WHAT WE DO
We're a non-profit research and development organisation based in the UK (Cornwall and Sheffield). We usually work on environmental and social projects. A lot of our projects involve helping universities/councils/non-profits to involve or reach wider communities in more interesting and respectful ways, or to find ways to do research that they otherwise wouldn't be able to. As well as this type of commission/collaboration based work, we also do our own fundamental research and run our own projects.
One of our biggest motivations is making knowledge more equitably distributed. We do this in lots of ways, whether that’s by designing a new piece of open source and low cost research equipment, making a new online game or installation to understand a scientific concept or help solve a research question, building an app to give people access to previously inaccessible data and help them make decisions, or running events to help people work better together across boundaries.
All our work is open source, and much of it is rooted in rural issues, rather than being city-centric. We're used to designing for unusual or difficult situations, and have built things for places with no power or internet, where hardware might be trampled by elephants or fall in the sea. We hear about people using our work all around the world because it’s all freely available to use and modify.
Some buzzwords you might recognise are: citizen science, participatory science and technology, public engagement, impact and civic involvement. These are big parts of what we do.
You can also check out our 2023 annual review.
HOW WE WORK / HOW TO WORK WITH US
Drop us an email if you'd like to talk about working together. If you have ideas that don't fit into the categories below, just let us know!
- Research Projects We run our own research and development projects, usually grant funded, and are registered to lead and join consortiums for EU funded projects as a research organisation (PIC 925548878). We often collaborate on other people's research (and other) projects, helping to improve the funding bids, embedding 'impact' and 'public engagement' in ways that truly benefit the research itself and those involved, or leading sections/work packages of the research. Projects where we are included as collaborators tend to have a high success rate.
- Fellowships We host UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships. No university is necessary for this, Then Try This can be the sole host. This offers a very different research experience, with no publication metrics, funding targets or teaching load, just... research. We are also happy to share hosting of fellowships with other organisations/institutions.
- Other Project Bids We lead and collaborate on projects that aren't research based, for example for Arts Council and National Lottery calls, and can support people to put their bids in.
- Commissions We regularly take commissions from clients, and work on large scale projects with some of the world's most famous organisations, like the Deutsches Museum (Munich), Natural History Museum (London), and Eden Project (Cornwall), as well as for funders and numerous universities.
- Teaching & Workshops Guest teaching and workshops are things we do a lot of. We teach for universities all around the world, on citizen science, critical technology, programming and electronics, and all sorts of other things. We're also often asked to develop participatory workshops, either for an organisation's own staff or to bring together lots of different types of participants.
USING OUR THINGS
We have some equipment, tools, and event items that can be borrowed or used in our studio by local organisations or community groups. There is a list available which we keep updated.
If you'd like to use any of our online things for your own purposes (like teaching or museum exhibitions), you're absolutely free to. It's really nice if you can let us know if you do this as it helps us prove to funders that we're doing useful stuff, and it makes us happy too. If you'd like us to modify something we've made to make it work for a specific purpose, just get in touch.
We’re a non-profit, which means we have no shareholders to keep wealthy. We have a board of non-executive directors who keep an eye on how we do things. We make everything open source and open access so it’s freely available for anyone to use for their own purposes. If it’s public funded, it should be available to all. We use the concept of appropriate technology in our work, which means we make things that are understandable, fixable, and can be repurposed, and - critically - we make things that are really reliable. Wherever possible, the people who the projects are for are directly involved in the design process. We see co-design as entirely integral to how we work.
Every decision we make is grounded in the reality that climate and ecological breakdown are changing everything, and 'business as usual' is for the history books. We've had a no-flights policy since 2014, work in a carbon negative building, use ethical banking and an ethical pension scheme, run our website and projects on renewable energy powered servers, only cater events using small local businesses and always vegan, and have e-cargo bikes for local work-related transport.
We also take privacy seriously, which is an integral for climate action and justice. We use end-to-end encryption for internal communications and are happy to use it with anyone who is ready to.
You can find our more recent code on GitLab and our older projects on GitHub (we switched over because of human rights issues), and you can find our all company documents online: Companies House, Articles of Association, Policy Documents and Health and Safety (feel free to use these for setting up your own organisation).