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Essex

Ruth

Essex

Validated Lead Expert

Generic Skills

B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development: 
I am an established creative urban development, regeneration and cultural development specialist with many years experience delivering projects involving the public, private, third sectors and local communities. My work involves brokering and facilitating collaborative working between diverse stakeholders and generating creative, pragmatic ideas which can be translated into policy and practice. My educational background in International Relations, Development Studies and Urban Design/Planning has given me an understanding of sustainable development on both a macro and micro level and in particular an understanding of the complex and often conflicting agendas which affect transforming knowledge and ideas into positive action. As an academic researcher I have studied issues around climate change and transnational decision making and global corporate and social responsibility. Within urban development I focus on supporting the development of creative and sustainable solutions to urban problems. I have a demonstrated track record of innovative projects involving building local resilience; growing the civic and collaborative economy; developing ‘make use’ strategies and activity around urban space, local economies and resources; incremental development and temporary use; tactical/DIY urbanism. I like to help build processes and broker partnerships, which foster learning, sharing and collaboration and lower the barriers for enterprising and creative people to take the initiative.
B1. Assessment: 
1: The applicant has a solid background in integrated and sustainable urban development.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level: 
I have a broad and diverse experience of transnational exchange and learning stemming from academic research, work in transnational cultural programmes and work in urban development and regeneration. I have a first class degree in International Relations (specialising in European Studies and languages) and a distinction MPhil in Development Studies from Cambridge University. I have led on international research and knowledge exchange projects involving field research for Cambridge University and the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex working in collaborative international research teams to write reports as well as convening the learning resources and programme for the World Bank Education Programme. I have coordinated sharing and learning processes in international cultural programmes based in the UK, Germany, France and New Zealand bringing international artists and experts together for knowledge sharing and workshop events. I have worked for the British Council as an arts and regeneration expert, devising learning programmes for visiting transnational groups from the Middle East Region. During my work within Bristol City Council, I was an active member of the Eurocities Cultural Forum, representing Bristol at seminars and knowledge sharing events. My work as a regeneration consultant requires that I share ideas across transnational networks and transfer international practice and ideas into the locales in which I am working in a locally sensitive, distinctive way.
B2. Assessment: 
1: The applicant has a good understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level.
B.3. Proficiency in English: 
English is my mother tongue and I am proficient and experienced at communicating effectively and engagingly to a very wide variety of audiences, both verbally and written. My work within urban development and regeneration has required that I communicate complex ideas and information in an accessible and inclusive manner and my role is very often to bring diverse stakeholders with varying agendas, experience and perspectives to work collaboratively and proactively on co-producing strategies, plans and activity. I frequently deliver guest lectures to a degree and masters level and am module leader of Urban Analysis at the University of South Wales. I have strong interpersonal skills and communicate in a way which makes people feel comfortable and confident to share their thoughts and ideas. I can communicate effectively with non-English speakers and am a qualified and experienced teacher of English as a foreign language . I am a regular speaker and facilitator at seminars and conferences and have featured on TV and radio programmes. In terms of written English I am confident and experienced at writing for different audiences and in different formats, including writing for the press, using social media, writing policy documents and academic papers.
B3. Assessment: 
1: Native speaker.

Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:

