Community Engagement

Communities matter. They are a precious and dynamic coming together of people, potential and place. Each has a unique ‘fingerprint’. How we engage needs to be designed with purpose and care, informed by a deep knowledge and understanding of those fingerprints.
My work is informed by emergent strategy, ecosystemic thinking, human-centred design and socially engaged practice, stretching thinking and pushing against prevailing norms. At its heart is the reimagining of place as a vibrant, interconnected ecosystem of people and communities. By re-wiring ourselves more consciously into this social fabric, we can achieve more for the common good, amplifying the existing social, cultural and human capital to support community flourishing.
Imagining Possibility, Taking the Initiative, Norway

Community Engagement

If you are an arts organisation, Local Authority or funded programme involved in community engagement, creative placemaking or urban development, I can help you as a Catalyst, Sense-Maker, Partner, Advocate, Facilitator, Programme Designer and Change Agent to:


  • The Point and Berry Theatres [Eastleigh]
  • The Place [Bedford]
  • Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse
  • Parc and Dare Theatre [Wales]
  • Australia Council for the Arts
  • Creative Victoria [Australia]
  • Creative Crawley
  • Creative Scene [Kirklees]
  • The City of Bergen [Norway]
  • Arts Council Wales
  • City of Cape Town Cultural Department [South Africa]
  • 101 Outdoor Arts
  • Belfast City Council
  • CircuitWest [Association of Regional Performing Arts Centres, Western Australia]

Wanted to learn more about my funded programmes of work?

Flagship Community Engagement Programmes

Designing Public Value with Purpose - International

Since 2012, I’ve worked with local authorities, arts councils and arts institutions internationally to help them radically re-imagine their community engagement policies, purpose and practice through my landmark programme Designing Public Value with Purpose. At its heart is a process that disrupts people’s world views, gently challenges dominant practice, asks important questions around public value, and shifts the paradigm from programme delivery to public service. This process paves the way to building more meaningful relationships, resulting in initiatives where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This has seen me work in the townships of South Africa, remote and regional Australia and across the UK.

Taking the Initiative – City of Bergen

Taking the Initiative is a bold experiment commissioned by the City of Bergen [Norway] to re-imagine how art, culture and creativity can stimulate individual and community flourishing at a hyper-local level, ignited by artists and powered by people. Informed by three international gatherings I convened called The Bergen Salons, the work is radical in that it subverts the usual structures and delivery mechanisms associated with a City bureaucracy. Designed to de-centralise power, de-instrumentalise practice and embrace emergent strategy, the programme embedded socially engaged artists in the City’s suburbs with no goal other than to support community flourishing. What emerged through these experiments was transformative for everyone involved, and the programme has inspired the City’s thinking in its bid to become European Capital of Culture 2036.

Extending Reach Deepening Engagement – Arts Council Wales

This leadership development programme was commissioned by Arts Council Wales to drive significant change around community engagement and social impact. Working with 16 arts leaders across Wales, I engaged them in searching discussions around themes including power, relevance, networks and adaptive capacity. This helped them to re-vision their cultural and social value and develop new ways to understand and engage with their communities.

Community Engagement Roadshow – Creative Victoria

I was invited by Creative Victoria, the state government body dedicated to championing, growing and supporting Victoria’s creative industries, to embark on a Community Engagement Roadshow delivering professional development workshops for over 30 Museums and Galleries on the subject of locally rooted, people-centred community engagement. After some initial resistance, participants began to engage with the alternative mindsets and practices presented, and through a carefully guided process, explored new ways to reframe their purpose, values and relationship with the local community. Many regarded this a gamechanger.

BRAW – Paul Hamlyn Foundation

A two year project, conducted in partnership with the Touring Network Highlands and Islands , designed to trial a new model of ‘slow touring’. Through it, we demonstrated how this approach had the potential to enrich the relationships between artists and rural communities during the devising stage, creating work and engagement initiatives with enhanced relevance and impact.
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