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In April 2009 Joanne launched Ketso as a social business. Ketso is a hands-on kit for creative groupwork. Ketso is a portable kit you can lay out on a table at group meetings and in workshops. Ketso has been used around the world in different contexts and for multiple organisations and institutions. From organising a village initiative in Africa to a corporate change management exercise for a multinational, Ketso cuts across all the challenges posed by bringing together diverse groups of people to discuss a shared issue. In 2013 Ketso was awarded a commendation by the Royal Town Planning Institute for 'positive contribution to community engagement'.

Joanne's work with the Sustainable Consumption Institute has led to the development of a new framework for sustainability learning, the RoundView. See www.roundview.org for more information.

She would welcome enquires from prospective postgraduate students interested in her fields of research.


Dr Joanne Tippett is a lecturer in Spatial Planning in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. Joanne began working in the field of community participation in ecological planning in 1993, working with rural communities in Southern Africa. Her ESRC funded research into participatory river basin planning led to the development of a hands-on toolkit for engagement, Ketso. Ketso is now a social business, and the kit has been used in over 75 countries and half the universities in the UK.

Joanne was a finalist in the 2014 Praxis Unico Impact Awards and Ketso was commended by the Royal Town Planning Institute North West for ‘positive contribution to community engagement’ in 2013. She has published in the area of the social implications of building flood resilience from research funded by the EU Seventh Framework Programme. Action research funded by the Sustainable Consumption Institute and 250 staff in Tesco led to the creation of the RoundView Tool for Sustainability. The RoundView provides the conceptual framing for the Carbon Landscape, a £3.2 million, 5-year Heritage Lottery funded project, and Dr. Tippett is leading on the innovative community engagement for this multi-stakeholder project aiming to restore post-industrial landscapes and increase their ecological resilience in the face of climate change. Her work was short-listed for the UK Sustainable Development Commissions Breakthrough Ideas for the 21st Century.

Joanne holds a PhD from the University of Manchester (ESRC-CASE award with the Mersey Basin Campaign) and Chartered Environmentalist Status as a Member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences. She holds a Diploma in Permaculture Design and a Masters Degree in Social Research Methods.

Research interests

The heart of my research is the application of systems thinking to collaborative system change towards ecological and social sustainability: how people and organisations can effectively re-design practise, infrastructure, processes and systems to be more sustainable. My research trajectory is rooted in my ESRC funded research, which surfaced three areas of particular significance: creative community & stakeholder engagement; systems-based models & understandings of sustainability and linking-up knowledge and innovation across time, domains and levels of scale.

My Sustainable Consumption Institute funded research into systems-based models & understandings of sustainability led to the development of the RoundView Navigational Tool for Sustainability, and this is now being deployed as the key engagement tool in the Carbon Landscape Project (HLF). Current research is exploring the process of developing a spatial imaginary in the Carbon Landscape, which has been informed by the RoundView.  Recent developments have been the creation of a package of learning for schools (being used primary schools across the Carbon Landscape. This may lead to research into the pedagogical innovations represented by the kinaesthetic learning approach.

The RoundView is also inspiring new thinking about sustainability for an exhibit and new art work at Quarry Bank, with potential for a wider roll out within the National Trust, working in collaboration with the John Rylands Research Institute and colleagues in SALC to explore new ways to interpret the history of the site and the Industrial Revolution.

Work with both Ketso and RoundView has generated a large amount of data (and continues to generate more), which will be used to develop future research in the third theme, linking knowledge and innovation across time, domains and levels of scale. Ketso embodies and enacts a deep critical pedagogy, the application of which by over 500 stakeholders will enable me to ask critical questions around how to turn data from engagement into actionable knowledge, including developing digital tools for curating, synthesising and mapping the data to find useful patterns.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Creative Manchester


  • Co-production
  • Community engagement
  • Community Participation
  • Sustainability
  • Ecological Design
  • Stakeholder engagement


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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