A Space To Be and CDE Scarborough

A creative, community-led practice building a new CDE hub in Scarborough


Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Scarborough Museums and Galleries initiated a project called “A Space To Be” in a room in Scarborough Art Gallery. This provided space, safety, connection and purpose for individuals, vulnerable and disabled groups to come together following the lockdown. It later provided a warm space for the community during the cost of living and energy crisis of the winter of 2022.

 From the outset, the intention was for a creative, community-driven hub to evolve, using principles of reciprocity and “nothing about me without me”. The project committed to a long-term approach to enable change in the community to emerge through bottom-up processes that connect the lived experiences of social justice challenges to climate justice issues and the environment. Projects and activities in Space To Be are devised collaboratively and facilitated in a non-prescriptive way to inspire reflection on nested layers of wellbeing, which extend widely to environmental systems while starting from participants’ personal experiences and views. Its overarching aim is to support active citizenship in regenerative practices and communities in Scarborough. It sits in North Yorkshire’s aim to become carbon-negative, with business initiatives moving towards regenerative economies.

Space to Be, Scarborough Museums and Galleries © Matt Cooper

CDEs Blueprint for change influenced the project’s ethics, broadening the understanding of well-being to the twelve social foundations of Doughnut Economics, which sit within ecological limits.

Participants from the local Scarborough community or from one of the many groups that connect with Space To Be, such as Blueberry Academy, Cross Lane Hosptial, Personalised Learning or MENCAP, may start an investigation into an ecological theme in one session, and this is then shared with other groups and collaborators throughout the week, so the idea grows and becomes the focus of Space to Be creative learning for several weeks, often leading to further, meaningful conversations in Space and beyond the walls of the gallery.

Projects include ‘Map it Well‘, a mindful map of Scarborough that uses the nature around us to stimulate sensory and imaginative journeys created from community knowledge and a community coral reef that has opened up discussions about the state of our seas.

It has also been important to link up with experts to deepen conversations. Working with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Wild Eye to create seagrass bags to regenerate seagrasses at Spurn Point was a turning point for the Tuesday drop-in group. While the group made the seagrass pouches, a conversation about the need for seagrass as a carbon sink led to a discussion about fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. The tangible outcomes created a sense of engagement and agency within the group.

The Hub’s communities are now establishing the first CDE Scarborough Hub, enabling the different collaborators to cross over further and embed democratic processes that have informed the groups since its inception. The Hub’s methodology and processes are informed by the constituents’ capacities and values. The overarching intention is to ensure that local community transition and adaptation to climate change is fair and that the voices and needs of often marginalised communities are heard.

Rachel Welford Walking Workshop, 27th May 2022. In response to Map It Well. Photo: Joel Hague.

You can read more about Scarborough Museums and Galleries’ work and declaration here.

Take action
Send us your story
More inspiration

Skip links

  1. Top
  2. Skip to content top
  3. Skip to quick links
  4. Skip to main menu
  5. Skip to search