EdLab Highlights of Community Learning Festival 2017

EdLab was happy to be able to contribute some key workshops aimed at children and families for the 2017 Summer Community Learning Festival in the Birley Building.

The festival is an idea way for us to develop our partnerships with local education providers and give us and our students an opportunity to try out new educational sessions.

Below are some photos and quick descriptions of some of the sessions we ran or supported.

Mono Printing and T-shirt creation

This was a session with a great buzz about it and fantastic feedback from families that came to it.

Developing “Usual Theatre in Unusual Spaces”

This was a fun and interactive imagineering session aimed to support young people to develop an interactive promenade theatre show. This involved sharing case studies where participants have been integral to shaping the project and sharing tactics on engaging audiences. This was planned by EdLab together with Jana Kennedy from Z-Arts and the teacher training Drama department at Man Met.

How do we talk to Aliens?

This was a session delivered by Lucy an Master student doing Science Communication. It was a hands on introduction to the electromagnetic spectrum – what is a radio wave and what are they used for? How do we communicate with outer-space? This interactive workshop allowed participants to build their own satellite, design your own alien, and learn some Physics.

Hulme Sweet Hulme A collaborative poem

A fantastic preview of Reel Mcr’s upcoming project. Make sure to look out for the premiere of this film poem and documentary.

Den Building with TASC

A great moment on Thursday, TASC really put the effort into getting great physical resources to support immersive play and creating environments.

Gizmobots Robot Making Workshop

Messy play at it’s best involving recycling waste electronic equipment into cute robots that participants can take home.

Pirate Pete’s Video Arcade

Another collaboration between EdLab and Becky and Alison from the Man Met’s Drama Education department. This was a new session using the appeal of retro video game arcades as an enticing way of then getting young people and families involved in the process of creating games. This was done via creating a dramatic situation where the young people had to save the Arcade.

Junk Percussion Workshop with Andrea Vogler

This is a fantastic hands on way to learn how to be part of a musical band. Andrea ran two sessions and many from the first came back to the second!

Food Find out and Create

This session led by student Roxanna is a very engaging way of learning about energy content of food and related issues of nutrition. It took place in the Food Lab of our building.

Children’s Reading On Screen: RSA Catalyst Grant for Manchester Metropolitan University

This article is reposted from The RSA website to increase reach. Written by: Natalia Kucirkova FRSA

Sharing books with young children is known to be one of the most enriching and educationally beneficial activities that parents can do with their young children at home.

Shared book reading is typically associated with a parent and child sitting down snuggled together with a printed book. However, increasingly, printed books are being replaced with digital books downloaded on a reading device such as a tablet or Kindle, and in many families a quiet bedtime reading routine is becoming more akin to watching TV or playing a video game.

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All Welcome at the Community Learning Festival 25 – 27 July 2017

The Community Learning Festival is an exciting and free event happening at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Brooks building on Tuesday, 25 July – Thursday, 27 July 2017, 12 – 6pm.

The festival is a celebration of the diversity of learning happening in the local area. It’s a chance for community learning providers and University projects to come together and enjoy the facilities at the Brooks building for a series of lively and interesting events.


The festival will have a range of activities, workshops, walks and talks over the three days. Each day features workshops on themes like democracy, care, community and the environment. Most importantly, there is always something going on for all ages and interests.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Music, rap and spoken word sessions
  • Art and textiles workshops mixing creative craft and technology
  • Creative walks and digital story trails
  • Debates and discussions on local and global issues
  • Junk Percussion workshops
  • Talks and films on civic action and social justice

The Festival has been organised by the Manchester Met Faculty of Education in association with community partners including Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust, Hideaway and Hulme Community Garden Centre.

Help us promote the Festival. Images and Workshops highlights to share with your networks via email and social media are available on the EdLab website:

Situate Yourself: Exploring Hulme Story Trails with Petrus Homeless Project

EdLab MMU and Community Arts North West have recently hosted a visit from Petrus Homeless project to the Brooks Building in Hulme. The visit inspired and supported the Hidden Rochdale project, a highly interactive digital trail that will tell the hidden stories of Petrus homeless service-users. Their goal is to take the audience on a provocative and highly engaging journey through Rochdale to uncover digital artifacts that will be concealed in the landscape.


To prepare, the EdLab MMU team worked with Hulme residents to create a mini-trail of Hidden Hulme. During the visit, this trail was explored to experiment with the use of mobile recording technologies, location aware, tagging and tracking technologies.


Photos: Lee Kirby

Mick Chesterman and James Duggan from the MMU shared advice on creating interactive, digital story trails for smart phones. Some of the key tips included.

  • Use simple to use, accessible tech (e.g. QR codes) and free Treasure Hunt apps for phones (e.g. Actionbound)
  • Always test your trails
  • You can integrate your codes into attractive designs to customise your trail
  • Go back and test some more

Mick Chesterman, EdLab MMU project developer shared:

For the test trail we took the approach of using low cost equipment to record local activities and stories in a simple but intimate way. Codes are then displayed where the videos were recorded which draws those doing the trail into new spaces, opening up new experiences and connections to an area.

