Creating an Advocate Brief

As a Third Term project advocate, your role will be to pose a challenge to our students, to provide a little context – and hopefully to celebrate their responses with us at the end! We’ve tried to make sure that being an advocate isn’t a burdensome process.

What makes a good challenge?

Challenges should be authentic, challenging but deliverable. Students are unlikely to be able to create finished final products, but they can create pitches, prototypes and plans.

We’re also keen to stress that we don’t see these challenges as some kind of elite showcase; they’re not a competition for the most confident (often socially advantages students) to shine. They are meant to be something a bit more democratic and inclusive. They are an opportunity to nurture students to feel comfortable in responding independently and creatively to genuine external problems. Along the way, we hope that some solutions with actual utility emerge – but this is by no means the first priority.

Finally, the challenges we set to students beg divergent and interdisciplinary responses. Our students align themselves to particular thematic strands, which give them some conceptual grounding (and some specialist applied skills). However you don’t really need to worry about this. There’s no neat correspondence between these pathways and the challenges – students will decide whether they are positioned to fulfil it for themselves. In practice, this means that the student could be responding using anything from a rudimentary understanding of coding, to the foundations of planning for learning in order to meet your brief.

Creating an advocate video.

The core resource for a third term challenge is an two-to-three minute advocate video inviting students to respond to your project. The function of this resource is critical to the programme. It gives a human face external to the work students are completing.

There’s no set structure for the video, but loosely it might include;

  • A really quick couple of sentences introducing yourself, and the organisation you work for
  • A clear articulation of the challenge you are setting
  • The significance of that challenge to the city, region, or beyond
  • Any quick tips or parameters you’d like to highlight

Production of these videos doesn’t have to be fancy – a direct recording to a webcam or mobile phone is absolutely fine (in fact, we’re probably going to rock this aesthetic in these Covid times). Also, don’t feel you need to get it right in one take. If you make a mistake, pause and start again at the beginning of the last chunk … if you send us your recording ‘bloopers and all’ we can edit it down into something beautiful.

Adding supporting resources.

Beyond the advocate video, we like to provide students with at least some signposts to places they can find more information, or the context they need to respond to the challenge. The extent to this can and will vary wildly from challenge to challenge – the rule of thumb is really ‘have they got enough to go on’. It is helpful, though, if you can make some suggestions as you’ll have the expert perspective on this.