We developed the Localising the Sustainable Development Goals project collaboratively with Sheffield City Council. We also set up an action research team with Sheffield food stakeholders as part of the Self-organising Action for Food Equity project, and have hosted events related to projects around themes such as cultural democracy and co-producing climate urbanism.
We have made spaces for academics and students at the University to reflect on their research practice and work across boundaries, through providing modules, seminars, masterclasses and supporting new networks. This has sometimes meant modifying institutional processes, such as PhD ethical approvals, to align with the ethos and spirit of the programme. We have been fortunate to have the support of a dedicated administrator to actively intermediate across different sectoral boundaries and negotiate the set up and management of our large and distributed programme.
We want the learning and experience of Realising Just Cities UK to support transformations on the doorstep.
Many people inside and outside the University told us it was hard to access the range and diversity of engaged urban research happening across the institution. We therefore undertook a trial to map what external partners might “see” from the outside in, looking at the online representation and presence of Sheffield-based research. The results were patchy. We are now working on a prototype digital tool “Just Sheffield” to help organise and represent the diversity of Sheffield academics research in the city and wider region. We will test, learn and refine this iteratively with colleagues.
Following conversations with engaged scholars in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, we match-funded support for a new initiative in Arbourthorne, an area of Sheffield that is in the top 40% of the most socioeconomically deprived areas of the UK. We hope An Even Better Arbourthorne will provide opportunities to connect learning institutions across Sheffield to foster relationships and community capacity over the next 3 years.
We have also started sharing the knowledge and learning generated through Realising Just Cities UK with city partners, setting up meetings and workshops with Sheffield city-region stakeholders to discuss the relevance of our work now and in the future.
Finally, we have begun to feed our research and action into ongoing work at the University around the Sustainable Development Goals and the “civic university” agenda. As we systematically analyse our work to draw out the theoretical and practical implications across projects, we are committed to ensuring that the learning and experience of Realising Just Cities UK can support transformations on the doorstep.