Dovetails is a co-design project, run between two community groups; Beamish Museum's Men's Group, and Kids Kabin in Cowgate.
Dovetails was run through Centre for Digital Citizens  and allowed us to explore citizenship through the lenses of craft and personhood, asking what it means to use creative skills to improve the lives of other people in our communities.
Working over 10 weeks, I led the project with the two groups, supported by the amazing staff and volunteers at both organisations, as well as a fantastic interdisciplinary research team.
We explored the idea of reciprocal making, building acts of citizenship through gift-giving, and creativity as an act of care. At the end of the project, each object participants designed and made was given to the other group, to support their ongoing practice.
You can find out more about the project on The Ageless Citizen, this research was funded by EPSRC.
Below is a short documentary film (15 minutes), demonstrating the work by participants in the project.

The groups meeting for the first time at Beamish Image Credit: Jill Brewster

Publications related to this project:
Dovetails: Personhood, Citizenship, and Craft between Children and Older Adults. Collingham, H., Wallace, J., Brewster, J., Whittingham, R., Prost, S., Marshall, J., Benson, W., & Kindleysides, M., 2024. Design for Health Journal. Taylor & Francis.
Co-Creating a Virtuous Cycle: Fostering Citizenship-Alliances through Making and Gifting Collingham, H., Wallace, J., Brewster, J., Whittingham, R., Prost, S., Marshall, J., Benson, W., & Kindleysides, M. (2022). In Participatory Design Conference. Newcastle University. ACM.
Thank you to all the members of Kids Kabin Cowgate and Beamish Museum’s Mens Groups, their friends and families and all the staff working behind the scenes to support this project.
Beamish Health and Wellbeing Team: Michelle Kindleysides, John Altoft, Paddy Clough, Ian Bean, Simon Harrison
Kids Kabin Cowgate Team: Will Benson, Colin Ridley, Jude Billate, Tyler Reese, Yurery Marin, Stephanie Beckman
Design Research Team: Jill Brewster, Rickard Whittingham, Sebastian Prost, Jayne Wallace, Justin Marshall
Northumbria University Technician: Johnny Hayes 
Music by: Simon Passmore
Research funded by EPSRC, part of Centre for Digital Citizens project code EP/T022582/1.
Dovetails projects, by row: 1. FlexiGames 2. Tambour Door Cabinet 3. Our Lucky Shelves 4. Garden Bench.
Lucky describing and prototyping his idea, building a rough 1:1 model, designing the legs, building the final piece, CAD drawings, finishing work, meeting the Men’s Group at Beamish, the finished piece, and the name plate made in Lucky’s honour reading: ‘Our Lucky Shelves’
Fred observing sessions, singing with Joe, holding wood for Les, wafting away dust, sanding, carving, finishing, and assembling the Tambour Cabinet.
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