placed “Libraries” as their first choice for discussion) who found that they learned some new things and were excited about the new developments which are happening in libraries.


If you want to get involved, the next Creating Connections event will be in the autumn in Stratford. If you are keen interested in The Knowledge Quarter, here is some additional information:



About The Knowledge Quarter

Creating Connections 11 was organised in partnership with The Knowledge Quarter, a consortium of 66 partner organisations of many different kinds but with one thing in common – they are all actively engaged in advancing and disseminating knowledge. KQ focuses its support on innovation, collaboration and knowledge exchange by establishing crucial connections to achieve productive partnerships, fruitful networks and creative interaction. To find out more, visit www.knowledgequarter.london/


Knowledge Quarter Partner Networking event with Central Saint Martins

The next KQ partner networking event on Friday 24th of June is in partnership with the MA Innovation Management postgraduate course at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. Click here to register.


Camden STEAM Commission

The Knowledge Quarter in partnership with Camden Council and Wellcome Trust will launch a commission to raise aspirations and improve access to opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) careers within the borough. Click here for more information.