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How can young people in Nottingham use their passion for skateboarding to revitalise urban spaces?

Nottingham Civic Exchange Associate Chris Lawton reflects on creating opportunities to make use of and discuss forgotten spaces.

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As a Nottingham Civic Exchange Associate bringing my skills and expertise to the city is something I do on a range of fronts.  Formerly an economic development professional and now an academic researching work and the nuance of the local labour market for the Good Work programme (see Laying the Foundations),  I’m also a lifelong skateboarder who writes about approaches to including young people in urban development and contribute to Pushing Boarders, the world’s first academic conference on skateboarding. Through Skate Nottingham, I work to promote visions of positive, active urban places across Nottingham.  Engaging diverse audiences to reimagine underused spaces has allowed Skate Nottingham to explore what is possible within local areas.

To help bring this all together we are hosting a day of activity on Monday 29 July.

Radical Places Workshop

Skate Nottingham Radical Places Poster

How can young people in Nottingham use their passion for skateboarding to revitalise urban spaces?

Nottingham has a strong claim to be one of the original homes of UK skateboarding, presenting opportunities for novel approaches to urban development in the run up to the sport’s inclusion in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The non-profit organisation Skate Nottingham have been exploring ways of engaging young people in reimagining ‘unloved’ urban spaces and addressing wider social and cultural challenges, including sedentary lifestyles, barriers to physical activity on the basis of gender, age and income and the gaps between local people’s interests and aspirations in the creative industries and their access to ‘good’ jobs.

A National Lottery grant will fund the multi-venue ‘Skateboarding in the City’ festival held in Nottingham from Friday the 26th July to Saturday 3rd August.  As part of this, a free workshop, ‘Radical Places’, will take place on Monday 29th July at 38 Carrington Street, the Nottingham Urban Room, from 10.30am until 4.00pm. It will include talks, presentations and interactive sessions led by: Mike Jeffries and Sebastian Messer (authors of the ‘accidental youth clubs’ project, Northumbria University); Professor Carrie Paechter (NTU, Director of the Nottingham Centre for Children, Young People and Families), Kelli Watson (We Can Fly documentary series and creative/digital education for young people inspired by skateboarding) and Brent Lewis (director of the FAR Academy Trust in Kent); and Chris Lawton (NTU and Skate Nottingham) and Mikko Kyrönviita (co-ordinator of the Dwellers in Agile Cities programme at University of Tampere).

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Following this workshop, there will be a free public talk and Q&A at the Mezzanine Bar at Broadway Cinema from 5pm-7pm, with Mikko, Chris and Professor Iain Borden (Vice Dean, Education, at the Bartlett, University College London and author of ‘Skateboarding and the City: A Complete History’, Bloomsbury, 2019).

The workshop will focus on skill sharing, use of research and evaluation and opportunities for collaboration across cities and will be aimed at people actively engaged in community organising and academic research on grassroots sport, culture and DIY urbanism.  The public talks at Broadway Cinema will be open to anyone with an interest in novel approaches to regeneration and inclusive growth, the role of alternative sports and sub-cultures in engaging young people in active lifestyles, and how cities like Tampere in Finland may provide learning points for Nottingham and other post-industrial cities.

If you’re interested in attending the workshop during the daytime at 38 Carrington Street, places are limited, so register a free place here

Book your free ticket

The talks at the Broadway Mezzanine bar that start at 5pm on Monday 29th July are open to the public, so you’re extremely welcome to come along.

Follow Skate Nottingham on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates on all the other events during the Skateboarding in the City Festival

Nottingham Civic Exchange

Nottingham Civic Exchange has been established by Nottingham Trent University to maximise research, policy and practical impact by bringing together university expertise with partners seeking to address the needs of local communities. Nottingham Civic Exchange acts as a resource to look at social and economic issues in new ways. This means facilitating debate, acting as a bridge between research and policy debates, and developing practical projects at a local, city and regional level.

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