C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers: 
Through my experience as a university lecturer and also English as a second language teacher I am experienced at communicating with those with limited English. My training in English language teaching and experience working in the UK, Ecuador and Hong Kong teaching English at different levels, including business English enabled me to develop a range of communication techniques and tools for facilitating groups with limited and variable English language skills. These skills have been incredibly useful in my subsequent work. MA study groups I have worked with have generally been multi national with differing abilities amongst the students in terms of English language skills. In addition to communicating clearly I use a range of visual and media tools and particularly frame discussion around images. In terms of using video and online clips on VIMEO and uTube I try and select when possible footage with the option to add subtitles. When talking and presenting, I tend to use PREZI which is visually stimulating and engaging. When running transnational seminars and events I work with translators whenever possible or allow time for informal translation of information between participants.
C3.1 Assessment: 
1: The applicant demonstrates an ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers.
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants: 
It is essential to capture learning and ideas at all stages of the learning process to provide a record of the journey. As well as recording this in more conventional report formats, I use a range of more creative and visual techniques for drawing out ideas, supporting the learning process and documenting processes and outputs, such as creating illustrated documents as a live activity within the workshop, building photo collages and using online sharing platforms such as Tumblr, Slack and LinkedIn for participants to share images, ideas, links etc. Where appropriate elements of the learning process can be filmed to create a resource for participants to refer to and share and also to record ideas. Also useful can be encouraging the use of reflective physical or digital learning logs and building these into the learning process.
C3.2 Assessment: 
0: Provided less than two relevant examples that demonstrate the ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants to enable comparison, exchange, peer review, etc. The applicant elaborates on possible ways of capturing knowledge, not on methods to support the learning process itself.
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away: 
During a learning and exchange process it is important that learning materials, presentations, links, case studies, ideas etc are logged and organised in order to create a shared resource which can benefit participants post project. While it is important to have written records and reporting of meetings it is essential that these documents are concise and usable and clearly highlight the important concepts and ideas generated. Again using visual images within this will help in stimulating thinking and memory of learning points.
C3.3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant demonstrates an ability to capture learning for participants to take away.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages: 
I am an experienced report writer for a wide variety of clients and audiences. Having worked for many years within local government I have written and contributed to a range of policy documents, advocacy reports, guidance/toolkit documents, evaluation reports and project appraisals. As a consultant I have been commissioned to write articles and best practice reports to be used both internally and externally for clients such as housing associations, CREW Wales- such as Meanwhile Uses- International Cases Studies http://www.regenwales.org/resource_11_Meanwhile-Uses , IXIA http://ixia-info.com/new-writing/, Arts Council Wales and Local Authorities. As an Arts Council Wales capital assessor, I regularly write monitoring and recommendation reports for the organisations board of directors. Acting as a critical friend to client organisations, I am often required to write documents which constructively challenge institutional processes, existing policy and regulations such as licensing, planning policy, asset management practice-particularly where they are creating barriers to good practice and grassroots initiative.
C3.4 Assessment: 
1: The applicant provides examples showcasing her strong ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages.
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities: 
With a first class degree in International Relations and German (in the school of European Studies) from Sussex University and an MPhil distinction from Cambridge, my educational background has had a strong focus on transnational networks and cross border cooperation.Throughout my working career I have participated in transnational networks and initiated and developed transnational learning through coordinating and facilitating transnational exchange processes and events for cultural institutions, the British Council and research institutes; working within academia at the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton as a researcher and convener of events and meetings which brought together global networks through online resources, seminars, meetings and conferences; drawn upon and sharing best practice internationally when working within regeneration programmes;and developing and maintaining links with innovative practitioners globally in order to share ideas and practice.I am an experienced and skilled facilitator and having worked within cultural exchange programmes and as a community artist I have a range of facilitation techniques which I draw upon which go beyond the standard approaches which build in elements of action and reflective learning.I have produced international best practice reports and have worked in challenging multicultural and multinational communities to create participative and collaborative learning and exchange processes and produce shared action plans.
Assessment: 
The applicant is validated for C, scoring 3 out of 3 for C1, 2 out of 4 for C2, and 3 out of 4 for C3. No significant inconsistencies have been identified between the CV and application, nor between the responses and summary.

