B.1. Understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development:
I have developed a broad and in-depth understanding of integrated and sustainable urban development through work with and for the URBACT Programme. In 2019, I conducted an independent study of 205 Integrated Action Plans concluded by Action-Planning-Network cities. I developed a set of findings and recommendations for URBACT, as well as an updated framework for working on integrated action planning for sustainable urban development – breaking it down into 14 different elements. I have argued that it is useful to think of integrated action planning in terms of: 1) quality planning processes; 2) defining actions to deliver integrated urban development; and 3) detailed and coherent plans of action. I have also shown how aspects of integrated urban development apply differently in different thematic and local contexts. I have been invited by the European Commission to present my understanding of integrated urban development as an expert speaker at the European Week of Regions and Cities. I have previously worked within the URBACT Secretariat as Partnerships Officer and on Knowledge Hub Editorial Management, enhancing my understanding of urban development issues and URBACT tools and methods. I also bring interesting perspectives to the understanding of sustainable urban development from previous work on European policy and networking around rural development, poverty and social exclusion, ageing, child rights and the EU’s environment programme LIFE+.
B.2. Understanding of exchange and learning processes at transnational level:
I have worked in and for European networks since 2001 when I ran my own exchange project between UK and Spanish autism associations – supported by the EU’s Future Capital Programme. Since then, I have had full-time roles in Autism Europe, AGE Platform Europe and the European Network for Rural Development, as well as a three-year elected position on the Executive Committee of the European Anti Poverty network. I also have nearly 10 years’ experience as a freelance writer, facilitator and consultant specialising in European networks and networking. I have organised or experienced a variety of attempts to engage stakeholders in exchange and learning processes at transnational level, including the use of online platforms, thematic working groups, conferences and events, publications and different types of interactive session from Fishbowl to buzzgroups and from voting processes to consensus building. I have an excellent understanding of URBACT exchange and learning having worked in the Secretariat for most of 2018 and through current work in URBACT Knowledge Hub Editorial Management. In addition, I am currently an advisor to the Urban Future Global Conference and one of the co-founders of the Smart Village Network launched to support networking and exchange between villages and village associations in Europe.
B.3. Proficiency in English:
I am a native English speaker with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University. I have worked as a writer and journalist, including three years as Communications Manager of the European Network for Rural Development Contact Point (2014-2017) and a long-term, part-time role in the External Communications Team of the LIFE Programme (2007-2014). I have produced a variety of types of content including evaluation studies, thematic publications, case studies, project articles, event reports, guides, newsletters, tweets and website content. I have written for the European institutions and a variety of NGO networks. I am used to orally presenting complex topics in English to European audiences. For example, I have presented URBACT at meetings of the Urban Development Network and the IAP Study at the European Week of Regions and Cities. At the time of the major EU enlargement (2003-04), I travelled around central and Eastern Europe presenting European networking, exchange and policy-making to older people’s associations on behalf of AGE Platform Europe. I have facilitated workshops, sessions and debates in English both within European networks, for European projects and for the European Commission, European Committee of the Regions and a European Parliament Intergroup.
Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
C.3.1. Ability to communicate complex concepts to non-English speakers:
In addition to the multitude of written materials that I have prepared for European audiences (see CV), I am an experienced presenter and facilitator in the context of European networking and am able to develop clear non-written materials with a graphic designer. Every time I present, I am conscious that I am presenting to non-native English speakers and adapt my style accordingly. Perhaps the most challenging experiences I had in this regard date back to my work with AGE Platform Europe around the enlargement of the EU in 2004. I visited all ten new Member States with the aim of integrating associations from each country into the AGE network. I met with older people’s associations and their members – in countries where this generation typically learnt Russian rather than English – and presented to them complex topics around the network and EU policy-making. Thanks to my efforts at simple and straightforward communication, AGE obtained new members from all ten countries. As examples of non-written visual materials, I would highlight the infographics that I prepared at the ENRD on topics related to rural development policy and its implementation across the EU. Working with a graphic designer, we aimed to make complex EU-level information easily understandable and comparable between Member States. See, for example Rural Connections magazine spring 2015 and summer 2015. https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/publications_en
C.3.2. Ability to draw out, support the verbalization and documentation of knowledge and practice from participants:
At the ENRD Contact Point, I coordinated the development of the online projects database, which had the task of collecting and presenting good examples of EAFRD-funded projects. It aimed to enable transnational comparison and exchange of examples. I developed the model of a one-page summary which could be printed as handouts (e.g. to support discussions at thematic working group meetings) with a focus on results and lessons learned. Additional pages provided more practical details for those interested to learn more. See the current database here: https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/projects-practice_en And see a case study example I worked on: https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/projects-practice/academy-tour_en For a very different type of material produced to support exchange of experience and knowledge, see the briefing note that I prepared for the coordination meeting of the National URBACT Points in May 2018. For each session of the event, my document provided details on what participants needed to ‘know or do beforehand’. This encouraged effective preparation by participants so that they came ready to contribute and engage fully in each discussion and make the most of the time together at the meeting. The note is not online but is available on request.
