Sunday, 23 June 2013

Everyone has a perspective to share, a story to tell.


When drawing upon my previous entry I identified four distinctive themes in which, I explored independently that revolve around Sheffield's transition. These include:

- Deindustrialisation

- Technological Innovation/Creative Industries

- Evolving modes of governance

- Regeneration

Essentially, these four themes have laid the foundations for a sequence of influential events to play out and shape the Sheffield of today. Nonetheless, as these themes are the four most significant that I have generated independently, being part of an interdisciplinary team has broadened my horizon and directed my attention to some other themes that have formed Sheffield:

- Culture

- Place and place making (particularly Sheffield Hallam University's establishment and influence to place).

I was aware that there would be an abundance of such topics, but working with students in other disciplines has helped me to manifest other themes into greater depth. The reason being, these students within my team (and others on the study tour) have shared different interpretations of Sheffield with me based upon the perspectives of their respective fields, as I have also shared with them. Consequently, I have become increasing attentive and aware of Sheffield's urban art and culture movements (as this has been my group's focus). This is not to say that as a planning student I have not been cognisant of such social trends; for this is an important element to consider for anyone wishing to one day become a town planner. Rather, I am claiming that being in an interdisciplinary team has opened my mind to other perspectives and approaches to comprehending Sheffield, which team members have shared with me. This entails a community development, an arts and English literature student perspective that have shared different themes and opinions they have noted throughout their empirical research.

Principally, my role within the team required me to investigate the team’s assignment question by interviewing and recording persons under the university’s cultural branch in an attempt to generate some answers. The question being ‘How has the establishment of Sheffield Hallam University impacted the culture and creative industries of Sheffield?’ To ensure material in the presentation is relevant and vibrant, communication and interpersonal skills have been essential. Not only to articulate our thoughts within the team to establish a shared understanding and subsequently, produce work that can be consolidated holistically when all contributions merge. But also, to reassure, relax and connect with interviewees in order to give them the confidence to open up and share their opinions, which were the recorded answers synthesised into the media presentation. This is one lesson I learnt and convicted efficiently due to the advice of remaining causal from a fellow class mate - ‘It shouldn’t feel different from any other social interaction/situation). In order to connect with participants and break communication barriers, conveying an empathetic and engaging outlook through body language, tone of voice and being mindful of what to say is crucial.

Thus, my experience from working in an interdisciplinary team has reminded me that everyone has a different interpretation and an opinion that in this case, I could learn from.
- Isaac Sharp (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)

 

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