Thematic expertise:

Theme / Policy: 
Integrated Urban Renewal
D.1. Deep knowledge on the selected theme and related policy challenges, including up to date practice, research, etc.: 
I have over 15 years experience of working within integrated urban renewal- working within local government, as a freelance consultant, as an independent programme initiator and as a university lecturer. I have an MA in Town and Country Planning with specialisation in Urban Regeneration. I am a guest lecturer in Regeneration at Cardiff University and the University of the West of England and am course leader for Urban Analysis at the University of South Wales. Both this role within education and my work as a regeneration consultant requires that I am continuously researching and expanding my knowledge of relevant thinking, policy and practice. I am a regular presenter of new ideas and practice at seminars and conferences, as well as writing commissioned reports on best practice for organisations such as CREW Regeneration Wales and IXIA Public Art Think Tank. I was a co-director of Creative Common, an ambitious and innovative temporary use project to activate derelict land in Bristol. Within consultancy, my role is to stimulate new ideas and share knowledge of innovative and cutting edge practice often acting as a ‘critical friend’ role to governmental and non-governmental organisations- to challenge current practice and inspire new thinking through sharing examples and research from around the world.
D1 Assessment: 
1: The applicant has a strong educational and professional background in the field of Integrated Urban Renewal.
D.2. Ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved: 
I have a strong knowledge of best practice from around the world and my role as a consultant is to help clients think outside the box and broaden their knowledge and thinking. I specialise in developing processes which help people think more openly and creatively about solving urban challenges and to foster co-production and design. I like to create the conditions and broker partnerships which lower the barriers for enterprising and creative people to take the initiative in their communities and influence long term urban strategy and development. This work often involves sharing international practice and exploring the potential for adopting ideas and practice into specific locales. I have written briefing papers for governmental and non-governmental organisations and coordinated transnational knowledge exchange processes looking at comparative policy environments for local authorities and the British Council. This often involves identifying and bringing in appropriate thematic experts to projects, working with a range of stakeholders to collaboratively identify thematic priorities and a shared narrative around urban change. My role is often as a bridge between action and thinking/reporting/strategy- both ensuring that innovative action influences strategy and policy and likewise strategy documents and plans are transformed into action.
D2 Assessment: 
0: Provided less than two valid example that demonstrate the ability to produce thematic inputs to feed in the learning process of in projects in which you have been involved.
D.3. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange & learning activities, put forward good practice: 
I am experienced report writer for a wide variety of clients and audiences. Having worked for many years within local government I have written and contributed to a range of policy documents, advocacy reports, guidance/toolkit documents, evaluation reports and project appraisals. As Arts and Regeneration Officer for Bristol Council I created and managed online resources, for example for Capacity Bristol https://capacitybristol.wordpress.com/ and contributed towards resources such as This Made City http://thismadecity.com/. As a consultant I have been commissioned to write articles and best practice reports for clients such as housing associations, CREW Wales- such as Meanwhile Uses- International Cases Studies http://www.regenwales.org/resource_11_Meanwhile-Uses , Arts Council Wales and Local Authorities. I am currently programme manager for the Arts Council Wales initiative Ideas:People:Places, a 3 year, £3 million programme taking place in 7 locations across Wales. I oversee the Learning and Development programme-both supporting and advising city practitioners involved and also through an action research process, ensuring that practical lessons learnt are linked to policy at city, regional and national levels.This work also involves the use of a variety of online platforms for the sharing of ideas and peer learning. I have a strong interest in action research methodology and am experienced in drawing evidence, experiences and a range of data into various reporting formats.
