Last week, I attended a workshop in West Ham hosted by UCL’s public engagement team. The aim was to bring together groups from a range of stakeholders to begin discussing what the museum and engagement space should look like at UCL East. There were lots of people from PACE (Public and Cultural Engagement) – especially from the UCL Museums. I was joined by colleagues Tabitha Tuckett and Peter Field in representing UCL Library Services. The first thing we learnt is that it is imperative that engagement with the local community begins well before the building space itself is constructed – and this demonstrated to me how UCL East is so much more than just a building.
A point of discussion which exercised us for quite some time was how to ensure we create a space which can accommodate a disparate range of users. It was felt that a range of suitable spaces for debate and dialog was important in enabling connections between researchers and residents in Newham Borough to be created. Also, that whilst many specific activities might be catered for on the site (e.g. swimming), people would also want a place to congregate, network, and socialise and find information. What better place than a UCL Library Hub for such a venue?
As the new KPA Outreach representative for UCL Library Services, this was a great opportunity to meet colleagues in PACE and learn more about what UCL is trying to achieve with this project. It was great to be able to contribute ideas which will help place the library at the centre of this.