Sprint Forward: What's involved?

Sprint Forward is a unique opportunity for undergraduates to develop their employability, creativity and problem-solving skills.

Working in small, interdisciplinary teams, students will be provided with training and resources to develop creative ideas in response to some of the specific challenges highlighted in Brum Youth Trends, a pioneering report for the city giving unprecedented insight into what young people think, want and need.

Based on a sample of 15 – 25-year-olds (‘Young Brum’), reflective of Birmingham’s general population, Brum Youth Trends 2018 surveyed the views of young people on a range of topics, including housing and transport, arts and culture, and their relationship to Birmingham.

Key findings of the report show that:

  • Arts marketing is not effectively tapping into the channels young people are using, resulting in disconnect between ‘Young Brum’ and the city’s cultural offerings.
  • There is great potential to enable young people to feel part of a creativity community in which they don’t currently feel a sense of belonging.
  • ‘Young Brum’ is not able to move across the city with the ease that they deserve
  • ‘Young Brum’ does not feel in the loop on major city developments and the impact of these developments on their future.

Sprint Forward aims to tackle these issues head-on by challenging students to explore ways that the University of Birmingham can take a more active role in affecting positive change by developing tangible initiatives and activities designed to reflect and attract ‘Young Brum’.

Two key University developments will serve as a focal point for ideas: The Green Heart, a striking new parkland in the centre of campus; and The Exchange, the former Municipal Bank located in the heart of the city, which will bring the University’s research closer to people, and be informed by its audiences.

The programme is delivered in partnership with Young Giant, as part of Beatfreeks Collective, a community of people who believe in the power of creativity to do the incredible.

We are looking for 70 students from across the University to help us with this exciting project.

Sprint Forward particularly welcomes applicants from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, LGBTQ+ applicants, and applicants who consider themselves disabled as they are currently under-represented within the University.

Applications will close at 9:00am on Tuesday 28th May.

 

What does Sprint Forward involve?

Working in a small, interdisciplinary team of undergraduates (5-8 students per group), you will be asked to develop initiatives and solutions designed to encourage young people to engage with the Green Heart and The Exchange. You will have an opportunity to meet with key stakeholders and planners, who will offer advice and feedback on your ideas. In addition, you will have the opportunity to attend workshops that will develop your skills in project management, presentation and digital media.

Groups will be assigned one of three challenges.  Challenges One and Two will be considered within the context of either The Green Heart or The Exchange:

Challenge One: How do we ensure young people feel welcome in the space?
Challenge Two: How do we ensure young people feel a sense of ownership in the space?
Challenge Three: What transport initiatives could be introduced to make the city centre and the campus more accessible and connected? (Including, but not limited to, The Green Heart and The Exchange).

Ideas that could be discussed

  • Exhibitions, Festivals and Events
  • Apps and Digital Media
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Transport initiatives
    …and many more!

What is The Green Heart?

The Green Heart is a striking new parkland in the centre of the University of Birmingham’s historic campus. Measuring over 12 acres, the Green Heart opens up the centre of campus for students, staff and the local community to enjoy.

It provides a unique space for performances, socialising, meeting and studying, while opening up views across the whole campus, as envisaged in the 1920s. It opens up new pedestrian and cycle routes, allowing students, staff and visitors to the campus to travel safely and with ease. Throughout the design process, the project team have also sought to create a sustainable, natural and environmentally friendly landscape; both for people and wildlife.  

What is the Exchange?     

The Exchange is the former Municipal Bank, located in Centenary Square. The building is currently being redeveloped and will accommodate a year-round public programme, a new incubator for student and graduate start-up businesses, and a range of collaborative working spaces for research, policy development, CPD and a new Leadership Institute. The building’s prime heritage spaces, including the old banking hall and vaults, will be re-opened to the public with exhibitions, events, workshops, performances and a welcoming café.

The aim of the redeveloped building is to reinvigorate the city’s civic vision for the modern day, utilising the University’s role as an anchor institution to bring together multiple stakeholders to address the challenges of our time and deliver inclusive growth for the region. This approach will bring the University’s research closer to people, enabling its work to inform, and be informed by, its audiences.

When does Sprint Forward take place?

The project takes place from Monday 10th June - Friday 14th June 2019, 09.00 – 16.00 daily. You will be expected to attend all of the sessions over this five day period.

In addition, you will be asked to attend two induction meetings which will take place on:

(date of first meeting to be confirmed)

Friday 31st May, 1000-1200 (Arts Building, LR7 (223) (Map R16)

Who can take part?

The project is exclusively available to second-year undergraduates (Birmingham campus only) in the following colleges:

We also welcome applications from second year Liberal Arts students. When completing the application, please state your affiliation with the College in which you are undertaking your major (e.g. CAL for History majors, LES for Psychology majors).

Sprint Forward particularly welcomes applicants from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities, LGBTQ+ applicants, and applicants who consider themselves disabled as they are currently under-represented within the University.

What support will be avaliable to me during Sprint Forward?

Sprint Forward is a student-led initiative and will involve collaborative working in small groups. However, guidance will also be offered from University of Birmingham academics, professional services staff and research postgraduates.

You will also receive guidance from external partners including representatives from Young Giant, as part of Beatfreeks Collective, The Green Heart and The Exchange.

Staff Project Leads
Academic

  • Henry Chapman, Professor of Archaeology, Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology 
  • Tom Lockwood, Reader in English Literature and Director of Education, College of Arts and Law
  • Daniel Reynolds, Lecturer in Byzantine History, Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology 

Professional Services and Cultural Engagement Leads

  • Jodie Bird, Graduate Management Trainee
  • Laura Milner, Cultural Partnerships Manager
  • Sheena Robertson, Head of Research Operations, College of Arts and Law
  • Rachael Yardley, Cultural Partnerships Officer

Postgraduate Research Assistants

  • Labib Azzouz, Research Assistant, Design Culturally Inclusive Community Spaces
  • Narmin Ismayilova, Research Assistant, Design Culturally Inclusive Community Spaces

How will my participation be recognised?

Every participant in Sprint Forward will receive a certificate that confirms their participation in the project and outlines the skills that they will have gained. This certificate can then be used to accompany future applications for employment or further study.  

What happens at the end of Sprint Forward?

On the final day you will have the opportunity to present your ideas to a panel of experts, which will include people directly involved in the planning strategies of the Green Heart and the Exchange as well as ambassadors for young people and other stakeholders in the city. Winning groups will be selected based on the innovation of their ideas/designs and their skill in presenting it to the panel.  

A celebration and awards event will also be held on the final day where we will celebrate all of the terrific ideas and achievements of the project participants.

How can I enroll?

Enrolment on the Sprint Forward is by application only. In order to apply you must meet the following criteria:

Click here to apply

Applications will close at 9:00am on Tuesday 28th May 2019