D3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant demonstrates a strong ability to produce concise reports that incorporate learning from exchange and learning activities.
D.4. Understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design, awarenes: 
I have a strong interest in community initiative and linking the small scale testing of activity and tactical urban interventions to strategy and policy design. My expertise is to recognise and support innovative interventions and local assets (culture, entrepreneurial ideas, creative activists, place identities) and act as the bridge between these and local/regional/national government policy and strategy. This involves supporting blue sky thinking processes, experimenting with and testing ideas and making the learning relevant for policy design. An example of this is my facilitation of temporary uses in Bristol which moved from informal occupation of spaces> creation of a space for dialogue, debate and bringing a range of disparate stakeholders together- activists, local government, private sector>creation of a formal temporary use programme http://thismadecity.com/ >temporary use becoming a formal strategy in an enterprise zone and urban planning-implementing the UKs first Local Development Order for Temporary Use. This programme is regarded internationally as best practice and online resources share and disseminate the learning (for example see http://emptyspaces.culturemap.org.au/emptyspace/hidden-economy-critical-review-meanwhile-use-uk). My current work at Arts Council Wales aims to maximise on the learning and project outcomes through internal sharing (online platforms, critical appraisal workshops) and sharing findings through blogs, articles and briefing documents.
D4 Assessment: 
1: The applicant shows a good understanding of how to maximize the use of project results for benefits in capitalization, policy design and awareness.
Summary Thematic expertise: 
I have over 15 years experience working within integrated urban renewal- working within local government, as a freelance consultant, an independent initiator and a university lecturer. I have an MA in Town Planning and specialised in Urban Regeneration. I have a strong knowledge of best practice from around the world and my role as a consultant is to help clients think outside the box and to come up with creative and pragmatic actions. This involves supporting blue sky thinking processes, facilitating collaborations and co-production processes, testing ideas through action and making the learning relevant for policy design. My expertise is to recognise and support innovative thinking and local assets (culture, entrepreneurial ideas, creative activists, place identities) and act as the bridge between these and strategy/policy. This involves a strong focus on the ‘software’ of place-the activation and use of space; tactical and DIY urbanism; temporary use; incremental development; strengthening local resilience and local networks; growing the civic and collaborative economy; developing ‘make use’ strategies and activity around urban space, local economies and resources; place-making tools; and bringing a broader range of voices to the renewal process. For example, I facilitated the growth of temporary use in Bristol from an informal, activist driven phenomena into a formal regeneration strategy and local planning policy which is regarded internationally as best practice.
Assessment: 
The applicant is validated for the thematic field "Integrated Urban Renewal" with a score of 3 out of 4. No significant inconsistencies have been identified between the CV and application, nor between the responses and summary.

