Sheffield Hallam University and 3edges preview engage! - a toolkit for inclusive place design

On May 17, Sinead O’Toole, Future Spaces manager at Sheffield Hallam University, and Ian Ellison from 3edges previewed their new collaborative project at the Workplace Trends Learning Environments conference. engage! is a toolkit for inclusive place design for the higher and further education sectors and beyond. It focuses on learning and working environments, participatory design, and the student experience.

The toolkit was developed to help engage and consult with stakeholders when creating new learning and workplaces. A common challenge, and one Hallam were keen to address directly, is how to ensure that staff are consulted in a meaningful way, feel valued and engage actively from the outset. The toolkit encourages early consultation through consideration of place rather than space.

3edges and the University worked to co-create an innovative, scalable toolkit to use during the early stages of any project to achieve a solid design brief, where project aims reflect strategic goals, and staff remain engaged throughout the project. The toolkit considers a pre-stage to RIBA's Plan of Work entitled ‘strategic visioning’; encouraging the key stakeholders to consider the vision and needs of the building project before thinking about the physical spaces required.

engage! workshops are already in use around the University to support the delivery of Hallam's campus plan; with very positive feedback from Sheffield Business School’s PVC and Faculty Leadership Team.

Hallam and 3edges are keen to share this invaluable tool and are currently exploring ways to fund the commercialisation of the toolkit. You can register your interest to learn more about the developing initative here.

Daniel Ladbury, Director of Estates said, “We want to create an exceptional environment in which to learn and work; this is an exciting opportunity for us to explore ways to deliver a modern, diverse and flexible learning environment that supports Sheffield Hallam to achieve its ambition of becoming the world’s leading applied university but that also attracts, engages and retains its students and staff.”

Ian Ellison, Co-founder and Director of 3edges said, “We were incredibly privileged to be able to work with Sinead, and are delighted with the new opportunities that this emergent commission has created. Our shared knowledge of Hallam helped unlock creative insights together, and we’re really excited to invite other HE sector institutes to embrace this democratising toolkit to create a community of place-making learning together.”