Mx Hannah Gardiner

Mx Hannah Gardiner

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)



Hannah is currently undertaking a PhD in the Faculty of Health at the University of Plymouth. It is linked to FoodSEqual, and the lead supervisor is Dr Clare Pettinger.
The full supervisory team also includes: Dr Louise Hunt, Professor Mary Hickson, and Dr Sally-Lloyd Evans

Working title: A 'Community Food Researcher' model: exploring the impact of community based research for food systems transformation 
PhD abstract:
Dialogue on the need for food systems transformation is widespread, responding to intersecting crises of health, hunger, and environment. Achieving transformation requires addressing power asymmetries, fragmented governance, conflicting values, and divergent visions of the future. In 2020, FoodSEqualreceived 5 years of UKRI funding to trial methods for disadvantaged communities to co-produce change which works for them. One method is the Community Food Researcher (CFR) model: training people to become researchers in their own communities.
This PhD will explore the lived experiences and journeys of the CFRs through creative and collaborative ethnographic methods. It will also investigate ‘entry points’ and barriers to the CFR model integrating into future food systems transformation research.
Engaging community members as researchers brings novel ethical challenges including potential for coercion, conflicts of interest and emotional response. These will be addressed in the research design and delivery, in addition to following standard ethical codes of practice and principles.
The outcomes will be recommendations on how the CFR model could support a more just and equitable food systems transformation.
Hannah’s interests and background
Hannah is passionate about the environment and societal change. Core interests include: food systems, behaviour change, social justice, climate justice, participatory research, innovation, and collaborative governance.
Previous work includes co-founding the clean-tech startup AirPublic (2015); this received funding through Climate-Kic, Future Cities Catapult, and Digital Catapult, and the work was published (Nowack et al, 2021). During this time Hannah also worked for the behavioural change charity London Sustainability Exchange (2015-17) where they created Pollinator Paths (2017), and collaborated in the development of surplus food distribution initiatives in several London boroughs. Prior to this, Hannah created socially engaged art projects, working nationally and internationally, including a project about the value of seeds and mapping the cultural foodscape of Lincolnshire.
During 2017-2019, Hannah worked on alternative land management models as Head of Consultancy for Shared Assets, and in this role they authored a report on community ownership and management of land​ (2018). Hannah became a One Young World Scholar in 2017, and in 2021 graduated from the Centre for Alternative Technology with an MSc in Sustainable Food and Natural Resource Use.
When they are not working they can normally be found walking or kayaking in nature somewhere.

Professional membership

Member of the British Sociological Society
Associate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society 


Research interests

- Food Systems
- Participatory / Creative Methods
- Social Justice
- Climate Justice
- Behaviour Change
- Community empowerment
- Innovation
- Collaborative Governance
- Assemblage Theory
- Realist Evaluation

Grants & contracts

2022, & 2023: University of Plymouth 'Explore Award' grants in both 2022 (£3000) and 2023 (£2000); to carry out engagement activities.
2018: £10,000 - Digital Catapult and Croydon Council to trial an air pollution monitoring service using LoRaWAN  [with AirPublic] 
2018: £20,000 (investment) - Bethnal Green Ventures Accelerator programme [with AirPublic] 
2016:  €60,000 - EU Innovation grant as part of OrganiCity (Future Cities Catapult), to trial mobile air pollution monitors [with AirPublic]
2014: £6000 - Creative People and Places fund, through 'Transported', to deliver a community art project
2014: £1800 - funded by Friends of the Earth and Arts Space Portsmouth, to deliver a community art project 
2012: £2500 - Artist's International Development Fund (Arts Council), to deliver an art project in Brazil


Pettinger, C., Hunt, L., Gardiner, H., Garg, P., Howard, L., & Wagstaff, C. (2023). Engaging with ‘less affluent’ communities for food system transformation: a community food researcher model (FoodSEqual project). Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 1–15. doi:10.1017/S0029665123004913 

Nowack, P., Konstantinovskiy, L., Gardiner, H., and Cant, J. (2021) Machine learning calibration of low-cost NO2 and PM10 sensors: non-linear algorithms and their impact on site transferability, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 14, 5637–5655,, 2021. 

Internet Publications
Exploring what visual and creative approaches bring to public engagement.
Presented at NCCPE Engage 2024. Available online here:

When worlds collide: Exploring tensions in co-producing food system transformations with communities and industry 
Blog published December 2023. Available here: 

Gardiner, H. (2019) Activate! Land in the Hands of Communities. Local Trust. Available at:

Rich, E & O’Connell, K - Visual methods in physical culture: Body culture exhibition. In M.Atkison & K.Young (eds) (2012) Qualitative Research on Sport & Physical Culture (Emerald) [Artwork outcome included in chapter, from an interdisciplinary collaboration with social science students]

Presentations and posters
The co-benefits of engaging local people as community researchers to provide evidence for ‘bottom-up’ policymaking. 
Poster presented at: The 2024 City Food Policy Symposium (April, 2024). Available at: 
Other Publications
Dec 2022: Presentation & workshop at the UK Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund, ECR conference
April 2023: Presentation at the Adventures in Post-Humanism doctoral event
July 2023: Presentation at the 10th International Conference of Autoethnography
Nov 2023: Presentation at the UK Food Systems Strategic Priorities Fund, ECR conference
Feb 2024: Presentation to the University of Plymouth’s Participation in Everyday Life group (PIEL)
April 2024: Presentation & workshop at the Midlands Conference of Critical Thought
May 2024: Presentation & workshop at NCCPE Engage Live
Aug 2024: Presentation at RGS Annual International Conference
Sept 2024: Workshop at the International Creative Research Methods Conference 


Reports & invited lectures

Panelist at Barclays ‘New Frontiers’ conference in 2019