Overview

I’m an experienced researcher, project manager and facilitator. My focus is on delivering investigations, events and knowledge exchange that raise our cultural and organisational responses to the predicaments of environmental and climate change.

I’ve worked on these issues for over 25 years – helping public, private and non-profit organisations large and small to improve their environmental performance, society’s resilience to the impacts of a changing climate and our understanding of what is possible, and needed.

I bring both an academic breadth and a practical focus to my work, with postgraduate qualifications that span science, social science and humanities.

I’ve been freelance since 2011, working with amazing people in a range of charities, research bodies, partnerships and creative endeavours. In 2017, in parallel with my main work, I set up ClimateCultures as a free, online platform for artists, curators and researchers.

Values

Some common threads run through all my work:

  • curiosity for how our environmental relationships can work better;
  • understanding of the problems we experience when they don’t;
  • passion for engaging others in what they can do and how they can benefit;
  • drive to generate and share knowledge and successes;
  • commitment to deliver benefits for people and environment.

Role

Bringing together people, ideas, possibilities

In my freelance work – as in my ClimateCultures initiative or in previous roles in local, regional and national programmes – my successes have centred on bringing together diverse sets of people, perspectives and interests to create new ways forward on environmental and climate change.

Whether as sole contractor or in collaboration with other freelancers or working closely with in-house teams, I bring this inclusive approach to each new role, which could be to:

  • facilitate constructive dialogue through events, interviews and discussions;
  • investigate problems, successes and new opportunities using a range of complementary research approaches;
  • build effective knowledge exchange processes, drawing on online or ‘in person’ brokering, networking or partnership-building approaches;
  • manage bespoke projects to pilot and deliver positive impact, including design, funding, marketing, recruitment, supplier and budget control, delivery, evaluation and reporting requirements, as required.

Background

After 20 years developing and delivering successful projects and programmes for a range of organisations, I went freelance in 2011.

My freelance work (you can find out more in ‘Examples’) builds on a successful track record in various roles bringing together people and organisations to work across sectors and disciplines. These included:

UK Climate Impacts Programme (Oxford University) – delivering key knowledge exchange between new academic research, public policy and professional or commercial activities.

Exeter University – assessing the scope for new Masters-level teaching on climate change and the changing needs of students and employers.

Climate South East – managing the rapidly growing programmes of a new regional partnership, engaging public, private and non-profit sectors in adaptation priorities in a changing climate.

Southampton Environment Centre – devising and delivering events, training, audits, networking and guidance to support small businesses in reducing energy, waste and pollution.

You can find out more about these roles at my LinkedIn page.

My breadth of experience is supported by the scope of my academic training, gained through

an MA in Climate Change, focusing on cultural geographies of this complex phenomenon,

an MSc in Policy Studies, which broadened my environmental specialisms into their social contexts;

a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Environmental Practice, which provided the solid foundation in environmental science, policy and practice which has shaped my career.

This path has helped me to gain understanding, research skills and experience in science, social science and humanities approaches. My original BSc was in Physics (and I have an MSc in Astronomy – but that’s a story for another time! Maybe over a beer).

Examples

I work with a range of clients – including national charities, a multi-sectoral research programme, regional stakeholder partnerships, specialist sustainability service providers, creative practitioners and others – to:

Engage artists and experts on the creative responses to climate change:

  • managing events for a diverse mix of artists and professionals in different artistic sectors, with leading sustainability experts;
  • organising intensive summits for writers and climate change experts to come together for discussions, workshops, creative challenges, networking and entertainment;
  • supporting delivery of commissions for new creative work, including in design of the brief, processing applications, serving on the judging panels, and delivery of a pdf anthology of the final work;
  • chairing an authors’ discussion panel on ‘writing climate change’ at the 2017 Hay Literary Festival.

Investigate experiences on collaborative research on complex problems, uncovering both pitfalls and success factors:

  • interviewing researchers and stakeholders across interdisciplinary research projects on complex challenges;
  • helping develop clear recommendations for project designers, funders and participants as research environments become increasingly focused on engaging multiple sectors and delivering meaningful impact.

Explore local environmental knowledge, imagination and humanities-based approaches as complementary to expert scientific and professional knowledge, reducing risks of conflict:

  • devising and piloting workshops to test ways to engage different forms of knowledge of local environmental change;
  • adapting research from an academic-practitioner network and other social science and humanities approaches to help local teams and partner organisations explore the places they manage through different perspectives;
  • using imaginative historic timelines, defamiliarising and reinterpreting ‘expert’ language, and storyboarding future scenarios to develop insights and dialogues that can open up new possibilities with communities, interest groups and visitors.

Advise on building impactful researcher-stakeholder dialogue to promote adaptation responses to climate change:

  • investigating evolving knowledge exchange and mobilisation practices;
  • identifying new opportunities for networks to keep abreast of, make use of and help shape the rapidly growing volume of academic research into climate change impacts and adaptation.

Run successful and enjoyable consultation events involving multiple perspectives:

  • facilitating breakout groups and exercises to bring diverse expertise, perspectives and interests into the room;
  • ensuring a safe and trusted environment for all voices to contribute and be respected.

With a recent focus on cultural responses to our environmental and climate change predicaments, I have launched ClimateCultures as a free online platform to explore and inspire ‘creative conversations for the Anthropocene’:

  • surveying a large and diverse network of artists, curators and researchers to assess their interest, what they would need and how they might engage with the site, and researching other sites and groups;
  • designing and creating features and content for the new site, launching in March 2017;
  • recruiting a growing community of members and developing content with them through posts, a Book Club and a series of creative contributions to a unique feature, A History of the Anthropocene in 50 Objects;
  • continuing to contribute my own content, including reviews of books and events, and experience from my freelance and other work.

I manage ClimateCultures alongside my freelance work, seeing these as a dialogue between complementary activities, and adding a new dimension to the support I offer.