Place Category: Education & Training
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- Social Impact Declaration
- Social Impact Statements
Ravensbourne is an innovative, industry-focused university located in the heart of London.
We’re champions of creativity and collaboration, dedicated to giving our learners the specialist skills and opportunities they need for outstanding careers in digital media and design. We encourage creativity and enterprise in our students and staff and champion the creative exploitation of digital technologies in design and communications.
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Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated June 2020
1) What are the main social differences you have aimed to make (or supported)?
Ravensbourne is a specialist creative university, designed for industry with a mission to develop people, ideas and innovation, in collaboration with industry.
Our vision is that:
- We will influence the world through creativity and technology in learning, research and business.
- We will inspire a highly diverse range of people, valuable to and valued by the world beyond university.
- We will innovate as a resilient, agile and future-facing organisation, to extend our reach and relevance.
Ravensbourne primary social objective is to be an impactful creative educational provider.
The creative industries continue to be an area of significant growth within the UK economy. Ravensbourne provides a provocative, dynamic learning environment where students are challenged to become visionary professionals of the future equipped with the mindsets and skillsets to succeed. Ravensbourne has been successful in this mission with a strong reputation record in graduate employability and business creation in the creative sector. In our last Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (2018), 96.4% of our graduates were in employment or further study, six months after graduating. However, Ravensbourne has also long recognized its broader social purpose and consciously seeks to drive social innovation and impact in ways which go beyond the success of its graduates.
One of Ravensbourne’s values is inclusivity. We take pride in a culture that anticipates, supports and celebrates equality of opportunity. Reflecting the diversity of our local community, we are proactive and holistic in our approach to promoting social mobility, internationalisation, and inclusion, enabling change beyond Ravensbourne, to the socio-economic and ethnic
profile of practitioners in the creative industries.
Ravensbourne has long been committed to widening access to its educational opportunities and to enabling change beyond Ravensbourne, in the diversity and socio-economic profile of practitioners in the creative industries. This commitment has been renewed in our new Strategy (2018-25) which states our ambition ‘to be an exemplar for social mobility, diversity and equality of opportunity in higher education, ensuring every student is able to succeed whatever their background’ (Aim 3).
The Ravensbourne educational experience also seeks to go beyond a narrow or instrumental focus on employment outcomes. We are interested in ‘providing students and graduates with a competitive advantage through a learning experience where the individual thrives, disciplines evolve, education engages industry, purpose meets practice, and creativity meets technology’ (Aim 2). Ravensbourne seeks to ‘ensure the holistic development of our students, giving them the life-skills and resilience to succeed’ (obj 2.2). This delivered through the five principles of the Mindsets and Skillsets Manifesto which now underpin Ravensbourne’s undergraduate progammes (see 2.1 below).
Alongside its core educational focus, Ravensbourne has long had a wider commitment to social innovation and this is also explicit in our 2018-25 Strategy. Social responsibility is one of the key behaviours which the University commits to in that plan and expects of its staff (the others being resilience, collaboration, connectedness and courage). We seek to ‘cultivate an environment where everyone can flourish and where individuals are enabled to work and create to their fullest potential, celebrating the range of talents, qualities and cultures of those who form our community’.
Ravensbourne understands that universities have wider impact on society and benefit the local economy and social character of their locations. Aim 5 of the 2018-25 Strategy (Placemaking, the creative industries and wider society) sets out many of Ravensbourne’s wider social objectives. We will ‘strive to do things that are compelling to society, whether in our academic provision or our industry collaboration, and be open to sharing our expertise for the greater good, in complementary partnerships with other educational organisations’ (obj.5.5). Another objective is to ‘ contribute to developing a local community which is creative, innovative, diverse and prosperous, including as a key partner in the Design District’ (Obj. 52).
Ravensbourne’s commitment to inclusivity and social mobility and to changing the DNA of the creative industries is explicit in its strategic objectives. We want to ‘celebrate, maintain and improve our diversity profile, striving to reflect the diversity of our locality in our own population’. (Aim 3, Obj. 1).
The lack of diversity in the creative and media industries sector has been noted by organisations such as the Creative Industries Federations and Skillset. DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates: Employment (2016) and Trade (2015) showed that although the creative sector had amongst the strongest area of growth in the UK economy, only 11% of jobs in the creative economy are filled by BME workers and women are unrepresented significantly in certain sectors such as the games industry.
2) What actions have you taken to deliver the aims described above?
