AYCH Reimagine Your City, 

Gijón, Spain

AYCH: Reimagine Your City, Gijón, Spain, April 2019

I am still completely thrilled to have been selected to take part in my first international team event as part of the AYCH project which I was chosen for after applying online. Focusing on sustainability surrounding design, architecture, social responsibility and what this will look like in the future, the 3 day event was jam packed with meeting new people from Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Portugal and France. I feel particularly lucky to be a part of the Plymouth crew who have infectious energy, enthusiasm and humour which really invigorated the trip, which was very mentally demanding, but fun, rewarding and eye opening to the amazing ideas behind the future of sustainability.

Located in the North of Spain, Gijón is a city known for its maritime heritage and the old fishermen’s quarter of Cimadevilla. After a few busy days in London I was really glad to be back by the coast, in a hotel room overlooking the ocean - a real treat. The first night presented local food and drink from the region, cider being one of their most famous drinks, and we got to know the faces we would be spending time with for the next few days.

On the first day we were welcomed and took part in an ice breaker workshop entitled ‘Bright Mirror’ which encouraged us to develop story lines of how cities of the future might be effected by pollution and politics. The second day we took part in workshops we’d individually chosen - for me Creating Spaces, Eco Design and Digital Fabrication.

The final and most important day - after two nights of socializing - saw us put to the test after being allocated random teammates for a 6 hour intense ‘hackathon’ event. In teams it was our job to come up with a prototype of a problem solving idea that increased awareness of sustainability within a city. Considering aesthetic, purpose, materials and logistics, we worked against the clock to ensure we were ready to present our idea to the panel - which included members of the Gijón city council - at the end of the day. My team focused on making recycling organic household waste more accessible whilst educating the younger generation on its benefits. We designed an app that recognized different types of waste, suggested its best disposal and rewarded anyone who followed through. The waste was then collected throughout the city and throughout time supported a living structure that further raised awareness in the area. Of course there were a few bugs left to solve in the system but we presented and received positive feedback. Unfortunately not one of the teams to make it to the semi-final, we were able to relax whilst we watched 6 final presentations and the winning ‘eggy’ egg chair project which raised awareness for climate change.

Not only was the time in Gijón incredibly inspiring, it was a real treat to meet so many new, influential people with experience in different backgrounds all working towards the same goal - protection of the planet and a more sustainable future. I am now an ambassador for the AYCH project and am really looking forward to future events, workshops and meetings to further my knowledge and connections.


Thank you so much to all the AYCH partners for the opportunity!