Expertise support to local authorities and other stakeholders in designing & delivering integrated and participatory policies

E.1. Knowledge on participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local polices : 
I worked for 7 years within Bristol City Council as Arts and Regeneration Officer and devised and led cross departmental projects bringing together the local authority with community activists, artists and creative thinkers and other stakeholders to work cohesively on effecting new approaches, policies and activities. Working within arts, culture and regeneration I had an important role in designing and delivering participatory methods and tools to facilitate joint working on projects and also to engender meaningful community participation in defining priorities, project planning, design and implementation. A strong focus was bringing new voices into the co-production of local policies and a myriad of regeneration projects such as developing local plans, park regeneration, implementing temporary uses, housing developments and legibility strategy. As a freelance consultant, I have continued to play this role, working for a range of Local Authorities and urban development initiatives, acting as a critical friend and problem solver. Methods used include holding public events, creatively facilitated meetings,devising mutual learning processes, film events, hosting debates, mapping places visually and use of maquettes, setting up creative project development spaces in unusual venues such as empty shops, use of interactive media and activities, walking tour events and working with artists and other creative practitioners.
E.1 Assessment: 
1: The applicant has a solid background in the use of participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local policies.
E.2. Knowledge on integrated approach for the design, delivering, monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies: 
It is crucial that whenever possible monitoring and evaluation processes are built in from the inception of projects. I have worked on many publicly funded schemes where it is essential to monitor the value added of public money and quality of processes and outcomes. I am familiar with a range of innovative evaluation methodologies such as the Landscape, Landscape and Horizon approach and results based accountability. I have knowledge and experience of using a range of research, evaluation and monitoring methodologies to collect both qualitative and quantitative data involving processes such as facilitating focus groups, implementing action learning processes, creative documentation and questionnaires, participatory appraisal and peer evaluation. Essential to monitoring and evaluation is the collection of baseline data through synthesising existing data, surveys, interviews, creating photographicr ecords. I am currently facilitating the design of an evaluation framework for the Arts Council Wales national £3 million regeneration programme Ideas: People Places and advising stakeholders including local authorities, housing associations, community organisations on evaluation methodologies. This has involved designing and facilitating workshops for the 7 participating programmes to co-design a set of shared project goals, incorporating peer to peer learning and collaborating with expert evaluators with a range of thematic expertise in health, urban design and participation.
E.2 Assessment: 
1: The applicant demonstrates strong knowledge on the use of an integrated approach for the design, delivering, monitoring and evaluation of urban strategies/policies.
E.3. Awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level: 
As a freelance consultant it is essential that I continuously learn and keep up to date on policy and funding . I regularly attend seminars, discussions and conferences and arrange study visits of innovative practice and policy initiatives in cities internationally. Fortunately being based in Bristol, there are a diverse range of opportunities for learning and sharing with other practitioners through the universities, the festival of ideas, the Academy of Urbanism and other bodies. I subscribe to a range of blogs and newsletters focussed on international urban policy and practice. Through my current work in Wales, I am working in places where the distribution of EU structural funds are vitally important and I am involved in looking at the links between these projects and current EU funding streams such as ESF:ERDF and EARDF.
E.3 Assessment: 
1: The applicant shows a good approach to maintaining her awareness of the main policy and funding schemes for sustainable urban development at EU and national level.
E.4. Ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities: 
Working at the intersection of urban regeneration, place-making, culture and the arts, it has been essential for me to look far and wide for inspiration and innovation. However, also essential is understanding the unique nature of a place and it’s characteristics if anything of meaning and quality is to take place. Throughout my career, I have been involved in bringing new innovative ideas and practice into the mainstream and sharing practice from around the world with policy makers, communities, civil servants etc to help people think outside of the box. Through working closely with those on the ground and creating an inclusive process, tools and content can be scrutinised, tested and then rejected as inappropriate or adapted to fit the local context. For example, through co-organising with communities the temporary closure of streets in Bristol for other uses such as play, markets, sports etc, I have worked with local people to test new ideas, design solutions, uses and imagine possible futures. When working on the regeneration of Swansea High Street I worked with a wide range of stakeholder groups to generate ideas, understand and discuss relevant innovation from elsewhere and then either test these ideas temporarily or when not possible, interrogate the potential through focussed discussions.
E.4 Assessment: 
1: The applicant demonstrates a strong ability to understand specific local situations and adapt tools and content to different local realities.
Summary Expertise: 
I worked for 7 years within Bristol City Council and facilitated cross-departmental projects bringing together the local authority with many different stakeholders to work cohesively on new policy and activity. Working within arts, culture and regeneration I had an important role in designing and delivering participatory methods to facilitate joint working on projects and also to engender meaningful community participation in defining priorities, project planning, design and implementation. As a freelance consultant, I have continued to play this role, working for a range of Local Authorities and urban development initiatives, acting as a critical friend and problem solver. I use a wide range of participatory methods and tools for co-production and implementation of local policies, such as facilitating visioning and creative ideas workshops, discussions/debates, design charrettes, mapping, walking meetings, use of photography and film. I am experienced at using a range of research and evaluation methods and am currently facilitating the design of an evaluation framework for a national programme by Arts Council Wales. I have particular interest and experience in supporting local authorities and other stakeholders to test new policy and public realm changes through activity and temporary interventions (action research and tactical urbanism). Examples of this include the temporary closure of roads, creation of pocket public space, temporary changes of use of land and buildings.
Assessment: 
The applicant is validated for E, scoring 4 out of 4. No significant inconsistencies have been identified between the CV and application, nor between the responses and summary.

Informations

Residence location:
United Kingdom
Languages:
English - Mother tongue
Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
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Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
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Foreign Languages level: 
Foreign languages: 
Email:
ruth@platzprojects.org
Unavailable - already performing the role of Lead Expert for an URBACT network

Area of expertise