Newham Young People’s Careers Fair

Hester Gartrell, Outreach and Widening Access Senior Officer at Birkbeck, discusses the recent careers fair at our Stratford campus for Newham residents aged 16-24.

On Wednesday 29 August, Birkbeck’s Stratford campus hosted Newham Young People’s Careers Fair. The fair which was delivered in partnership with Workplace, Newham’s job brokerage, provided support, advice and guidance about education, employment and training for young people aged 16-24.

The event is the result of an ongoing partnership between Birkbeck Access and Engagement and Workplace and was a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our campus to Newham residents. A key part of our access work is to demonstrate to potential students that Birkbeck is a welcoming place which will support them throughout their studies. Opening up our doors to what can seem a daunting and gated space is essential to this.

The fair also gave us the chance to speak to local residents about Birkbeck and its flexible study options right in the heart of Newham as well as being a culmination to the work that we’ve been doing throughout the borough this summer. This has included joining Workplace on their roadshow across Newham, holding regular information and advice drop-ins at local libraries and attending community festivals.

In addition to hosting 179 Newham residents, we also had 30 organisations exhibit at the fair from sectors as varied as construction, television and further education. Not only did the event allow us to build links with these businesses, it again allowed us to show others our campus where they may want to host their own events or where they or their colleagues may want to consider studying.

We’re looking forward to hosting more Access and Engagement events and activities on campus in autumn and beyond with plans for our own events and further partnership working.

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London Olympics…we are the Legacy!

This post was contributed by Alessandro Storer, a Stratford resident and Park Champion.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the first of a series of workshops called “East London In Flux” organised by Fundamental Architectural Inclusion and Birkbeck, University of London.

We started off with a great lecture on Olympic cities that showed how cities have been changing as a result of hosting the Olympic Games. Like everything in life, there have been highs and lows, but London is certainly on the right track to being one of the most successful examples ever! And why’s that? In my opinion it is because of all the excitement that the London Games have generated, because of all the passion and energy of the volunteer Games Makers, and because of the engagement and inclusion of local communities after the Games! We are the Legacy, us people who got excited during the games and are now eager to keep the energy high and make the best of the great gift the Olympics left to the community: an extraordinary park and state of the art sports facilities!

The day organised by Fundamental ended with a tour of the QEOP, accompanied by one of the architects that designed it! It has been amazing to discover so many hidden stories about how the park was built trying to preserve history and respect nature and surroundings!

I still smile thinking about the story of the lonely swan that was joined by a second swan at the end of the works on the Park and are now inseparable! I encourage everybody to go and have a walk in the Park, you’ll be amazed by it…and you might spot the two lovely swans!

Also, do check out the upcoming events of the “East London In Flux” series…a great way to learn new things, meet new people and taking ownership of the London 2012 Olympic Legacy!

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East London In Flux II

This post was originally published on the blog Up Your Street.

The thing with most community engagement activities is that the people who put on the show couldn’t care less if you’re there or not. Sometimes the engagement exercises target seniors: When they don’t then the senior wannabee participant is more than invisible. This I have known for ages and corporate engagers be wise that many oldies are on your case.

East London in Flux presented by Fundamental Architectural Inclusion d.o.b. 2003 and Birkbeck, University of London is different to all of the above and valuable to the ethos of community engagement. It’s a programme delivered with passion. Its participants are encouraged to join in and given the confidence to do so. And the sandwiches are nutritious, full, tasty and textured.

Today the room in Birkbeck, University of London in the new Stratford E15  (aka USS hosted by community outreach officer Patrice Buddington) was bursting and a-buzzin’. We came from Stratford, Hackney, Forest Gate, Leyton, Romford, Mauritius and other places north of Watford. Imagine!

As for architecure, I can’t get over the fact that the Uni building is built on one of the meanest pot-holed car-parks of back in the day. Those days when the stealthiest of creeping car-park attendants would sneak out of the shadows: Those times when the parking machine swallowed pound coins then failed to deliver the ticket. Those were the days when you left the theatre production or pre Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012 pop-up workshops early so as not to fork out another load of coins.

The main attraction of this the first in a series of presentations and day-long workshops was the architect-guided walk around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Laid on were electric scooters, wheelchairs and taxis for the less mobile. The sun shone too. The morning session was all about how architects used any available terrain to construct the Olympic cities. Hitler’s Games came out top in the we- did- it poll not only because the construction/ideological team used media to the hilt when the concept of media as a corporate entity was not invented yet. Even the athletes’ village was great….bungalows. Ooh! give me one.

The heart-warming bit is how junior school kiddies are involved through Architectural in learning through model-making and discussion their role in the Legacy of the London 2012 Games.

Twas brillig.

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Celebrating students’ Achievements: through the Library Lens

This post was contributed by Eleni Zazani of Birkbeck Stratford Library

The annual ceremony of celebrating the achievements of the Birkbeck Adult learners is an event that the Library always looks forward to.

Birkbeck Library is committed to providing a strongly customer-focused service to meet the multi-level needs of its students and staff and to supporting the mission and strategic aims of the College, one of which is to enable students to acquire the skills needed to find, evaluate, use, and present information in their studies.

The Stratford Library team has identified the Adult Learners Week ceremony as a major opportunity to recognise students’ efforts towards becoming Information Literate students and citizens! As the information landscape becomes more and more complex, it creates new challenges for the students to cope with finding reliable information across the vast amount of sources on offer and using it in an ethical manner.

The Stratford team acknowledges that Information Literacy is a process of “learning how to learn” and our prize winning students succeed in changing their prior learning habits, and the way they engage with information. They do just that; they re-learn how to learn.

In order for us to enable the acquisition of new learning habits, we offer group sessions, drop-in clinics, and one-to-one support, where the student is always at the centre of the service provision and driver in this learning journey.  The Adult Learners Week Awards Evening is a reason to celebrate the achievements of all Birkbeck staff involved in keeping the students at the centre of everything we do, and the strong collaboration across all the teams emerged as a result of this effort.

Equally, the event is a very resourceful opportunity for reflecting upon our practices and listening to the student voice in order to invent even better ways of enabling learning and see many more students nominated next year!

As part of this reflection, we would like to thank all our students for enriching our practice and professional life in Stratford!

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