What if no one raised money for homelessness charities? And what if no one got involved in your neighbourhood? The Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC), part of a UK government initiative, aims to answer some of these questions. As the national centre tasked with delivering the skills and knowledge needed to make better places in which to live, they strive to attract and retain future generations of talented young professionals who can contribute to the making of vibrant and sustainable communities in the future.
Newcastle based new media agency Indigo have recently developed and delivered a number of key elements within the ask: “what if?” project, a national campaign aimed primarily at school and college leavers. This thought provoking and innovative project encourages young people to look into the wide diversity of jobs involved in creating communities where people want to live. By highlighting the huge range of jobs needed from architects and planners, to community workers, housing managers, neighbourhood and social workers, it showcases careers that have a postive impact both on peoples lives and the communities in which they live.
Indigo’s role has been two fold, firstly developing and designing an interactive touch screen display, which made its first appearance at this summers London Careers Fair, in the ask: “what if?” multimedia kiosk.  By blending a number of technologies including illustration, video, and animation, Indigo cleverly created a virtual neighbourhood, reflecting the components of a sustainable community. Ryan Foster, Project Manager at Indigo, commented on the challenge, “There was a huge amount to consider, we needed to reflect in the design a place with open spaces, well connected transport, facilities and amenities. The kind of place where there are good homes, the right sort of shops, lots of jobs and the opportunity to get a good education and learn useful skills.” He adds, “The interface combines the educational aspects of the content with something that is fun, modern in styling and simple to play”.
In the kiosk huge plasmas invited young people to interact with this colourfully animated “town” by simply touching the screen. Encouraging them to explore a range of career options and question what a community would be like without people in key jobs. Who would look after homeless people, plan for open spaces and care for the elderly. Rohan Akers, Events Officer with the ASC said, “Both staff and people attanding the careers fair found the display useful and easy to use. Its visual impact encouraged a huge amount of people to browse around the community and get inspiration, and the feedback was extremely positive”.
Alongside the development of the interface design and the multimedia application, Indigo also filmed the video content for both the interactive display and the ASC web portal. Users can link directly to the filmed content and hear real people talking about the demands, rewards and requirements of their particular job. All in all, a total of 31 professionals were filmed as they went about their daily work at various locations across the UK. The use of this cleverly shot You Tube style footage, spotlights professionals from architects to youth workers and aims to give young people a real insight into a variety of career opportunities available. The clips show people who are passionate about the work they do, speaking in a frank and open manner.
Both the interactive display and the video content will soon be winging their way to career advisors across the country, as part of the campaigns longer-term strategy. Delivered on a USB stick, Indigo has developed a desktop version that also features a vast resource library. PDF case studies expand upon the video content, giving young people further insight into the skills required, salary range and job availability of their preferred career.
To find more about the range of jobs available and “ask: what if” yourself, please visit or check out the Academy for Sustainable Communities at


TAGS : Academy for Sustainable Communities, E-Marketing, Flash Design Newcastle, News, Role Model Video, Touch Screen Kiosk, Video


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