Through Spaces of Communication a shop-front exhibition, World Cafe and student web-site were developed on the theme of ‘Community Conversations.’ The aim was to disseminate the work of the School of Architecture in Dublin’s northeast inner city, the area of study for the students. The workshop allowed the eighteen students to engage in a dialogue with members of the local community, as well as considering and developing their own communication skills.
One group of students designed and constructed a temporary exhibition of survey and design work in a vacant shopfront on Amiens Street; another group designed a website and organised a social media campaign that promoted the exhibition and related events and showcased student work; a World Cafe was also organised by a number of the students and attended by local stakeholders. This event took place in Dublin City Council’s The LAB and was attended by, amongst others, City Planner Dick Gleeson, Dublin Central TD Maureen O’Sullivan, architect Seán Harrington and Samuel Bishop from Upstart. The topics discussed were developed from the students’ initial research on the street with local residents.
Through the workshop valuable links were made with local organisations such as the Five Lamps Arts Festival, Dublin City Council and Marino College, which helped in the development of design briefs for the second semester. A subsequent World Cafe was held in the School of Architecture. Events such as these suggest alternative ways of teaching and disseminating knowledge, both within educational institutions and to the wider public. Students’ traditional architectural skills of design and spatial intelligence were exploited in different ways and in different contexts, resulting in invaluable real-life experience.