Engaging all stakeholders in designing learning spaces through JEDI practices (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)

By Judy Bruce

How might we effectively engage all stakeholders in considering inclusive school design? In this article we share ways this may be facilitated through use of the Authentic Engagement Toolkit.

Designing inclusive spaces for all ākonga to experience safety and connectedness is critical in order to set the conditions for learning to occur. Design considerations for learning may be understood through principles and practices of JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion).

The Authentic Engagement Toolkit is a free downloadable resource for designers and educators. The aim of the toolkit is to provide a way for stakeholders’ voices to be heard when designing learning environments that promote JEDI. The toolkit may be used by design teams to gather ideas from ākonga, educators, community and designers in interactive ways.

The 2023 Mayfield Project topic was JEDI and the project team explored ways to engage all stakeholders to incorporate JEDI practices in the design process of learning environments. The result of the project is the Authentic Engagement Toolkit. 

In October 2023, Learning Environments New Zealand Chapter (LENZ), hosted an evening with designers, architects and educators interested in using the Toolkit. We went along to learn more.

Learning about the Authentic Engagement Toolkit, Learning Environments New Zealand — Image by: Tārai Kura

The toolkit has been developed for design teams to use together when facilitating conversations with key stakeholders including:

  • users of the spaces, such as ākonga, kaiako, school leaders and whānau 
  • designers of the spaces, such as design team members including architects and educators. 

Using the Toolkit, there are three ways inquiry happens: 

  1. Observation: through taking notice of the affect of spaces
  2. Conversation: through conversations with users of the space 
  3. Action: through activities with others to facilitate more in depth knowledge about a space

The Authentic Engagement Toolkit — Image by: Tārai Kura

We really enjoyed learning more about this resource and can see lots of great ways this could be used with school design teams. 

If you are undertaking a school design planning project anytime soon then we highly recommend checking this resource out online at: Designers of Space

If you would like to learn more about school design, then contact us at contacttaraikura@gmail.com.