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Practice in action

Participatory insights for the social, economic and environmental change we need.

Working across academia, civil society, business and government providing research insight to support systemic change.

Our Work

Youth Engagement

Young people have an essential role to play in our climate future. We have designed and run a Mock COP for 6th formers to role play international climate negotiations.

City Leap

City Leap will be one of the main ways that decarbonisation of Bristol’s energy and buildings is achieved. We are exploring how City Leap can be an opportunity for increasing democratic accountability.

Inspiring Action

What inspires you to take environmental action? Our City Speaks project is celebrating the actions taken by ordinary Bristol residents, through short films.

Bristol Public Opinion

What do Bristol residents really think about climate change? The first phase of our ongoing investigation showed that Bristolians want bold action from leaders.


We are working with the Cabot Institute for the Environment to share best practice on co-production of knowledge within the University of Bristol.

Bristol School of Commoning

Join us this September for our first 6-week course, for anyone working together with others in your community. Bursaries available.



Change is difficult – systemic shifts even harder. We believe that participation, communication and public-spirited action is critical to respond to the challenges that society faces.


 Our research approach is collaborative and participatory. We co-design our methodologies and work in collaboration with grassroots and community based organisations. Our aim is for knowledge to serve community needs.


The pressing challenges of our day are complex, and require system-informed solutions. How do we address climate change, housing, rural-urban relationships, inequality, and care for an ageing population?


Meet the team

Jack and Emilia have been working together since 2014. We share a commitment to civic participation and research as a collaborative process, across the research team and with communities.

Dr Emilia Melville

Emilia has a background in community energy, and facilitating stakeholder workshops exploring how we can shift to zero carbon energy systems. She is the coordinator of the Bristol Energy Network.

Dr Jack Nicholls

Jack is passionate about democratic deliberation, public participation in decision-making, and employing social science research methods for civic action. He is a research associate at the University of Bristol


Feedback from our researchers

 “Also thought how Jack, Emilia and Hen made us feel very included &  like co-researchers made us feel very respected and seen. Especially the fact they emphasized our names would be on the report, we all felt really appreciated. Respected them a lot for their inclusive leadership in the project.”

“I genuinely really enjoyed this research project – I felt like I was doing challenging, rewarding work that I was interested in. I was really inspired by the motivation of the other researchers and thought they did an excellent job, especially in thinking critically and learning new technical skills to allow for better analysis. I liked being able to use more informal communication via Whatsapp. Thank you for the opportunity!”

“I think we adapted really well to online working and checking in with one another– it kept me sane throughout some weird times!”