Thursday 24 September 2020


The social, cultural and material value of ‘thinking in the round’

With Nick Gant – Community21 / University of Brighton

Matter matters and ‘circular economies’ consider how material resources are continually circulated within more sustainable systems. This one-hour masterclass will unpack ‘circular systems’ and sustainability, but will also present the ‘flip-side’ of circular design with the many values that can ‘spin-out’ from circular practices. It will engage with the often ill-considered human, social and cultural aspects that are essential if ‘more sustainable’ models for material resourcing are to succeed. Furthermore, it will present methods for how we actually design-in value to our circular products and services through the presentation of thought-provoking examples of ‘meaningful materials’ and products.

The masterclass will be useful for anyone interested in, but new to, sustainable material debates, as well as those who have established practices or knowledge of sustainable design and/or development. It will use pioneering as well as everyday examples of circular design, but will always seek to inspire and promote new thinking in this evolving subject and critical field.

The masterclass will be followed by a panel discussion with Nick GantThe New Raw and Matthew Edwards.

About Nick Gant

Nick Gant is the founder of the Community21 design agency, Principal Lecturer in Design and PhD supervisor at Brighton University.

Nick is an award-winning designer and maker, published author and academic in the fields of social and sustainable design. He is the founder of the Community21 design agency and co-wrote the Masters in Sustainable Design, both based within the University of Brighton, UK. Nick has worked in circular design methods for over 20 years and has engaged with global corporate brands, national charities and international NGOs co-developing design tools, products, services, systems and spaces. He has exhibited in high profile museums and exhibitions in the UK, US, Europe, Asia and Australia, and his work has featured in the press, on television and the radio, as well as in peer-reviewed publications and books.

About The New Raw

The New Raw is a research and design studio based in Rotterdam (NL), founded in 2015 by the architects Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki. The studio uses robotic 3D printing with recycled plastic to develop and implement circular design concepts of high aesthetic value and societal impact. The bigger vision behind each of their projects and products is to contribute to a closed material cycle for plastic, raise public awareness and stimulate local production. Through the integration of design thinking, robotic production and material research, The New Raw provides complete design and additive manufacturing solutions for a more sustainable future.

About Matthew Edwards

Matthew Edwards is the founder of Matte, an experimental design studio from Johannesburg, South Africa. With a focus on designing with materials and processes in the South African context, he approaches design through the concept of RE-IY (Recycle/Redesign/Reduce It Yourself) and MAKE DO, ways of working that push a variation of sustainable design in South Africa that reflects a more personal engagement with the material life cycle. Matthew is also the co-founder of Big Circle Studios, a speculative design-research platform that engages with models, processes and practices for a more inclusive and sustainable future. 

The webinar is being organised in the context of our wider sustainability programme Circular Cultures and is part of EUNIC European Cultures Week, taking place from 21 to 25 September, which aims to raise awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment, disseminate knowledge and share good practices.