Associates is a collective of curators, programmers, writers, academics, artists and researchers who develop new approaches to culture and community making that reflects and shape people’s everyday lives.

We believe art and culture can do more than just decorate. Our work takes the approaches, methods and perspectives of the cultural world and applies them to people’s everyday needs. Our work makes and fosters culture, communities, enterprises and public spaces that endure.

Culture for everyday life

We are interested in how approaches from art and culture can go beyond public art and one-off events to shape buildings, enterprises, traditions and habits.

Thinking before objects

You can’t grow communities by ordering artworks from a menu. Our work is rooted in recognising that the value of artists and cultural organisations is in how they think.

Public debate

Cultural strategies and programmes are normally developed behind closed doors. Open conversation and debates about how art and culture can contribute to life is better for everyone involved, including policy makers, artists and communities. We regularly write and contribute to a range of publications, and take part in research activities and cultural conversations.

Our clients range from the large to the small. Large organisations include Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation; Eastbourne County Council; Royal Mail Group; Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership; and the London Borough of Brent. Smaller organisations include Lewisham Arthouse, and the tiny university, Learning from Kilburn.

We work openly and collaboratively with our clients, providing services that range from cultural strategies and funding bids, to arts programming, audience development and evaluations. We use new working methods and do not shy away from questions of politics, power and participation. We make room for learning and for sharing knowledge.

You can find out more about our past and current projects here ; and the thinking that drives all our activities here.


Charlie Tims is a researcher interested in cultural policy and cities. He has authored briefings, evaluations and strategies for, among others, The European Commission, The European Cultural Foundation, The Burberry Foundation and the British Council. He has written a series of pamphlets for the think-tank Demos, including People Make Places: Growing the Public Life of Cities

Daisy Froud
is a strategist specialising in community engagement and participatory design. Having started her career in community-led regeneration and environmental campaigning, in 2003 Daisy co-founded architecture practice AOC, which built a reputation for “a committed engagement with communities, clients and parts of the city” (FT, 2008) and was twice shortlisted for the Young Architect of the Year Award. Since 2007 she has taught on the history and theory of spatial politics at The Bartlett School of Architecture, and in 2011 completed a visiting professorship at Yale. Daisy sits on the advisory Design Panel for High Speed 2, and the Design Review panel for the London Borough of Bexley. She is a Design Advocate for the Mayor of London, a Built Environment Expert for Design Council CABE, an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism, and in 2014 was shortlisted for The AJ’s Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award.

Hadrian Garrard founded Create London in 2012 and is the CEO and Artistic Director. The charity explores how artists can contribute to life in cities. He has been a juror for the Olympic Delivery Authority arts commissions, the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Awards and Art on the Underground, and he chairs the Bank of America Merrill Lynch art selection committee. He is a board member of London’s Open School East, Blackhorse Workshop, Glasgow’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground and an Associate Executive Producer of You Me Bum Bum Train.

Dr Harriet Harriss is an award-winning designer, ideation facilitator, Clore Fellow (2016–17), a published author and a senior tutor in architecture and interior design at the Royal College of Art. Harriet’s workshops and hackathons are strongly informed by design-thinking intelligence, data-driven future trends and real-world experience. Her problem-based, inter-disciplinary expertise enables her to build bridges between organisations and sectors that facilitate innovative partnerships and new market opportunities, as well as enrich and often reboot organisational strategies.

John Holden is a Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, and an Honorary Professor of the University of Hong Kong. He was Head of Culture at the think tank Demos for 8 years, where he remains an Associate, and has been involved in numerous projects working with governments, agencies, cities and national and local organisations. John is the author of many works including The Ecology of Culture and All Together. John is a Trustee of the Hepworth, Wakefield, and of the Clore Leadership Programme, and a member of the European Expert Network on Culture.

John Kieffer has over thirty years’ experience in the UK and international cultural policy, arts programming, creative industries development and the music industry. He has programmed festivals, written books and held senior roles at the Arts Council, Sound & Music, the British Council and the London Docklands Development Corporation. He is currently the Chair of Situations UK and Longplayer, and also a trustee of Artsadmin and the BBC Performing Arts Fund.

