In a newly released podcast Dr Niall Majury of the School of Natural and Built Environment outlines a programme that sees students work on live projects with community partners in projects with a positive social impact.
The ‘Geography at Work’ programme gives students real world experience in applying their research skills and the knowledge that they have acquired to apply them to problems that confront society, and gives civic organisations and community groups in the Belfast area an opportunity to tap into the expertise provided by Queen’s in addressing local issues.
In the 2019-20 academic year, the programme focused on two projects: ‘Connecting Communities with Green Pathways’; and ‘Mapping Urban Regeneration in the South Belfast Corridor.’
The former project saw third year Geography students Laura Thompson, Rebekah Gibson, Kirsty McLeod and Sarah Magee working with Belfast City Council’s Infrastructure team to create an interactive map of all the proposed, existing and possible greenways across Belfast.
For the Mapping Urban Regeneration project, Niamh Moggan, Naomi Martin and Eimear Rodgers worked with a range of community organisations such as the Forward South Partnership, BSCR (Belfast South Community Resources) LORAG (Lower Ormeau Residents’ Action Group) and the Markets Development Association to map out the ways in which capital investment projects integrate with community regeneration projects in the relevant areas.
Interviewed for The Charter podcast series, Dr Majury said: “What we're trying to do is support the students in the development of their professional identity as geographers in the workplace to give them experience of working with professionals working in a team. Because these are group projects that they work on to manage a project they also experience communicating with a variety of different stakeholders across the community - so it's a really enriching experience”.
Future plans include more work on the Greenways in the city, a project involving flood management in collaboration with the Belfast Hills Partnership, and a project with Habitat for Humanity, which will link local citizens in Belfast with global partners to enhance development education and advocacy.
To hear the episode, subscribe to 'The Charter Podcast' on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or visit The Charter podcast page here.
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