More info:

The project page for Hidden is here –
The Petrus group will come back and share the results of their digital storytelling workshops at the Brooks Building on the 27th of July as part of the Community Learning Festival.



Call out for Workshops – Community Learning Festival

MMU and local community partners are working together to create a Community Learning Festival on July 26, 27 & 28th. There will be a range of activities, workshops, lectures and walks each day. All ages are welcome. We are reaching out to local community educators to get involved by running workshops for young people. This is paid work.

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Exploring Opportunties at the EdLab Volunteering Fair

One of the key parts of the EdLab project is creating chances for interaction between students and local education projects. To increase the experience of different learning worlds our students have access to we invite local partners to Set Students A Challenge.

This Volunteering Fair was a quick way for groups and students to find out more about each other. They key for students to come up with appropriate responses to the challenges is for them to be able to find out in-depth information from the groups themselves about their needs and context.

Also the personal connection is great for firing enthusiasm and creating positive feedback loops! There were some very sparky students and representatives from groups there.


Home Educator and EdLab – Starting an informal partnership

We started a new project today around how Home Educators work together with the EdLab project.

The main aim of the meeting from EdLab’s perspective was to work out how we could best work together with Home educators as a project ‘partner’. In this we look to find areas where we can work together to our mutual benefit. This involves a good level of discussion and finding out what the needs are.  

While it was informal we used maps and brainstorming as techniques to provide a written record of the information gathered at the event.

There were some really interesting observations that really helped us to work out where we could explore some interesting areas for partnership.
Some of the clear ways forward were:

  • If students are offering educational opportunities as a way to gain experience Home Educators are happy to promote and bring young people to sessions at partner venues or MMU
  • Certain areas including science and technology could greatly benefit from access to the equipment and expertise at Brooks MMU.
  • There is area to explore to see how some of the educational sessions that EdLab runs could be of use to adult Home Educators.

EdLab November Newsletter

Welcome to EdLab’s November Newsletter,

We have some great workshops and news to share about volunteering!

We are doing this newsletter in the form of a Picture Story. Just click on the Pictures to find out more.


Pssst, Don’t tell anyone but Edlab is doing a session on how to promote your project next Wednesday. Book now!

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EdLab has Launched!

So today we launched EdLab, and joined some of our shiny new students with real live educational challenges! The lovely people from Hulme Garden Centre popped across the road, Paul from Z-Arts walked up the street, Liz from Code Club demonstrated some musical bananas and The Hive came down to see what was occurring.

It was great to start learning about what our students are interested in, what their #goodstuff is. Many students were excited about the challenge from Z-Arts to create a learning resource for their Christmas show which will be potentially used by 1700 school pupils. Other challenges which ignited passions were the library project to engage young people and families with John Rylands central library, and the tasks set by Manchester Refugee Support Network.

Whilst over 17 projects have already be proposed to EdLab from outside partners, it was clear that students also had their own ideas and identified some important gaps in what was on offer. Some students were excited to create projects working with disabled young people, and this is a great starting point for developing their own EdLab projects from scratch.

Next Steps…………..

On Wednesday 30th September from 12-1pm we will host our first creative workshop space in the student resource room. During this time we will get to know each other, spark creativity and offer support for starting EdLab projects. The space is open to outside partners and students alike, and we look forward to seeing you all. Come and play, and make your #goodstuff happen!

Videos from the event…………..










EdLab Spark: Help the work of Hulme Garden Centre with young people

For 15 years Hulme Community Garden Centre’s vibrant site, incorporating a thriving garden centre and inspiring community gardens has brought the community together through gardening and provided a vital green space to enjoy, relax in, learn from and be part of.


We run a fantastic Toddlers group on Thursday mornings. People tell us that it’s magical.  How can we best capture and share the good things that happen in these sessions so that others can learn from them? You will be able to observe and record these sessions happening by helping out. You can also ask the workshop leader questions after it happens too.

The Garden centre work with a good number of primary schools in the area who come to visit for tours and activities – we also work in schools delivering hands on activities and even designing and installing school gardens…we can provide activities around growing food, biodiversity and bushcraft and there are plenty of curriculum link opportunities. We need your help to expand this service:

How can we best market the fact that we can do work within schools…a case study? Video?

How do we get more schools to visit and present the curriculum links alongside the benefits of simply being outdoors? What is the most effective way of getting our message to the right people in schools and not into the bin!?

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EdLab Spark: Creating ‘Cooler’ teaching resources on Climate


The Carbon Literacy Project is helping by creating a “carbon instinct”, making it routine for all for us to make those everyday changes that minimise the damage, and maximise our opportunity, now and in the future.

Climate Change affects everyone, and although more and more people are now responding, not everyone has yet realised how urgent and important our actions are.

Cooler have developed resources on carbon sustainability to deliver in schools. The target age range is Year 6 and Year 7. At EdLab we look forward to working with Cooler to help deliver these sessions in the new year but there is a more pressing challenge.


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