Vision

making in the invention rooms

Our vision is to support and empower the local community through science, innovation and collaboration. 

Goals

Our ambition is to make science and innovation accessible to everyone in the community in the area surrounding the White City Campus, and to increase social connectedness, confidence, wellbeing and transferable skills.

  1. Empowering - To increase scientific knowledge and understanding, and equip local people with skills of the future
  2. Inclusive - To create a campus that is accessible to everyone in the community, giving everyone the opportunity to benefit
  3. Collaborative – To work together to ensure our research and innovation is people-centred, relevant and responsive to the needs of the society

Approach

Understanding

  • Listening to the local community, learning about local challenges and forming trusting relationships based on understanding and mutual respect is at the heart of our work.

Partnership working

  • Throughout everything we do, we work with local organisations and residents to co-design activities that are in response to local need.
  • We form mutually supportive partnerships with local community organisations, sharing time, expertise, contacts and space.
  • There is amazing work being done by local organisations throughout the area, so we take care not to duplicate, but complement and support this work to increase our collective impact.

Engagement is a journey

  • For some members of the community, it can take time to build trusting relationships and encourage the belief that engagement with a university is for them. Because of this, we offer a range of opportunities and activities, from ‘light touch’ events that might start a person’s engagement journey to higher intensity programmes that have greater long-term impact.  

Our work

Themes

We largely work within five themes, which are based on the community’s needs and Imperial’s expertise:

The Invention Rooms

The Invention Rooms is our community shared space. It’s home to the Dangoor Reach Out Makerspace, the Advanced Hackspace and a community café. This unique facility is where the majority of our collaboration with the community takes place – it’s a friendly and welcoming space where the community, staff and students come together to learn, innovate and research.

The community collaboration story so far

2016 • Imperial starts building relationships with the local community; meeting residents and organisations and listening to how they would like Imperial to be as a neighbour in White City

2016 • We bring science pop-ups to local events and festivals, sharing fun science and information about what’s happening on campus  

April 2017 • The White City Innovators Programme, a four-week training programme where local residents and alumni develop their businesses, starts in the iHub

June 2017What the Tech!?, tech sessions for the elderly run by Business School students, begins at the Edward Woods centre 

October 2017The Invention Rooms, a shared space for community innovation, housing the Dangoor Reach Out Makerspace and the Advanced Hackspace, opens on Wood Lane – a thousand local residents attend the community open day

October 2017The Maker Challenge, the Dangoor Reach Out Makerspace’s flagship programme of making and innovation for local young people, begins

March 2018Imperial CodeLab @ White City, at five-week coding course for 11–14 year olds, starts in the Invention Rooms in collaboration with Net-a-Porter

June 2018 • The Proto Maker Challenge, a taster in making and innovation for year 8 classes, starts in the Makerspace

September 2018Agents for Change, a development programme and network for local women, is established in collaboration with Hammersmith United Charities, the Lyric Hammersmith theatre, and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham; over 100 women support its launch

September 2018 • The first LOL-Lab programme, where community members and scientists learn stand-up comedy together over six weeks

December 2018 • The Invention Rooms Café opens

February 2019 • The Community Science Seed Fund is launched, supporting five community science projects

March 2019 • Graduation of the first cohort of Agents for Change in the Invention Rooms – many go on to complete their own community projects

March 2019 • What the Tech!? is rolled out to the Invention Rooms