John Newbigin is the Chair of Creative England. As Special Advisor to the Minister for Culture, Rt Hon Chris Smith MP, he helped develop the UK government’s first policies for the creative industries in the 1990s. He is a member of the Creative Industries Council; Chairman of the British Council’s Advisory Group for Arts and Creative Economy; and member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths. He has also worked as a youth worker, a journalist and an illustrator.

Lois Stonock is a curator and consultant interested in business models, networks and structures which support art, community and enquiry. She is founder of the Associates. Among others she has worked with the British Council, Bold Tendencies, Tropical Isles, Lewisham Arthouse and the Folkestone Triennial. Her ongoing project Unorganised Response has produced a series of exhibitions and articles researching the development, movement and institutionalisation of artist led networks in the Syrian diaspora. Previously Lois was responsible for the Arts Programme for Bloomberg Philanthropy in Europe, Middle East and Asia and founder of Stonock Ltd.

Mark Suggitt is a freelance cultural consultant. He has held senior posts and led a range of major capital projects. Mark was previously Director of Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in Derbyshire, Head of Bradford Museums & Galleries, Director of St Albans Museums and Assistant Director of Yorkshire & Humberside Museums Council. He was also Keeper of Social History at York Castle Museum and Assistant Keeper of Social History at Salford Museums & Galleries. He is currently Chair of Impressions Gallery in Bradford. Mark has published and lectured widely on museums and cultural management throughout the UK and Europe.

Mark Williams MBE co-founded Heart ‘n Soul in 1986 and is the Artistic Director and CEO. Throughout the last thirty years he has been central to the organisation’s strategic development and has helped take it from a locally based touring company to an internationally respected creative organisation, producing music, clubs, live art, dance and films by artists with learning disabilities and in collaboration with non-learning disabled artists.

Peter Jenkinson has worked for over 30 years in the cultural and creative sector, passionately advocating and acting for deep change across the cultural and political landscape alongside a commitment to building intelligent democracy, civic agency and social justice. As an independent cultural change agent based in London he works in the UK and internationally including as a founding director of Civic, as advisor to and facilitator at the Salzburg Global Seminar, as an associate of the Compass progressive politics network, and as UK Ambassador to The Alternativet, the cultural~political party in Denmark. Prior to these adventures Peter has had a distinguished and award-winning career working across the arts and culture, including his role as advisor on the Post-Conflict Art Programme in the Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland and core member of the city’s Bid Team to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013, co-founder of Culture+Conflict, founding director of the Creative Partnerships creativity in learning schools programme across England, the first of its kind in the world, and, as founding director, the initiation and delivery of the world-class, The New Art Gallery Walsall.

Sara Selwood is an independent cultural analyst, research and writer. Having previously worked as an art historian and curator of contemporary visual art, much of her current work focuses on cultural policy and the public sector. She currently edits the journal Cultural Trends, which champions the need for better evidence on the cultural sector. She was also formerly a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Strategy Group and Chair of its Cultural Policy Reference Group.

Shelagh Wright works with a diverse range of people and projects around the world on cultural and creative economy policy, sustainable social practice and new leadership. She is a passionate internationalist and frequently works with the British Council to support young creative makers and advises on culture and development issues. Amongst many things, she is a co-founder of Civic, a Director of the Together Foundation and ThreeJohnsandShelagh, an Associate of the Culture+Conflict initiative, faculty of Salzburg Global Seminar and a UK Ambassador to the Alternativet Party in Denmark. Her publications include: Creativity Money Love; Where does it Hurt?; After the Crunch; So, What Do You Do?; Making Good Work and Design for Learning. Shelagh has led programmes of work on policy and practice in the UK and internationally, was a contributor to the Creative Britain strategy and a member of the EU Expert Working Group on the Creative Industries. She is also on the boards of several UK arts and cultural organisations.

