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, FoodSEqual received 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.



Research interests

- Food Systems

- Participatory / Creative Methods

- Social Justice

- Climate Justice

- Behaviour Change

- Community empowerment

- Innovation

- Collaborative Governance

- Assemblage Theory

- Realist Evaluation




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

Shah, S., Mill, A., Jasmine Dingal, F., Foss, M., Lu, F., Gardiner, H., Blackstone, R., Sherbov, M., Gogova, I., (forthcoming) Roundtable report: Extreme Heat. Food Systems Handbook 

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]



Reports & invited lectures

Panelist at Barclays ‘New Frontiers’ conference in 2019