Asset based community development (ABCD) is a participatory action research method and co-production tool being used with a diverse network of communities and community organizations across the Connected Communities programme, and beyond. It has been used to help uncover and utilise communities’ hidden potential, their tangible resources (such as spaces, services and infrastructures) and intangible qualities (such as talents, skills, knowledge, social, emotional and creative capital).
The project set out to build upon existing collaborations from Connected Communities projects (e.g. Media, Community and the Creative Citizen, Scaling up Co-Design, Unearthing Hidden Assets, Glossopoly, Bridging the Gap between academic practice and community relevance, Web 2 Community Hacking) and to expand the network of community-academic partnerships engaged in asset based approaches (e.g. Community through digital connectivity/LSE, Creating Hackney as Home and our community partners in Greece/Atenistas) with a view to:
- creatively map an inventory of approaches
- reflect upon, and co-evaluate different dimensions, strengths and weaknesses
- cross-pollinate insights from knowledge and new relations and networks as they emerge with engagement with civil society organizations and community groups in the UK and Greece.
Through field trips, reflective interviews and experiential workshops we have found out that dramaturgical techniques deployed by cultural animation & game-like activities (lego, drawing, monopoly) deployed in co-design processes can enhance self-confidence, break down hierarchical barriers for participation and fuel positive attitudes for action among marginalised, or unheard of youth groups.
We reflected upon the affordances of asset mapping for unlocking perceptions of value about places and communication infrastructures within localities through psycho-geographies and through co-creative processes (e.g. the production films in Hackney & the production of Glossopoly, the co-creation a totem pole in Western Hales, the co-creation of visual, digital platforms for participatory planning). These modes of engagement with place, help develop critical literacy skills and facilitate new communication and networking avenues among local stakeholders and residents.