Ince, Lindsay (2018) Breaking down the invisible barrier: Connecting the university estate with the local community. In: Urban History Beyond the Academy, 25/05/2018, Leeds Beckett University. (Unpublished)

The University of Huddersfield campus sits just outside the ring road on the south side of Huddersfield town centre. Yet time and again, anecdotally, the local community report walking around campus rather than through it, or not feeling as though they are ‘allowed’ to be on the university estate. Perhaps with an eye on their public engagement agenda, the University in fact puts on a number of public lectures every year and encourages the public to attend. The Heritage Quay project places another publically accessible and open access building at the heart of campus, and so we used the opportunity of the 175th anniversary of the institution to partner with Discover Huddersfield, a local organisation funded by Kirklees Council’s High Street Innovation Fund. They have successfully been developing theme based walks in the town centre area for four years, and we worked with them to create a University Heritage Trail through campus. It was designed to encourage the community to discover more about the institution, and allow them to reflect on the changing landscape of the University estate throughout their lives, and go somewhat toward breaking down the barriers keeping them from coming on to campus. This paper will summarise the pros and cons of working in partnership with a local historical organisation, developing meaningful content for non-academic audiences and being a partner in the dialogue for developing content about our own institution.

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