Elspeth McBain – Chief Executive of Lighthouse Poole

“The inspiration for MAP came back 2010 when we had a first conversation around the place of a building in its community and the positioning of an Arts centre in its town.  I’m very interested in the building and the sense of what happens within it and how the building itself plays an important part in being able to deliver whatever the function is.

We started having conversations around how we could together with the Architecture department at AUB and it grew from there.

I went and had conversations with the students around what we did and about running a building and how important it is to make sure that the building is fit for purpose because without that, everything else is compromised.

What I was struck by was the brilliance of the thinking around how different ideas could actually transform how you delivered something. So to be able to see that initial conversation then transform itself into a whole range of different ideas which were then presented most beautifully
into a fabulous exhibition that became a public exhibition.  That started us thinking about the whole development of a town centre and the role of culture within it and the buildings that deliver that culture. So it’s become a two-way conversation. I think it’s allowed both organisations to have significant benefit.

So, for us, the benefit has been that we get to have conversations with the students who are the new thinkers –  and they keep us on our toes in terms of ideas and new inspiration. We have been really inspired by some of the things that they’ve come up with.

We worked much more closely with this group – to the point of bringing them into our design team meetings for our capital project. They were able to sit and observe us and a client and also all of the design team working to the brief of the client.

So from those original meetings,  we then asked the architects if the students could go and visit their practice and subsequent to that, they’ve taken them on in a mentoring role.

I’ve just been absolutely amazed by how dedicated, but also how clever they all are. I really like that marriage of intellectual thinking with Arts appreciation, but also with a practical head that says ‘can it be done?’
MAP has been a surprisingly fabulous collaboration. And I’m saying ‘surprising’ because I did imagine when I first went and had the conversation, that I would be collaborating with the drama department, and it’s been the Architecture students that we have the detailed connection with.”