Read more about Community21 and our approach


Nick Gant

Nick is an award winning, multi-disciplinary designer and published academic whose research and design consultancy impacts on global, industrial companies, international NGOs as well as governing bodies and civic communities in the UK and overseas. He has helped over 50 organisations develop their sustainability and social agendas through design research embodied within tangible and acclaimed products and platforms, spaces and places. He routinely delivers workshops and presentations of research internationally and has been invited to present findings to The Department of Communities and Local Government, The Cabinet Office, The House of Lords, The Rural Commission, The European Institutes of Culture, The British Council and The World Crafts Council.

Nick has exhibited design research outputs at Tate Modern Exhange, The V&A Museum, The Natural History Museum, The Hayward Gallery and Crafts Council Gallery in London and internationally in the US, across Europe, Asia and Australia. His work has featured in press internationally including The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Sunday and Financial Times, The Observer, The Guardian, The Mail and New York Times, ICON, Blueprint, Frame, World of Interiors, New Design, FX, IDFX, Channel 4 and BBC TV and Radio.

He is founder of the social and sustainable design research group that delivers collaborative research projects, consultancy and design programmes in relation to global challenges with partners across the world.

Tanya Dean

Tanya is a materials expert and leads the Polymers and Composites department at The University of Brighton. Nick and Tanya have worked together for over 20 years including projects relating to the social value of materials, valorising waste in the Wiki-Waste-Workshop in South Africa and Indonesia, plastics alternatives and 'Sole Searching'.

Tanya has developed products that consider the social, cultural and industrial value of materials and new opportunities for circular and efficient systems for over 20 years.

Dr Kelly Duggan

Kelly undertook her PhD with us studying the role of digital tools in inclusive, participatory planning and envisioning. This was funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council and was supervised by Nick and Prof Neil Ravenscroft.

Kelly now works at Nesta leading learning experience design in the innovation skills team.

Joe Palmer

Joe's 3D printed model of the town of Lewes generated in Minecraft

Joe is a PhD candidate and director of BlockBuilders social enterprise. Joe worked with us as an undergrad and masters student exploring the role of technology in the engagement of young people in local planning.

Joe (and partner Megan Leckie) have pioneered work on the use of Minecraft in the collaborative envisioning of neighbourhoods by young people. They have received Innovate UK funding and work across the country with developers and communities and community focused groups engaging young people in a range of topics related to the built and natural environment.

Dr Ryan Woodard

Ryan is a leading expert on waste. He has worked with us a number of projects including Wiki-Waste-Workshop in South Africa where he has had an ongoing role in exploring the impact of waste in developing communities.

We are working with Ryan on an ongoing programme of research (Matters) that investigates opportunities for more 'virtuous' circular-economies and how we engage with both the social and material aspects of waste in society and the environment.

Stefano Santilli

Stefano is an established maker and 'materialist'. Stefano worked with us on our festival of local making 'On Our Doorsteps' and The Wiki-Waste-Workshop.

Mathilda Grover

Mathilda studied as an undergrad and now post-grad with us at Brighton and worked on the Matters and Wiki-Waste-Workshop model and also The Grangemead Garden project.

She continues to work with us in Africa helping train communities to valorise waste and form new entrepreneurial and educational opportunities as well as her own endeavours in Myanmar and Asia.

Jim Wilson

Jim is a projects technical manager and has worked with us on many of our creative projects out in the world. He is an accomplished maker, studied on our MA in Sustainable Design at Brighton and has expertise in onsite health and safety.

Ali Reese

Ali studied at undergrad and postgrad with us and participated in a range of projects but has specialised in community engagement. She has recently developed engagement tools in support of generating new insights into the politics and processes of planning around farming. She has worked with the National Trust and several innovative, socially focused business around Brighton.

He she is pictured with Prof Michael Braungart author of Cradle to Cradle at the Wastezone at Ecobuild.

Ed Chason and Jack Scott

Ed and Jack have been helping us with The Grangemead Garden project and working through the summer heat to deliver our maker space and the garden we have 'grown' out of it.

Collaborator: Jonathan Chapman

Jonathan and Nick worked together on the IF:LAB (Inheritable Futures Laboratory) research group that produced several case study projects exploring sustainability in industrial settings. They co-edited and authored Designers, Visionaries and Other Stories (Rutledge 2007).

Jonathan is well-known as a leading thinking in sustainable discourses and author of Emotionally Durable Design.

Skip to:

  • Nick Gant
  • Tanya Dean
  • Dr Kelly Duggan
  • Joe Palmer
  • Dr Ryan Woodard
  • Stefano Santilli
  • Mathilda Grover
  • Jim Wilson
  • Ali Reese
  • Ed Chason and Jack Scott
  • Collaborator: Jonathan Chapman

An overview of Community21

Community21 as a creative agency is also a community of practice consisting of creative researchers and stakeholder organisations addressing issues of the 21st Century (hence the 21!)

Read more


Community21 forms part of a collaborative research project lead by The University of Brighton and Founder Nick Gant. Find out more!

Read more

Community21's toolkit

Practical tools co-designed by communities for communities that engage with a range of 'bottom-up' defined topics

Read more