UCL East


Community Engagement Seed Fund

Festival goers play engagement game and catch balls with a head net

The Community Engagement Seed Fund is a small grants funding round to support the development of engagement activities and partnership opportunities with east London communities.
Funding is available to support the development and/or delivery of projects with east London partners, particularly those from the Voluntary Community Sector (this could include both formally constituted organisations, and more informal groups such as residents associations). The projects should be founded on the principles of collaboration, co-production and two way dialogue with the identified partner. Grants can be used to further existing relationships or be a catalyst to sparking new partnerships and initiatives.
The grants will aim to create the space and opportunity for members UCL staff and students to deliver or develop activity fitting with the vision of UCL East as an accessible, publically engaged university. Funded projects will be expected to:

  • Establish or develop a partnership between Academic Staff or Students from the Future Living Institute and community groups or organisations from east London (Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest)
  • Be based on the principles of collaboration, co-production and dialogue.
  • Value equally the skills and expertise of both academic and community partnership.
  • Have clear and tangible outputs and outcomes.

In the most recent round of funding, four projects were successful in their applications.

Michael Collins: History

Windrush Hackney. Oral Histories of Migration and Settlement through Cricket. Cricket was a game of immense social and cultural importance for the so-called Windrush generation that arrived in England from the Caribbean c. 1948-1973. The story of West Indian cricket has been told either as one of ‘national awakenings’ in the Caribbean, or through ‘white majority’ reactions to touring West Indies teams. This project focuses on the Hackney Windrush generation’s own experience of organising and playing cricket in England. Catalysing interactions between UCL and local Hackney communities (through project partners Hackney Museum and Hackney council), the project would facilitate oral history interviews that produce new histories of migration.

Claire McAndrew: Bartlett School of Architecture

Enabling community-led perspectives on Housing with Automation. Growing out of a community partnership building event in July 2019, which sought to identify areas of mutual interest at the cross-over of architectural design, construction, AR and robotics, relevant to east London communities. This project will explore how our built environment and living spaces could be different if our domestic spaces were not static structures that are left to stand unoccupied while we are away. Working with a range of community partners in Hackney including both local authority and community sector representatives the project will explore how ‘ALIS’ (a modular housing prototype that uses robotic fabrication to create its building elements) could be used locally.

Hannah Sender: Institute of Global Prosperity

Youth prosperity in Action: defining youth prosperity in Hackney to improve outcomes for young people in the area. A team from Institute for Global Prosperity and youth charity Hackney Quest will involve young people (between 15-18 years old) who live in Hackney with a research and engagement project, training them up as citizens scientists to explore local issues of youth prosperity. Partnering with Hackney Quest, City Academy, Cardinal Pole Catholic School and the London Prosperity Board this project builds on a project previously funded by UCL Culture, ‘The Good Life in Hackney’, which laid the groundwork for defining youth prosperity. This second phase of research and engagement will use the prototype as a guide and allow the project to work with new partners.

Valerio Signorelli: Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

RE-Invent: Archipelago. This project will employ web-based digital tools to enable audiences to engage with the V&A Museum of Childhood collections and a series of specially commissioned artworks during an extended period of building closure and social distancing. The CASA team is exploring solutions to enable more people to access the project using web-based solutions accessible form different devices and platforms - via pc, tablet or phone - and to provide a platform for a digital reimagining of the RE-Invent programme, ensuring the museum and collections stay accessible to local families in Tower Hamlets.

We will shortly announce details of the next round of funding. If you wish to find out more information about the Community Engagement Seed Fund, or other UCL East engagement funding opportunities email the community engagement team.