Erasmus+ Community-Engaged Learning Projects and Network

Over the past year, the Education Incubator has worked on the Erasmus+ Community and Students Together (CaST) project as one of six university partners.

The CaST project focuses on how universities can work more effectively and more inclusively within their city communities by providing students with opportunities to work on local societal challenges.

The six university partners working on this Community-Engaged Learning project are:

  • Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg (Germany) 
  • Università degli Studi di Parma (Italy) 
  • Universidad de Málaga (Spain) 
  • Universiteit Gent (Belgium)  
  • Turun Yliopisto (Finland) 
  • University of Exeter

Community-Engaged Learning combines academic teaching and research with a social commitment. The term encompasses a wide range of methods and programmes where Higher Education Institutions try to meet the needs of both their students and community partners. Students extend and deepen their university learning by participating in contexts outside of their HEI. Community partners should benefit from the partnership with students and the University. Both groups work together to address societal concerns, challenges or needs while producing knowledge in an equitable way. To date, the project has published a State-of-the-art review of Engaged Learning, and a Case Studies Compendium that explores engaged-learning examples in each part institution (that you can read here).

In the current phase of the project, the Education Incubator is supporting the delivery of a series of engaged-learning pilot projects and activities. The applications for these projects were decided over the Christmas vacation, and launched in mid-January.

These three projects include:

Olya Petrakova-Brown – MayFest Exeter: Compassion Through Play

Olya is working with the community organisation MakeTank to develop and deliver a community-engaged event consisting of a series of experiential activities to promote a deep consideration of compassion in a post-Covid world by using play and playfulness. This project will be developed with students, community-led organisations, and local residents. Some of MayFest activities will include online pre-event sessions to engage with the participant/attendees beforehand and develop a feeling of belonging through group activities, an interactive theatre-based scavenger hunt, an engagement with Secret Agent of Compassion challenges (aiming at recognising and bringing kindness to everyday life), participation in discussions in speaker-led sessions, and more. Our three-strand approach: (1) Technology, (2) Pedagogy, and (3) Change Knowledge, will provoke out attendees to develop the skills and attributes they need to thrive and be compassionate in a changing world. The impact of our project will be made visible by collectively creating a ‘People Thinking Wall’ by the participants before and after activities, inspired by Hakuhodo Studio in Japan. This will represent the individual and collective change in perception, skills and knowledge about compassion.

Francesco Goglia – Students as Teachers of Multilingualism: a Bi-Directional Project between the University of Exeter and Rokeby School

Francesco is working with two teachers from Rokeby School – Thomas Porter and Dr Sarah Lawson – to test an innovative bi-directional method of teaching and learning Multilingualism. Students of Modern Languages and Cultures at Exeter will be involved in creating and deploying teaching activities for students of the school in East London, a highly multicultural and multilingual secondary school. Students of the school will learn more about the study of languages in Higher Education and the importance of multilingualism for future career prospects. They will also be involved in creative activities such as producing vignettes and surveying the linguistic landscape of their school and borough, to explain their experiences of multilingualism to Exeter students. 

Fabrizio Nevola, David Rosenthal, and Kate Osborne – Hidden Exeter and St Nicholas’ Priory

Fabrizio, David, and Kate are collaborating with the Hidden Cities project to builds on the public-facing geolocated historical audio guide, Hidden Exeter (AppStore and GooglePlay). Through involving students at the University of Exeter and volunteers at St Nicholas’ Priory, Exeter and facilitated by researchers from the Hidden Cities research project, it will deliver a community-engaged, co-produced new trail within the app.  The eleventh-century St Nicholas’ Priory is the city’s oldest standing building. In the custody of Exeter Historic Buildings Trust, with the support of major funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund and the UK Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, it is under development as an Arts, Cultural and Heritage Hub for the city and its communities. The project will offer an innovative skills-based learning opportunity, creating valuable new digital interpretation for St Nicholas’ Priory, while providing an example of knowledge transfer between the expert community of local researchers and the University.  

Community-Engaged Learning Network

Alongside supporting these new projects, the Incubator has also set up a Community-Engaged Learning Network, with the first meeting taking place on Friday 19th February. The network is a space for those interested in engaged-learning projects to meet and discuss current and future opportunities to collaborate.

The Incubator has a series of funding opportunities coming up, both for year-long projects and shorter innovation opportunities. One of our focuses in these applications is around engaged-learning, so please do join the network if you would like to meet a group of like-minded peers.

The next meeting will take place in May, so if you are interested in joining this network, or to learn more about these projects, please email us at

CaST Incubator

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The University of Exeter’s Education Incubator scheme. Promoting pedagogic innovation and collaboration with an aim to enhance learning across the University and beyond.

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