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Co.LAB (Collaborative Laboratory) is an innovative teaching module combining undergraduate and postgraduate students together working on various projects.

Co.LAB is a vehicle for a range of projects that seek to directly engage you with the dynamic context of the city. It is an opportunity for you to work with individuals and groups outside of your discipline area, engaging in a broad creative network.


The programme integrates undergraduate and postgraduate students from both architecture and landscape disciplines to produce a dynamic and cross-disciplined cohort as well as encourage peer-to-peer learning across the various groups.

Typically, each project is led by an academic tutor and an external client/group in a joint role. Projects take place largely offsite depending on the partner course or group, and all projects will be underpinned by collaboration, invention, physical production, using manual and digital ‘crafts’ to generate objects, spaces and events.

Co.LAB contributes to the development of distinct employability, professional and transferable skills, including team-work, project planning, entrepreneurialism, negotiation and understanding of complimentary practices.

Recent projects


The Young REP

Courses: BA (Hons) Architecture, BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design, MArch Architecture
Project includes: Event, set design, multi-media work

The Young REP is Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s youth theatre company, working with young people across Birmingham and the West Midlands. Young people work with professional theatre-makers to create and produce a broad range of high quality theatrical experiences.

This year’s production was Antigone, and performed at AE Harris – a metalworks factory that supports theatre performances including company Stan’s Cafe.

Co.LAB produced initial concepts, working in groups that focussed on one of four acts in the play. Ideas were then developed with the REP production team for the performance. Working with a fabric structure on stage, a standalone tree prop and a video projection of a film specifically produced by Co.LAB, the set enhances the tragedy and emotions of the play in an immersive theatrical setting.

The play sold out over four nights.

100 stories - Colab

100 Stories
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) is the largest civic museum in the country, with an unrivalled collection of art and historic artefacts including the Staffordshire Hoard and the Pre-Raphaelites collection. Housed in a Grade II* listed building in the heart of the city, it houses over 40 separate galleries across two buildings along a complex arrangement of spaces.

The Trust is undergoing a major refurbishment to update the building. To coincide with this, BMAG are also undergoing a major restructuring of all of its galleries. Its emphasis is to based the collection around 100 stories. New research in museum design states that visitors absorb more information based around human narratives (stories) – using the artefacts in a museum’s collection to reveal aspects of the main protagonists or events in that story.

We use this conceptual idea as a design driver for our students, taking five of these stories and developing display structures to exhibit the artefacts to retell the stories to a public audience. Part of the process includes engagement with various community members and documenting oral histories to help enrich the design process.

Engage with Co.LAB

You can keep up-to-date with Co.Lab projects through:

Co.LAB website

Co.LAB Twitter

Co.LAB Instagram