As part of the Learning and Participation element of the festival, architecture practice Studio Weave was commissioned to address broader questions and opportunities for the city. They asked themselves how the energy and sense of possibility generated by the festival could be sustained? Tens of thousands of volunteers had been mobilised, hundreds of community ideas generated and the city had undergone a physical transformation giving it a new sense of identity and self-confidence. They identified two challenges common to many cities: how to reverse the post-industrial decline that has ‘hollowed out’ its centre; and how to overcome an education model that seems to exclude and to limit the potential of so many people. But they also found cause for optimism, both with the general shift taking place in the way people live, work and learn and in the city’s rich history, resilience and capacity for change. They recognised the potential to build an inclusive and positive future.

With festival funding and external investment, Learning Without Borders devised five new institutes for informal learning, whereby a range of spaces across the city provide local people, whatever their age and background, with the opportunity to develop their talents, ‘the chance to work, create, experiment, play and learn’. The Institute of the Body teaches awareness of health and well-being, through nutrition, physical activity and performance, cookery and healing; Institute of the Mind is dedicated to exploration of self and being, through reading, language, music and meditation; Institute of Earth focusses on the natural world, understanding plants, materials, sustainability and survival; Institute of Social Relations is dedicated to exploring people’s place in society, relationships, shared purpose, social action and enterprise; Institute of Making encourages collaborative and individual making, ranging from crafts to digital technology and film.

A year on, Learning Without Borders is thriving and showing the signs of a Arts activities, diversity of education and employment opportunities, ‘learning by doing’ and volunteering have all been shown to build social capital and resilience, the resources needed to generate build and sustain a community and local economy.

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“a great way to involve hundreds of people in developing a new and lasting sense of achievement and possibility”



Project by Studio Weave

Commissioned by Hull City of Culture

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