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General Questions

What does the name 'shopfront' mean? 

The name "Shopfront" originates from European Shopfronts - or Science Shops - which traditionally sought to connect university knowledge with local citizens. The concept has since developed to recognise the importance of local knowledge, and therefore the contemporary shopfront is much more of a complex, mutually benificial exchange than a one directional service. The UTS Shopfront is a member of the International Science Shop Network. 

How is Shopfront connected with UTS?

We are an official unit within UTS, in the External Engagement Division within the portfolio of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) Professor Bill Purcell. We work across all of the UTS faculties.

I was involved in the Shopfront in the past, how do I get back in touch?

We'd love to hear from you! We are developing opportunities for Alumni to reconnect with our community-engaged work. Please get in touch via the Contact Us page.

Where is your office?

We're on level 20 of UTS Building 1 (the Tower building). If you'd like more detailed directions on how to find us, see our Contact Us page. 


Coursework Projects

Who do you work with?

Shopfront tries to work where we will be having the most impact. This has meant that, over the years, we have prioritised smaller, less funded, community-based organisations on projects that will have lasting impact for the organisation and associated communities. The term community is used broadly to refer to formal community organisations, peak bodies or groups drawn together on an issue or interest.

How do you decide which projects are offered to students?

The three key questions that we ask about when assessing a project is: Does it address an identified need? It is achievable in the timeframe? Do students have/or are learning the right skill set to deliver the project?

What type of projects can students do?

We do a lot of different types of projects across many disciplines and organisations. For some examples of projects we've done in the past, please see our Completed Projects page. However, we try to be flexible and adapt to address community need - if your project is different to those already listed, that's not necessarily a problem! The best way to decide whether your project is suitable is to contact us

How much does it cost?

The program is free.

How do I keep informed projects, deadlines and other Shopfront activities?

Sign up to the Shopfront e-newsletter by sending your contact details here.

How much time will I need to commit to the project?

We recommend that you dedicate two hours a week to your student project. It's likely that this will fluctuate, with a bigger time commitment at the beginning and end of the project, and less time in the middle, but we encourage you to have regular contact with your student or student team and where possible meet regularly.

Do we have to have DGR (charity) status to be involved in a project?

No. We work with a broad array of organisations, that includes both those with DGR and those without DGR status.

Do you do regional or interstate projects?

The student projects are confined to Sydney metropolitan area exceptions will be considered if they are technologically based and not cost prohibitive.

How does Shopfront manage issues around insurance for students?

All students undertaking work as a component of their coursework are covered under the University’s public liability. You may be asked to complete a form depending on the requirements of the subject.  


UTS Students

Is there someone I can talk to about projects?

We'd be happy to answer any questions you have about projects. Please send us an email.

How do I sign up to do a Shopfront project?

Projects are primarily done through coursework subjects, and there is a different process for each subject. There is sometimes an opportunity to work on projects outside of coursework subjects, if the student has relevant skills and capacity to complete the project. Those projects can be seen on our Available Projects page. If you are interested in doing any of these projects, please contact us

I'm doing community based research - how can I become more involved in Shopfront?

Shopfront is very interested in students - and staff - who are conducting community engaged research. We may be able to offer support, either through partnership development of publishing quality work in our Student Monograph Series, or even our Journal, Gateways. Please contact us - we'd love to hear about what you are doing!

How do I work with my community client?

You will be assigned a liaison person within the organisation you will be working with over the course of the project. Part of what makes working on community projects so valuable is the regular contact you have while developing your projects. It's important to remember that your participation has real world consequences, not only in terms of the projects you complete, but also the relationships you build along the way.

How do I keep informed about community projects?

We update available, in progress, and completed projects regularly on our Community Projects page

How will a Shopfront project benefit me? 

Many students talk about their time in Shopfront projects as challenging periods of personal and professional growth. Shopfront projects are widely recognised by graduates as an integral part of their career development. Because projects align with faculty expertise, students who do Shopfront projects learn how to apply their degree-specific knowledge in complex situations. Projects also have real-world outcomes which, as well as having the feel good factor of supporting under-resourced communities, contributes to students' professional portfolios. They can also be a lot of fun!

Can I bring my own idea for a community project?

Unless this project is part of an organisation you have started or are actively involved in managing then: no. An important part of the Shopfront model is ensuring that projects are community directed. While the community sector is underfunded, it is made up of people who are experts in their own communities. Often projects that are started without community consultation don't address the real needs of the community. Please check out the projects on our Available Projects page - they're all community directed!