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.



EdLab Spark: Contribute to a Hulme Archive

Hulme has gone through many generations of building and demolition. It has been a test bed for innovative urban renewal and environmental approaches. The site of the Birley campus and Brooks building has been a topic of much debate and dreaming over the years.

EdLab has inherited various documents which help to tell some of this story. We invite you to help us to archive them by scanning them and putting them online into the Internet Archive project. Local resident Rob Squires has another challenge for you.


These documents of Hulme’s recent history show a rich picture of what is possible with urban planning, permaculture and the imagination of local residents. How can you bring the documents to life and share the stories behind the plans?

Video of Challenge

Link to video on YouTube

Some information on the specifics of Hulme’s regeneration follows in these links.

More Information:
To get involved in this project, or to work on a challenge which supports the development of this project, contact m.chesterman or edlab

Key Partner: Redbricks residents group
Key Words: Regeneration, Hulme, residents, sustainable development, collaborative design, urban renewal, urban design, homes for change, Birley Fields, consultation, creative consultation


This week, we attended a meeting at Z – Arts to discuss the Snow Queen Learning Log project. Every year Z-Arts creates a Christmas show which is brings together local school children and is the basis for a learning journey. This year their show is called Snow Queen which blends live action with film, puppetry and digital storytelling. Our challenge, is to help create a learning log for this event.  The purpose of the meet was to discuss our ideas and plan our next steps, but firstly Paul (Z – Arts Education Officer) set us a creative task to get our thinking caps on!

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Help Uncovering Hidden Voices Create a Visual History Resource

Uncovering Voices is a project which aims to build on some of the work of the Hidden Voices community research project which focused on the day-to-day lives, views and experiences of Hulme’s older residents. Hidden Voices was lead by local residents and studied the local area. They found that that isolation and disengagement of the elderly was a big problem locally. 

We are looking to work with local partners to support this challenge. The challenge for us is to come up with information, images and text to help jog memories and provoke discussion. There are many resources open to us in the MMU and central library. We can work together to gather these images and stories to put them onto tablets to bring the get togethers of the community groups.

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