Ravensbourne has invested year on year in a strong programme of outreach specifically to target school pupils in areas of low progression to higher education and communities less likely to progress into the creative disciplines.
There is an annual programme of school visits and talks aimed at students in year 10 to 12 to interest them in our disciplines. This is followed up with specific ‘first intervention’ talks with year 12 students and a follow on mentoring programmes in classrooms. The aim of the Mentor programme is also to inspire, encourage and support mentees to continue their creative arts education into Higher Education and expose them to career opportunities in the creative industries.
At half-term, Easter and over the summer, Ravensbourne runs exciting workshops and projects aimed to inspire school students and develop their skills. These cover areas such as Illustration, Design (Graphics, 3D, Advertising and other subject areas), and media production and technology. Ravensbourne student ambassadors are extensively involved in these projects. Often we work with partners to make these projects happen in areas of social deprivation (such as ‘The Link’, a gaming project in Thamesmead covering Games Design, UX/UI, Illustration with the Peabody Trust). Ravensbourne provides free UCAS support including mock interview workshops, portfolio & showreel surgeries, and application drop in sessions. Ravensbourne collaborates with other higher education providers for instance through National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP) providing subject workshops in classrooms, mentoring and holiday schools. We launched a specific programme to focus on mature learners on Access to Higher Education courses and young people from low participation neighbourhoods through the NCOP programme.
In our community, we have supported access for mature learners via our Greenwich Digital Skills (GDS) local collaboration. Since 2012 Ravensbourne has hosted the annual Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) Post 16 Progression Fair. Year 11 students from Greenwich schools attend the fair to explore post 16 options available to them, with approximately 2000 students attending each year. RBG have conducted an evaluation following the events and have found that participants were encouraged to consider Higher Education options after attending the Progression Fair at Ravensbourne. We deliver bespoke workshops to local primary schools in Greenwich, usually 2-3 a year; for example, workshops in Augmented and Mixed Reality for games and films. More general outreach projects have included work with young offenders at nearby HMP ISIS.
Our longer term aim is to work with local schools and colleges to support curriculum development in our subject areas and establish a teacher CPD offer.
Curriculum and Delivery
Ravensbourne courses have always taken on community projects and ‘live’ briefs which tackle social and environmental challenges as part of their approach to learning and teaching. Examples include Ravensbourne’s Screen School students who have since 2013 working with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) annually to stream productions such as Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet to schools simultaneously in the UK and overseas reaching 149,000 pupils last year.
In the Design School, Architecture programme students with a competition brief set by young people and family support service, World of Hope, to design an orphanage for primary and secondary children, situated in Osun State, Nigeria. Product Design students. BA (Hons) Motion Graphics created a short film to support the campaign ‘Simply Say’ which is aimed at encouraging the support networks of those who have suffered a miscarriage to consider how they might best comfort someone who has been through the experience. BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Design students have been working on a professional brief for the Thames Skills Academy, a training association supported by Transport for London and the Port of London Authority.
Most recently, Students from the Architecture programme area were challenged by the Southwark community to design and build a garden for people affected by knife crime to reflect, and to escape day-to-day societal problems earlier this year, with a winning concept chosen in June. The garden was realised and is open to public. At postgraduate level, our MDes course runs projects such as a ‘live’ brief from the Young Foundation on tackling Homelessness in London using both service design and social innovation determinants to reshape housing — emphasis on prevention, not intervention.
With the implementation of the Mindsets and Skillsets undergraduate curriculum, this approach is being intensified and systematised. In line with the Advocate principle, we are ensuring that we ‘enable our students and alumni to be advocates in a changing world: socially responsible, able to tackle real-world problems and move from the individual to the collective’ (Aim 2: Student Experience). BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Promotion as worked with the Ellen McArthur Foundation to introduce a new ‘Manufacturing and Sustainability’ unit in this academic year. It is well known that historically, the fashion industry has been one of the worst in terms of carbon footprint, ecological damage and social sustainability, this unit will our students to learn about the circular economy and implement this knowledge in their professional practice.
Electives introduced across all our undergraduate programmes address social issues, real world problems or engaging with Third Sector organisations include:
- ‘Time’s UP’, a co-creation brief with the eponymous social activist movement which seeks to end sexual harassment, inequality and discrimination in the workplace
- ‘Give a F**k’ a project with the Creative Conscience organisation around the power of creative thinking to build positive impact.
- ‘Period Poverty’ a brief around the impact menstrual hygiene on disadvantaged groups
- ‘Positively changing the face of Mental Health’ also with Creative Conscious
- a live brief related to Plumstead Regeneration Project.
