The University is currently looking into installing a number of ‘talking benches’ as part of collaborative project initiated by Arts, Humanities and Cultures (AHC) Support & Wellbeing.
A talking bench is a place where, by sitting down, you are signalling your availability to talk and connect with others. They are designed to tackle loneliness and isolation or just to prompt discussion between strangers. Whilst still in early stages, the plan is to hold an event allowing students to decorate the benches before they are installed on campus to encourage conversation and make space for those who need someone to talk to.
The Leeds Living Lab has highlighted the opportunity to research the use of the benches and is seeking collaboration with academic staff or students that have an interest in, for example, behaviour and perspectives, opportunities and blockers and use of such facilities in a university setting. The research would inform the future approach of the University through findings and recommendations.
For more information, including available funding, please contact Thom Cooper in Sustainability Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Terri Watkins in AHC Support & Wellbeing (email@example.com).