The Network+ hosted two Sandpit events in London and Newcastle to help potential partners meet in person and begin to work together, ahead of the second Call for Collaborations. As part of the second call, Not-Equal organised a number of events, and created the Catalyst platform to encourage academics and non-academic partners to work together on a potential research project.
The Sandpit events, held in the Newcastle University newly built Catalyst building and the Digital Catapult in London, aimed to drive innovation and facilitate collaboration between Network+ members.
What is a Sandpit?
Sandpits are interactive workshops involving 20-30 participants: the director, a team of expert mentors, and a number of independent stakeholders. Sandpits have a highly multidisciplinary mix of participants – some active researchers and other potential users of research outcomes – to drive lateral thinking and radical approaches in order to address research challenges.
A Sandpit is an intensive discussion forum where free thinking is encouraged, allowing the stakeholders to delve into the problems on the agenda to uncover innovative solutions.
The events had a wide-ranging collection of activities and speakers – and we invited some of our first-call grant holders to talk about their projects and the collaboration process.
From the beginning participants were invited to create their ‘Social Justice Enemy’ using playdough, then went on to work in groups to discuss critical challenges to social justice and exploring potential responses. People were encouraged to share their ideas across groups to help spark potential collaborations.
Speakers at the events included Nic Palmarini, Director of UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), Alan Dix, Not-Equal COI and Director of the Computational Foundry, Anat Elhalal, Head of Technology AI/ML at Digital Catapult and Alison Powell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at London School of Economics.
Grant holders who spoke included: Wifak Gueddana, King’s College London, Artemis Skarlatidou, University College London, Yingqin Zheng, Royal Holloway University London, Dr Oliver Bates, Lancaster University and Jill McGlasson, Northumbria University.