who we are

Profile pic moleskine BNW 2015

Eleanor Shipman
Founder / Director / Artist



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Eleanor is a participatory artist living in Bristol and working in Bristol and London. She studied BA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art writing her thesis on the role of temporary public art in urban regeneration and recently completed a research year for SGSU through studying MSc Sustainable Development in Practice at the University of the West of England where she wrote her thesis ‘Swell, breach, absorb: How can participatory art use Asset-Based Community Development methodologies to catalyse more climate-resilient communities?’.

Debate around regeneration, sustainability and notions of community underpin her creative practice. Supported with a substantial body of ongoing research Eleanor’s work responds to and challenges public, urban and socio-political tensions through encouraging and engaging local people. This often results in public workshops, walks, discussions and events as artistic outcomes.

Eleanor gained third sector experience through working for a variety of charities including Cubitt Gallery, Age UK, Spare Tyre and Pembroke House Community Centre. Her art practice has engaged her in freelance creative projects for Pump House Gallery, Home Live Art and Thinkpublic amongst others. Alongside directing SGSU Eleanor works part time as a Community Development Officer at Bristol City Council.

Eleanor’s art practice, research, background in the third sector and passion for working with people formed the foundations which lead to establishing this social enterprise ‘something good, something useful’ in January 2014.



something good, something useful: our collective

SGSU associates are experienced and passionate in their own fields, and bring this expertise to collaborative projects as part of the SGSU collective.

Ella Wiles
Environmental Policy and Social Engagement

Ella Wiles has a background in group facilitation and workshop design for community development. Ella has an MSc in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Karlskrona, Sweden, and a BA in Socio-Political Geography from Sussex University, Brighton. Ella has acquired several years experience in the design, implementation and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative research methods, recently applying this academic experience to a North American and European-wide study of urban agriculture practices and benefits for her masters’ thesis [copy on SGSU website].

Ella is passionate about the food system and has set up a pop-up restaurant with friends using local and home-grown ingredients where possible to celebrate food in all its glory – Popolo.

Ella now lives in Bristol working in the reuse sector. She was the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Children’s Scrapstore, a manufacturing reuse charity, and is a trustee for Bristol Reuse Network.

Katy Hawkins

Katy Hawkins
Urban Researcher

Katy is currently undergoing a research paper at UCL looking at participatory community projects in Peckham. Her background is in Art History, which she completed as an undergraduate degree at Goldsmiths University. In between her studies she spent two years in Berlin, writing for an art guide and several travel guides, and exploring!

Katy is currently putting together an exhibition, which seeks to address the imminent redevelopment of Peckham Rye Station. She also works part-time at the Design Museum.

George Lovesmith

George is an architect and lecturer at the University of the West of England.

Alex Profile Shot bnw WEB sml

Alex Parkyn-Smith
Filmmaker and Visual Anthropologist

Alex studied Anthropology at Durham University and later an MA in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths University where he studied and subsequently made a short film of the social lives of young people in Kenya around the bus transport system. He established his own film company Myriad Films with two peers in 2013.

Isobel Ward

Isobel Ward
Architecture and Anthropology

Isobel has worked within the architecture profession for the past 8 years. She has gained experience working on schools, including an award winning primary school for children with behavioural difficulties, private residences, art installations and currently a major London infrastructure development.

Following an urban research project in Dharavi Mumbai, where she developed skills in research and social engagement, she returned to London to undertake an MA in Anthropology and Cultural Politics. Here she concentrated on environmental issues and urban development, writing her thesis on London’s waterways community which explored how an alternative and constantly evolving sense of home is formed through movement.

She is also involved in an ongoing project with Shared Assets and Kingston University LandscapeIS institute to develop a methodology for engaging local people and creative industries in re-imagining difficult urban sites as a local asset while maintaining community control, focusing so far on the Limehouse Cut. See the blog post Isobel wrote about it here, and the project report here.

Isobel has a strong belief that an understanding of our environment, and the forces that shape it, can inform better design, and in turn have a positive effect on society. She strives to combine research and engagement with architectural practice to develop a more holistic approach to design, architecture and urban planning.

Georgina Perry

Georgina Perry
Human Geographer

Georgina studied Human Geography at the University of Sheffield, where she developed her interest in the relationship between people and place, especially within cities. Her dissertation explored different meanings of ‘home’ in urban environments, and the way that they are represented in museums. She also studied mobilities, cultural constructions of identity, and theories in urban planning.

Georgina’s approach is underpinned by a value of sustainability. In 2013 she took part in the Sheffield Colloquium, a weeklong conference held as part of the University of Sheffield’s ‘Discover and Understand’ program. This involved working in interdisciplinary teams to try to tackle the question ‘How do we build sustainable communities?’

Georgina is from Bristol, where she now lives. Here, she volunteers at The Architecture Centre, which promotes awareness and enjoyment of the built environment through public engagement. She also works at the Watershed, a cultural cinema and creative media centre.

Practical experience of collecting and analysing primary data is what has cemented Georgina’s belief in the importance of community engagement within regeneration projects. This has involved facilitating focus groups, conducting in depth interviews and surveys.

When not working, Georgina enjoys spending time with friends, seeing live music and exploring cities.


our research

As a collective we believe in the power of sharing ideas and inspiration. Here are some of ours…

Please contact us for more information.

Regenerate, Disintegrate, Create

Regenerate, Disintegrate, Create: The Role of Temporary Public Art in Regeneration, Eleanor Shipman, 2011

Eleanor Shipman explores the challenges and successes of how creative interventions can connect people to place, suggesting what really makes ‘ideal public art’ in today’s urban environment.

Swell, breach, absorb: How can participatory art use Asset-Based Community Development methodologies to catalyse more climate-resilient communities? Eleanor Shipman, 2016

Eleanor Shipman explores ways in which participatory art can use Asset-Based Community Development methodologies to catalyse more climate-resilient communities through dissecting Bristol and London-based case studies and interviewing resilience and sustainability leaders and participatory artists.

Our core values:

• Creativity – Our unique creative approach throughout our process, engagement and outcomes
• Communication – The importance of clear, concise and effective communication across all audiences
• Honesty – Maintaining transparency and realism throughout our work
• Connection – Building bridges between decision makers and communities
• Engagement – Genuine engagement of communities

Our inspiration:

“We are visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”
The X1Vth Dalai Lama