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Last chance: Sign up to UWE free, online course and explore Our Green City

OGC_scrollOn Monday 1 February UWE Bristol will run, for the second and final time, Our Green City, a free, online course that showcases and celebrates Bristol’s year as the European Green Capital. 

Using Bristol as a case study city, Our Green City aims to engage people in Bristol and across the world in the key themes of the Bristol Green Capital and support the city to create a lasting legacy from the year.

As part of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and UWE’s vision for sharing and creating knowledge, we wanted to open a broader, public conversation about things such as food, nature and energy; after all we cannot live without them so why do we take these resources that sustain us for granted?  We are now approaching the high water mark of Western consumption - we use more than we generate, we are over reliant on fossil fuels and these key life support systems are increasingly imported rather than obtained from their hinterland as they once were.

With this in mind, UWE academics worked with a range of individuals and organisations from the Bristol Green Capital Partnership to offer a stimulating and engaging suite of learning resources; whilst balancing theory with live examples of the work that is being done in Bristol to make it one of the most sustainable cities in Europe.

Working with UWE to support the Our Green City online free course

Our Green City ran in September 2015, recruiting over 1,300 learners, with very high retention rates across all of the themes.  Taking the themes of Nature, Food, Energy, Transport and Resources we were fortunate to work with around three or four organisations for each theme, amounting to around twenty members of the partnership overall.

The key point is that this type of partnership has had great benefits for our learners because it illustrates to them the possibilities and paths that others have already walked.  Each week the participant survey responses indicated a high level of engagement and intrigue into the work of local organisations. When asked for an activity they particularly enjoyed, the participants laid praise to the local groups featured in the week’s presentations.

One participant said they particularly enjoyed:

“learning about the Bristol Pound scheme, I think it's a great way to support local businesses and I am going to look into becoming a part of this”. 

Others appreciated:

“discovering local projects such as Happy City. I didn't know about the existence of this project and I want to find out more”

and

“The Beacon Farm... It is a really nice community! I would like to enjoy a meal with them.”

With over 1,300 registered learners and around 50% engaging in some themes, dramatic coverage was in place for each featured organisation, as a total of 2,100 plays of our videos were made in 71 countries.

Mark Leach (City Council Project Manager for Climate Change and Sustainability) explained that Green Capital funding was awarded to the MOOC because it answered key criteria:

“It would have a legacy and the course would enable deeper links with the academic and the city, ensuring an increase in the capacity of local organisations”.

The course also was chosen for its ability to reach out to “a wide demographic”, once more emphasising the breadth of coverage that the organisations involved received. From Mark’s feedback, participants “loved Bristol as a case study and even if they weren’t from Bristol, they still really enjoyed this aspect of the course.”

Simon Bates (Project Manager) believed:

“featuring the work of organisations in the Bristol Green Capital Partnership enabled us to show that leadership and action develops from the grassroots of our communities and in the work of local and national organisations.”

With this in mind “we could ask our participants to think about their locality and community in a different way.” The partnership provided insight into their work to a course that has undoubtedly achieved its ambitions and adhered to the Green Capital intentions. In return, the course helped to celebrate the work of multiple groups, communities and enterprises. It has ensured global coverage of local organisations and tightened the links between the academic and the local. Bristol was used as a demonstration for the sustainability workshop of the world.

Blog written by Tom Putterill, Green Capital Intern at the University of West of England

You can sign up to Our Green City by going to http://tiny.cc/ourgreencity and for more information contact Simon Bates, Project Manager at simon2.bates@uwe.ac.uk

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