- Untold Stories: A queer perspective on history, culture and creativity
- A project with ‘Little Inventors’ which seeks to
Ravensbourne has put in place a strong Student Services to support the diversity of our student body and the challenges they meet during their studies. There are a range of information, advice, support and guidance provision including:
- Accommodation information
- Welfare and wellbeing support
- Disability guidance and support
- Money Advice and financial capability support
- Study skills and specialist study tutorials
- Careers advice and guidance
- CV advice
- Work placements and internships
- Employment and job opportunities
Ravensbourne was shortlisted for the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs) for ‘outstanding student services team’ in 2016.
Incubation programme supports and nurtures Ravensbourne graduates and local start ups to develop innovative, digital and creative ideas and commercialise them. In addition to providing startups with hot desking and access to Ravensbourne’s cutting edge facilities, specialist business advice and support is provided. To date, the initiative has supported over 150 businesses to develop in the creative industries. Recently fashion design graduate, Zekaryas Solomon was ‘highly commended’ in the Online Business Award category of the Best of Royal Greenwich Business Awards. Ravensbourne’s Head of Enterprise and Innovation, Ha Smith, was shortlisted for the Business Champion Award in recognition of her work developing the Incubation programme.
Further to this, award-winning video production company Biscuit Bunker, which was founded by Ravensbourne alumni Tom Neish and Elliott Hickey, were shortlisted in the Young Entrepreneur Award category, and Ravensbourne’s Head of Enterprise and Innovation, Ha Smith, was shortlisted for the Business Champion Award in recognition of her work developing the Incubation programme.
3) What has changed, what specific outcomes and benefits have been realised as a result of the above actions?
According to e Equality Challenge Unit data, Ravensbourne exceeds the proportion of UK domiciled ethnic minority students from England who study in London (32%) and for Ravensbourne's locality (just over 30% of the population of the Royal Borough of Greenwich are from a BME background according to 2011 Census Data while across London as a whole there were 39%). This is significantly above the national average for HE in England (25%).
At 8.3%, the proportion of students coming from low participation neighbourhoods (LPNs) as defined by our last HESA Performance Indicators (2016/17) is above our locally adjusted benchmark ( 7.7) and places us 7th in London for widening participation.
Over 95% of our students come from state schools and nearly 40% of our students are from NS-SEC classes 4, 5, 6 and 7. Nearly, a third of our students come from families with a residual income less than £15,000 and a further 10% from families with a residual income less than £25,000. Ravensbourne is also more diverse than the pattern in its two main subject areas (Mass Communications 20% and Creative Arts 15%).
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
- Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) data
- Industry Boards
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
- Ravensbourne enrolls around 2800 students a year across all its educational provision
- Over 400 students a year graduate from Ravensbourne’s undergraduate programmes
- 150 businesses have been incubated
- Ravensbourne Bursary or Scholarship (depending on year of study) - 669
- Progression Award - 110
- Care Leaver Bursary - 3
6) What examples can you provide of a typical service user experience, that help illustrate the benefits they have experienced as a result of your actions?
BA (Hons) Design Products student Giuseppe Baidoo awarded the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award for his sustainable drinks company, OOZE Drinks. to develop the company, which reduces waste by saving misshapen and surplus fruits and transforming them into sustainable drinks.
7) What other social benefits have you contributed that go beyond your core delivery activities (ones that are completely unrelated to your main services)?
Work with Accumulate, a social enterprise charity, supporting young homeless people in London. Accumulate and Ravensbourne work in collaboration to deliver workshops.
This year, 2017-2018, Ravensbourne students and staff have helped to deliver the following creative workshop courses to Accumulate participants covering Photography, Textiles printing, Magazine production illustration, writing and visual imagery.
17 people of the 20 Accumulate participants attended the Access Application workshop. It is envisioned that 10 will complete the application process. Accumulate also fundraises for scholarships for its participants to be able to continue their creative education at Ravensbourne and progress onto the Access to HE Diploma course in Design and Digital Media.
In 2018 there are 3 funded scholarships to Ravensbourne, plus a study skills course for all those coming from Accumulate to Ravensbourne, including those who are under 23 and fit the “no cost” category.
8) What social and environmental benefits have you created from internal operational policies and actions?
- Employee Support and Assistance with Health Assured
- Staff Social Committee
- Ravensbourne is certified as a Disability Confident Employer by Disability Confident, a government approved scheme which helps employers recruit and retain people with disabilities and health conditions.
- Stone Wall employer