C.3.3. Ability to capture learning for participants to take away:
I was responsible for producing the ENRD’s twice-yearly thematic publication ‘EU Rural Review’, pulling together learning, messages and examples from the ENRD’s annual Thematic Working Groups. I attended thematic group meetings, identified contributors and maintained overall editorial control to provide a clear and coherent presentation of knowledge and relevant examples. I would highlight editions 22-24 covering food and drink supply chains, the green economy and rural business opportunities. These are each available here: https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/publications_en For a more synthetic example of capturing learning, I would highlight the work I did to produce a short summary report of the ‘Cork 2.0: European Conference on Rural Development’. My 4-page leaflet aimed to capture the main messages of the keynote speakers and each of the four thematic strands at the event, as well as a summary of the concluding Declaration in a short and visually attractive way. See the leaflet here: https://enrd.ec.europa.eu/sites/enrd/files/cork_newsletter-web_en.pdf A contrasting type of output gathering the results of transnational exchange was the 11-page meeting report that I prepared following the coordination meeting of the National URBACT Points (NUPs) in May 2018. This highlighted the main learning points as well as clearly flagging action points for both the NUPs and URBACT Secretariat to both capture knowledge and enable effective follow-up. This can be supplied on request.
C.3.4. Ability to produce concise reports that incorporate good practices and policy messages:
I am always conscious of the need to produce clear and concise content that is easy to read and digest. I have produced many such materials in various contexts during my career. In the context of reports incorporating good practices and policy messages specifically, I would highlight the following two examples: 1. I recently produced an independent study on 205 URBACT city Integrated Action Plans. The detailed study led to a report of 50 pages presenting the full findings of the study. I supported this with a set of seven city case studies that provided examples of what the IAP study had found. To help readers navigate the material, I produced a short two-page executive summary focusing on the main findings, conclusions and recommendations, as well as a two-page overview of the case studies highlighting what each example shows. These materials are available at: https://urbact.eu/integrated-action-plans-study 2. I attended and wrote the final report for Eurochild’s Annual Conference 2013 on Child Participation. What I would particularly highlight is the clarity and brevity of the content compared to the report from their previous year’s conference which I was asked to improve on. My report is available here: https://issuu.com/eurochild_org/docs/eurochild_ac2013_report The previous year’s report can be seen here: https://issuu.com/eurochild_org/docs/ac2012_conference_report/5
Summary Expertise for the design and delivery of transnational exchange and learning activities:
I have worked in transnational exchange and networking since 2001 both as a full-time employee of European policy and NGO networks and as a freelance consultant and facilitator. I have specific experience with URBACT having been the Partnerships Officer in 2018 and conducted a study of URBACT cities’ Integrated Action Plans in 2019. Across different European networks, I have organised and led transnational exchange in formats including: statutory meetings of membership organisations; thematic working groups; debates; study visits; partner meetings; workshops; and trainings. I have worked with participants ranging from local stakeholders to high-level institutional representatives. I have written and led transnational cooperation projects, been elected onto representative bodies of European networks and managed small teams in the delivery of specific tasks supporting networking and exchange. I am skilled at bringing together partnerships, facilitating networking and exchange and producing clear and concise outputs. I have also worked extensively in communications, including 3 years as the Communications Manager of the European Network for Rural Development, 7 years as a freelance writer for the LIFE Programme and 10+ years as a writer/editor for a variety of European institutions and NGO networks. I have produced materials including thematic publications, leaflets, event reports, newsletters, case studies, guides and website content.