A social lab in Dudley town centre

At the heart of our work is relationships. The friendships formed when care is taken to welcome everyone. The joy people experience in passing on knowledge and practical skills to others. Connections between local creatives who make, perform, exhibit and trade in spaces which are open to all. Support and encouragement shared between emerging and established social entrepreneurs making change in the same town. Our powerful relationships with place and the natural world. A collective sense of possibility nurtured when we turn ideas into experiments and learn together.

Inspiration & Innovation

We introduce imaginative ideas which open people’s minds to their potential to create change with resources that are already around them. We catalyse, co-design and support a multitude of small scale, interconnected social innovations which build relationships and relate to place. 

Place & Spaces

We are cultivating collaborative behaviours so that everyone can play a part in shaping the future of the High Street and St Thomas Quarter in Dudley. We work with people and organisations to create and make welcoming, functional spaces freely available for building relationships, testing ideas and incubating social enterprises. 

Design & Detectorism

We share simple design processes and tools with people who want to test ideas. We invite people to research and learn by becoming detectorists.

Lab Notes

We open up our work to new ideas, inputs and collaborations by working out loud. Our Lab Notes on Medium contribute to an open learning culture and form part of our active research process. 


Detectorism Insights

Detectorism Insights #1 is an in-depth collection of stories and practice-based evidence gathered during our ambitious first 6 months of lab experiments in Dudley Town Centre. 

Our publication shares the collective thoughts, observations, reflections and evidence of our lab team and much larger group of passionate citizens – doers, creatives, makers, encouragers and sharers.

Emergent Cultures

Emergent Cultures is our work on new ways of thinking and doing in Dudley with the Big Lottery Fund. It builds on 7 years of experimentation and learning by hundreds of people of Dudley.

We have evidence that our lab approach is working and sought a funding partner to help sustain and spread our work. The funding is not for us to provide services but to support the skills, approach, ideas, spaces and lab team that help connect people in Dudley.

Do Fest Dudley

This 3 day festival curated by CoLab Dudley was designed to provide insights into ways we can nurture a participatory culture in Dudley and offer a taste of what’s possible. Do Fest was co-created with 72 local people in under 3 months. 

241 doers of all ages took part to learn, to connect with others, to get ideas, to create and to be inspired. 

Play Video
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Share Fest

Do Fest Dudley surfaced a huge appetite for creative, hands-on making, learning and sharing across Dudley borough. We wondered what it would be like to take this idea out to more places. 

Co-created by 50 local people in under 5 weeks, Share Fest saw the launch of Repair Cafe Dudley, Trade School Halesowen, and the first ever performance of an emerging community-based arts organisation which was catalysed by Do Fest Dudley.