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  • The Glasshouse

Enabling Community-Based Leadership in Design: Sustainable Development of Historic Faith Buildings

Mobilise the power of communities to re-imagine and shape their place.

306 enrolled on this course

A meeting inside a church which was transformed through community led design

Enabling Community-Based Leadership in Design: Sustainable Development of Historic Faith Buildings

306 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

Learn how to enable communities to lead design initiatives in places of worship

Apart from being special places where people practise their faith, places of worship play an important role for the wider community by providing pastoral care and much-needed local services.

Community-based design initiatives can enhance the value of these places as a sustainable resource for multiple communities.

This five-week course develops practical knowledge to empower you to help others to discover the potential of their historic faith buildings, and develop a community-led design initiative.

By the end of this course, you will know how to develop and guide community initiatives that adapt, re-imagine, and revitalise historic faith buildings.

Take an in-depth look at design and leadership in communities

The course starts with an introduction to the project management, and value, of community-based design initiatives.

You’ll unpack how communities can overcome their own barriers and effectively communicate with all involved professionals.

Apply the principles you learn to foster community engagement

Once you’ve learnt the theory on successful community-led design, you’ll start exploring how to make these projects happen.

You’ll see how these groups can develop strategies and tools to engage other people or organisations in co-creating their visions for community upliftment through historic building preservation.

Discover the steps for supporting and leading community initiatives

Developed as a collaboration between the Glass-House Community Led Design, Open University, and CS-DC, you can trust this course to give a comprehensive introduction to community-based design projects.

You’ll also earn a FutureLearn training certificate and create a portfolio.

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What topics will you cover?

Below is a breakdown of what you’ll be doing each week of the course:

  • Week 1: What is community-led design?: the meaning and value of community leadership in design
  • Week 2: Developing a design language: how communities can explore key themes in the design of a place, and how they can develop their own design language and vision in order to improve communication with other professionals
  • Week 3: Instigating community leadership in design: how communities can overcome their own barriers and develop the passion, abilities, and capacity to lead design initiatives
  • Week 4: Engaging communities in design: how communities can develop the abilities, strategies and tools to engage other people, community groups, or organisations in co-creating value for their initiatives
  • Week 5: Consolidating all the previous weeks’ learning: you’ll create a record of your learning journey, and the elements of the course that you’d use in your own work context

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain community-led design and its value and role in your own context of work
  • Engage with and enable a community to develop their design language to shape and share their vision with others
  • Engage and support a community to develop community engagement strategies and activities
  • Create spaces that mobilise and guide people to lead design initiatives

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in developing community-based design initiatives, as well as their own leadership skills. Local groups, designers, funders, and support organisations will all benefit.

What software or tools do you need?

To take part in this course you need a standard computer with internet access

Who will you learn with?

Katerina is a Senior Lecturer in Design at the Open University, currently working in the area of co-design and creative citizenship.

Professor of Citizen-led Design at The Open University and professional architect with expertise on place-making that fosters leadership in design

Sophia de Sousa is Chief Executive at The Glass-House Community Led Design, a national UK charity that connects people with the design of their places, and design with people.

Lecture in Design at The Open University and registered architect, with an interest in enabling transformative participation for community-led placemaking.

I am Professor of Complexity Science and Design at the Open University & Deputy President of the UNESCO UniTwin Complex Systems Digital Campus. I am interested in interdisciplinary science for policy.

Who developed the course?

UNESCO UNITWIN Complex Systems Digital Campus

The Complex Systems Digital Campus is an international network of individuals and institutions working together to promote research and education in complex systems science and in integrative sciences

The Glass-house

For two decades, The Glass-House has enabled people and organisations to work collaboratively to improve the design of their buildings, open spaces, homes, and neighbourhoods. We engage with live projects providing hands-on support, training and practical resources and constantly seek to experiment, innovate and inspire new thinking and debate through action research, events and knowledge exchange.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 18 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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