WHAT WE DO
We are a non-profit organisation focusing on environmental and social issues, creating thoughtful tools and interventions to make better decisions, embrace and play with complexity, and help build a world with equitable access to knowledge and technologies.
All of our work is open source, and mostly centres on citizen/participatory science and technology, and public engagement/civic involvement (again often relating to science and technology). Breadth, transdisciplinarity and grounding are all important to us. Many of our projects are rooted in rural issues, rather than being city-centric.
We design and make bespoke hardware and software, develop and run workshops and events, make installations and exhibitions, and teach. We do almost everything in-house, including programming, electronics, illustration, design, facilitation, user testing and physical builds (for larger builds we work with Aaron Moore's Makerspace). This generalist approach is quite unusual but it means that we can ensure that every step works well, and it keeps us adaptable.
You can also check out our 2021 annual review.
HOW WE WORK / HOW TO WORK WITH US
We run our own research and development projects, usually grant funded, and are registered to lead and participate in EU funded research projects (PIC 925548878, currently this is underwritten by UKRI due to Brexit).
We also collaborate on other people's research (and other) projects, often helping to write the funding bids, for example embedding 'impact' and 'public engagement' in ways that truly benefit the research itself and those involved, or leading sections/work packages of the research that we have expertise in.
We are able to host UKRI Future Leaders Fellowships. No university is necessary for this, and Then Try This can be the sole host. We are currently hosting one fellowship and have completed UKRI's due diligence and financial auditing. We are also happy to share hosting of fellowships with other organisations/institutions.
Other Project Bids
We are also able to lead or 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.
We do commissions for clients, and routinely 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 with funders and numerous universities.
We sometimes get requests to apply for tenders, and are happy to do this. We're unlikely to apply for a tender if we haven't been invited.
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.
- We’re a non-profit, which means we have no shareholders to keep wealthy. This is important to us as most of our work is public funded one way or another.
- 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, and if it’s not public funded, it’s still likely better for society if it’s available to all. You can find our more recent code on GitLab and our older projects on GitHub.
- We centre the concept of appropriate technology in our work, and make technology that is understandable, fixable, and can be repurposed (or maybe even composted), yet still works reliably.
- 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 have a no-flights policy, work in a carbon negative building, use ethical banking and an ethical pension scheme, run our website and projects on renewable energy powered servers in Iceland, only cater events using small local businesses and always vegan, and have an e-cargo bike for local work-related transport.
- We also take privacy very 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.
- We have a board of non-executive directors who keep an eye on how we do things and help bring in other perspectives.