Reflections on the London event: locations – the informal and formal nature of sites and how this affected the master:CLASSES

Location as well as the informal or formal nature of sites impacted the delivery of master:CLASSES.

Master:CLASSES were held across four sites; R-Urban Wick, Loughborough farm, Pop Brixton and EdSpace. All sites, bar EdSpace were fairly informal with facilitators and participants coming together on the same level. Round table discussions at R-Urban Wick, Loughborough farm and Pop Brixton saw masters, facilitators and participants come together on “the same level” allowing everyone to contribute equally to discussions.

The location of the cooking class at R-Urban Wick offered participants an excellent understanding of the concept of fork-to-fork; harvesting vegetables such as lettuce and beetroot from the Mobile City Garden for the evening meal. This master:CLASS had one of the largest participatory groups and as such was more challenging to facilitate. With such a large group, space constraints in the kitchen during the cooking master:CLASS limited the number of people who could participate. This can largely be attributed to organisation; facilitators were unsure of the number of people that would participate in the master:CLASS. This is likely to have made the master:CLASS difficult for Mara to deliver and highlights the need for greater communication with participants prior to master:CLASSES, as well as thorough consideration of appropriate locations when organising master:CLASSES.

The accreditation master:CLASS at Pop Brixton was overshadowed by the sites reputation as ‘gentrifying’ Brixton. This resulted in the master:CLASS taking a different direction than intended; the debate that followed was exceptionally interesting but meant that the topic of accreditation was only covered very briefly. Had the master:CLASS taken place at a different location accreditation may have remained more heavily on the agenda.

The reflective master:CLASSES on day three of the London event took place in the auditorium at EdSpace, Hoxton. The location was the most formal of the event being the only location where movement was restricted during the master:CLASSES. The auditorium is located within EdSpace’s open plan office giving an awareness that discussions cannot be too loud so as not to disturb workers. The purpose of an open plan auditorium is likely to be to encourage workers to interact with what is happening in the auditorium – making presentations open to everyone working in the space. Sadly, the master:CLASS was not joined by any additional participants from the EdSpace offices and facilitators felt that they had an additional responsibility to ensure that the master:CLASSES were not disruptive.

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The three tiered auditorium itself presented and interesting seating dynamic with client, mentor, facilitators and participants all seated on different tiers of the auditorium arguably reflecting the hierarchy in the room. A discussion on the impact this may, or may not have had is speculative at best and will therefore not be explored. However, for future events an auditorium is not an ideal location for discussion based or reflective master:CLASSES as it segregates groups and prevents people from being “on the same level” which worked so successfully in Ice breaker and What’s in a name? master:CLASSES.

Overall, it is fair to say that location impacts the delivery of master:CLASSES and must therefore be carefully considered when planning and implementing events.

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