Dr Helen Graham

School of Fine Art, History of Art, and Cultural Studies

My Castle Gateway: Shaping the future through open conversations

Responsive Mode Impact Fund


Every local authority has a duty to engage the public in decision making about planning. Yet devising methods for taking public engagement beyond a ‘consultation approach’ has proved more challenging. My Castle Gateway, a new partnership between the My Future York project and City of York Council, will implement and test new approaches to public engagement based on sustained community-led open conversations.

My Castle Gateway Project will include: using creative community-led events to explore and establish ‘what is important’ about the area (which will underpin the heritage ‘statement of significance’), using possibility-thinking to feed into master-planning processes (not starting with series of options); identifying lines for community-led action inquiries (where there is uncertainty or disagreement); sustaining action throughout the planning, development and hand over (so that community use and custodianship of the area is fostered and grown throughout the processes).

By the end of the project we will have developed a set of approaches and methods that can be shared with other local authorities and public organisations approaching large-scale and long-term public engagement.