The way beyond public consultation — webinar

Dr Helen Graham – in collaboration with architect and Passivhaus designer Phil Bixby – will be sharing a creative approach to large scale public engagement in this Historic England webinar.

Generating creative conversations is key to creating fantastic places.

Explore how to do this through a deep dive into the long term engagement approaches they have developed through work on two large regeneration areas in York.

From surfacing and dealing with controversies to activating different ideas of expertise, this webinar will explore throughout the creative role heritage can play in these local democratic processes.

Helen Graham and Phil Bixby use a dynamic engagement approach that works through cycling through key activities. Bring your own examples to work together through four key engagement stages:

  1. Build a brief
  2. Map constituencies
  3. Explore complex issues
  4. Make change together

A grid of post-it notes, with peoples' views as part of a public consultation in York

How to book

Book your place here.

This is a small-scale interactive training webinar. Places are capped at 40 to ensure delegates can gain sufficient access to the expert speakers.

About the facilitators

Helen Graham is an Associate Professor who teaches heritage studies in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies.  She has been working with architect and Passivhaus designer Phil Bixby since 2017 to develop creative and long term participatory approaches to local democracy.

In particular they have developed their approaches through working together on two regeneration projects in York: My Castle Gateway and My York Central.

Both projects have gone beyond conventional community consultation by enabling all those interested to become part of a sustained long-term conversation where influence comes through sharing responsibility for the area and its future.


Illustration by John Christophers
Both My Castle Gateway and My York Central have used all sorts of approaches to get conversations going. A key principle is to generate sustained conversation where ideas become linked, challenges are openly explored and new networks for action and making change are cultivated and supported.

Post-it notes from My Castle Gateway consultations
Part of the process is to document all conversations. All contributions are digitised and added to a Flickr site for transparent tagging so themes can emerge and be shared back into the conversation.