Finding a home for a social lab in Dudley


CoLab Dudley emerged through work led by Dudley CVS supporting local people to co-create imaginative and enjoyable practical projects in the places they live.

Day to day, the idea is to make it easier for people in Dudley to collaborate with each other through simple everyday acts of making, sharing, creating and learning together. Taking a deeper, longer view, the work is about culture change. It’s about the complexity of our social systems which lead to challenges such as disconnection/loneliness, poverty, rundown town centres, overlooked creative and practical capabilities, an absence of agency and the destruction of our natural world.


CoLab Dudley uses a network approach to help shift systems and nurture a creative culture. Network weaving mobilises more local people to lead and work together for change – in our case to nurture a kinder, more creative and connected High Street in Dudley.


In August 2019 Colab Dudley started seeking a suitable High Street space which could be a dedicated lab space. By February 2020 we had the keys to a space on Dudley High Street, offering a connection to life on the High Street.

This was to be a space which invites imagining. A space for provocations, where artists, poets, designers and dreamers offer glimpses of what is possible. A place where local people come together to design and run experiments, projects and creative interventions. A space where social enterprises are supported to grow. A place where learning takes place collectively and is shared with everyone.

We convened local doers and creatives for an initial co-design session, building on the interests, talents, skills and knowledge flowing from both new and emerging Collective members, and local doers.

Co-designing the lab space was an opportunity for collective members to work together, share their diverse knowledges, and plan for action.

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