Civic Catalysts

Civic Catalysts is a programme of activity designed to help link Goldsmiths research to the needs of the diverse communities within the London Borough of Lewisham.

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Linked to the Goldsmiths Civic University Agreement (CUA), the aim of this programme is to bring researchers together with local partners and support them in developing partnerships, piloting ideas, and undertaking projects that will make a positive impact locally. We have supported projects under this programme working with homelessness charities, housing associations, community action groups and cultural start-ups.

How it works

The programme provides networking opportunities, events and one-to-one support to help connect Goldsmiths research to local needs and concerns. There are also opportunities for catalyst funding to help get projects off the ground.

Civic Catalysts aims to initiate projects that relate to at least one of the priority areas set out in the Goldsmiths Civic University Agreement (CUA) (2021).  

  1. Educational opportunities and learning aspirations
  2. Economic prosperity, jobs and growth
  3. Culture, health and wellbeing
  4. Environmental sustainability

More detail on our ambitions under each of these areas can be in the full CUA.

Grant funding

Supported by funding from Research England, grants of up to £4,000 are available each year as part of this scheme.

Details on the next round of Civic Catalyst funding will be released in autumn 2023.


This funding is intended to support collaborative projects that use ‘participatory research’ methodologies to address local issues related to the priority areas outlined above. Examples of activity might include (but are not limited to):

  • Research or evaluation exercises focussed on improving a local public / community service
  • Scoping activities or pilot schemes for larger projects (for example trying out a small-scale training programme)
  • Developing a new resource, analysing a data-set, providing practical assistance to address an identified issue (e.g. developing digital or other infrastructure)
  • Net zero or environmentally focussed projects (for example climate education or outreach initiatives, projects exploring air pollution or work with local parks, green spaces, waterways)
  • Co-produced, problem-solving or action research related to any of our CUA priorities

Email community( with any questions about the scheme.

2022 - 2023 Projects 

Evaluating the Migration Museums' People's Panel and Network

Migration Museum and Louise Doherty, MA Convenor Applied Anthropology, Community & Youth Work (STaCS)

This project is a collaboration between the Mona Jamil and Jason Page of the Migration Museum and Goldsmiths Lecturer and Researcher Louise Doherty, (STaCS). Louise will work with Mona and Jason to evaluate the People's Panel and Network- an initiative that was established in 2022 to embed grassroots community engagement and co-production as central to the Migration Museum's work and ethos.  As well as evaluating the project’s processes and framework for co-production so far, Louise will work with Mona and Jason to locate the Migration Museum’s Values via analysis of the workshops and surveys undertaken with the People’s Panel and Network.  Additionally, an open access toolkit will be produced offering practical advice and recommendations to other organisations seeking to embed meaningful co-production in their programming and community engagement practices.

Read more about the Migration Museum’s People’s Panel and Network.

Unheard Voices - Engaging Phoenix Residents

Phoenix Community Housing and Dr Rebecca Charlton, Reader in Psychology

Phoenix Community Housing is a resident-led housing association in Bellingham, which owns and manages over 7,500 homes. As the first resident-led housing association in London, engagement is key to Phoenix’s operating model. However, not all residents currently engage equally in this process. This project will work with two under-represented groups amongst Phoenix Residents: people with neurodiversity and working-class men. It will research how to better involve these groups in resident-led activities at Phoenix and how housing associations more broadly can remove barriers to participation.

Read more about Phoenix Community Housing and their resident-led model.

Soundin' Lewisham, The Heritage/ Future Vinyl Project

Natalie Hyacinth, Researcher/Research Manager, Sonic Street Technologies and Alchemy.

The Alchemy project works with young people in Lewisham who may be at risk of exclusion from local schools. In collaboration with researchers on the Sonic Street Technologies research programme (SST), this project will work with Alchemy participants to record and mix a vinyl album, exploring Lewisham’s rich musical history in the process. Learning from the project will inform wider strategies around creating opportunities for local young creatives to develop their music skills, confidence and wellbeing.

Read more about Alchemy’s work with local schools and young people.

Take Me to Your River

Dr Tobie Kerridge and Dr Sarah Pennington (Design), Quaggy Waterways Action Group (QWAG)

This project will explore new ways of fostering ‘stewardship’ of rivers and waterways. Rivers are natural resources that can build wellbeing and support participation in local settings, while also being subject to a range of environmental pressures. This project will bring together researchers, students and local people to deliver activities, create interventions and prototype ways of responding to local/ national environmental issues such as sewage in our rivers, climate change habitat loss, drought and water scarcity, pollution and flooding.

Find out more about work with local rivers and waterways.