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CoDesRes: CoDesigning for Resilience in rural development through P2P networks and STEAM place-based learning interventions.

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CoDesRes was one of six national EPA-funded United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Projects. CoDesRes brings together an interdisciplinary team of artists, scholars, engineers and marine biologists to co-design and co-develop a multi-stakeholder approach for a ‘beyond-compliance’ engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals 4, Education; 11, Sustainable Cities And Communities; 14. Life Below Water and 15, Life On Land.

The research design explored the integration of the existing permaCultural resilience (pCr) praxis with additional 3 fields; Marine Ecology, Environmental Science and Engineering within three work packages; Youth, Community and Media Transition, with a focus on key areas identified through the research assistants prior research and pertinent to an Irish rural context; Waste and the relationship between the Green and Blue Economy, in County Kerry, which has one of the largest coastlines in Ireland.

CoDesRes's core methodology, the permaCultural resilience (pCr) framework, embeds social and environmental justice in its processes. Trialled in London, Dublin and New Mexico in a range of socio-political contexts, it has proven to be effective in creating locally relevant non-formulaic projects that contribute to change in practice and behaviours, within a given context. The pCr methodology is a whole system approach and although the work packages have distinct aims and objectives, they are integrated with the skills of the whole team applied to their development and delivery where appropriate. This can be considered as manifesting a circular economic approach, by considering a life cycle analysis of the methods used. their inputs, processes and outputs.  

The methodology was originally developed in London, UK; Dublin, Ireland and Taos County, New Mexico builds on twenty-five years of public  arts practice within a range of contexts; live art, community, schools, prisons and theatre with a range of constituents; elders, youth and local residents. It is a unique art and design critical praxis, a methodology to affect change that was developed for embedded artists and situated practice.  Utilsing the artists' residency, the artist is embedded in a specific situation or context and the artwork usually project-based emerges out of that situation. As a bio-psycho-social intervention it is a systemic approach to creative placemaking.

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The pCr Praxis

The CoDesRes methodology and research design is underpinned by interdisciplinary knowledge bases; arts, education, community development, marine ecology, environmental science and engineering. The permaCultural resilience (pCr) critical praxis (McKeown, 2015) for Creative Placemaking; the creative innovative participatory development of place, a web of complex relationships and systems. The pCr praxis (theoretical framework and toolkit) offers a systematic approach to Creative Placemaking through a situated, networked artist-led co-production that embeds eco-social justice at its core. As an operating system, the pCr praxis presents an Open Source resilient approach to design and encourages the triad of capitals; social, environmental, and economic to be integrated into the process as a means to cultivate the creation of conditions towards a healthy resilient eco-socio-cultural system and a reciprocal ecology.


An introduction: the pCr ROLE in Creative Placemaking is sustainable and resilient. Collectively, the toolkit and framework have been shown to facilitate self-organisation towards community development, a design thinking approach to local concerns and a process of developing innovative solutions collaboratively and systemically.


R - Relationships Using an intensive ‘audit’ tool to map cultural, economic, socio-political and environmental dynamics the pCr praxis reveals relationships, resources and opportunities to help re-configure and re-imagine an understanding of place. Stakeholder consultation is the first stage in the process


The construction of flexible micro-ecologies aids the revelation of multiple knowledge cultures and entities, integrating their place-based knowledge, valued for its potential to contribute to a local resilience.


O - OBREDIM process The pCr approach to Creative Placemaking develops a strategic intervention tactic as a core component for achieving permaCultural resilience (pCr) – a situated cultural resilience that is established over time through continual evolution. Permaculture tools adpated to suit situated art practices (where the art emerges out of specific situation and is context responsive) are used to move beyond site-specific or traditional art forms that often static or monumental towards generative practices.


L - Lifecycle Analysis The pCr framework offers a simple visual tool that embeds an eco-social commitment within Creative Placemaking by addressing the full life cycle of a project and beyond. By plotting the position of the inputs, processes and outputs of a project against the proximity to project’s ‘Zone 0’, an initial assessment of all production process can be considered.


E - Evaluation The pCr toolkit includes an evaluative matrix based on the concept of the vital signs of a project and contributing to the vital signs of a place. The Vital signs, act as indicators of a healthy system – human and non-human. The matrix, developed through the research uses the proposed foundational characteristics of pCr


  • Building Micro-ecologies

  • Strategic Intervention Tactics

  • Re-seeding Local Knowledge

  • Re-situating Arts, Design and Culture


and integrates three other key factors – earth care, people care and fair share, often commonly known as the triple bottom line. An additional indicator – the inclusive fitness theory evidences where the ethos behind the project spreads into other organisations or working practices towards long-term behavioural change.


The Vital Signs Matrix tool can also be used as a collaborative project development tool that serves as a foundation to addresses social and environmental equity within a project; short medium and long-term. The methodology also developed an extended concept of SMART goals that sought to integrate goals reflective of the current and future context;


  • S - Socio-culturally specific, Simple, and Sincere

  • M -  Meaningful as well as manageable and measurable

  • A -  Appropriate, Achievable, Aspirational and Ambitious

  • R – Relevant, Responsive, Reviewed and revised

  • T – Timely and time-specific

  • E - Eco-considerate and Ethical

  • R – Resilient, Resourceful and far – Reaching

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