Steve Moffitt is the CEO of A New Direction. A New Direction is the key strategic body for connecting young Londoners with the city’s creative and cultural resources. The organisation commissions research, campaigns for access to more and better cultural education for young people and designs and runs programmes in partnership with schools, local authorities and businesses. Steve worked for English National Opera as Head of ENO Baylis between 1996 and 2002 and was Artistic Director and Associate Director of Theatre Venture between 1989 and 1996. Steve is a Trustee of People United and a Director of the AMSI(Arts and Media School Islington) Trust.

Tom Dyckhoff is a writer, broadcaster, historian and enthusiast about architecture, cities, design and places. He presents BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge, and writes and presents The Design Dimension, a regular series on design for BBC Radio 4. Tom has written and presented many series and one-off documentaries for British television and radio, including Channel 4’s The Secret Life of Buildings; he has written a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper’s Weekend magazine since 2001, and, from 2003 to 2011, was architecture critic for The Times. Tom has also written widely for international publications including GQ, Wallpaper, New Statesman and Domus; and has taught at various universities. Tom is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and has been an honorary research associate at the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London, a trustee of the Architecture Foundation and the Arts Council’s architecture committee, and sat on the national shortlisting jury for the Stirling Prize for architecture from 2008 to 2011. In 2013 he was a judge for the Stirling Prize finalists. His first book, The Age of Spectacle: Adventures in Architecture and the 21st-Century City (2017), is published by Penguin Random House.

Tom Keeley is an architectural historian working between architecture, geography, landscape and culture through writing, situated research and printed matter. He has previously worked for organisations including The Architecture Foundation and Storefront for Art and Architecture (New York, USA), and his work is held in the collections of the National Art Library at the V&A, and the School of Architecture Library at Princeton University. He teaches at a number of universities including Central Saint Martins and Kingston University.

Verity-Jane Keefe is a visual artist, working predominantly within the public realm, using moving image, text and installation based work to explore the complex relationships between people and place. She is interested in the role and potential of the artist within urban regeneration, quite often working across a number of local authority departments. She has an ongoing, accidental love affair with Outer London; recent works include The Mobile Museum, The Wood Street Survey of Retail Trade and LEGOLAND. She is a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins.


A selection of previous projects by the Associates:


Published in 2004, After the Goldrush  is a collection of essays, co-edited by Associate Charlie Tims, which was the first public exploration of how the London Olympics could improve the livelihoods of people living in and around the Olympic Park.


B is for Brent Borough of Culture. In 2017 Associates worked with residents, stakeholders and the council to write the winning bid for Borough of Culture award in 2020.



Creativity Works: Eastbury Manor, was an employability programme funded by Create (Led by Associate Hadrian Garrard) in collaboration with A New Direction (Led by Associate Steve Moffitt). It saw ten young people from East London, who weren’t in employment or education, work with two leading immersive-theatre companies to develop their skills and put on a production at Eastbury Manor.


D is for Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in Derbyshire where Mark Suggitt was the Director.


Working with Eastbourne County Council Associates developed an Cultural Innovation Framework for and with the creative sector in Eastbourne.


In 2014 Charlie Tims and Lois Stonock wrote FC Museum  which looks at what small museums can learn from football clubs, especially clubs that are run by their local communities.


The Ghetto Biennale is a cross-cultural arts festival held in two adjacent neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. An essay by John Kieffer on the ‘third space’ in creative collaboration was a formative influence on the Biennale and John wrote the introduction for the official catalogue.


Hereford Cultural Partnership commissioned Associates to write a Cultural Strategy for and with the Partnership consortium.


The Jennie Lee Institute is an independent, not-for-profit and non-partisan think tank founded by Lois Stonock. It is a locus of leadership and development and at its core is working to extend the value of culture, formed and expressed in the arts. It is a mechanism through which young people and policymakers can sit together at the forefront of conversations that imagine new cultural futures for the UK.


John3Shelagh (comprising of Associates John Holden, John Newbigin, John Kieffer and Shelagh Wright) is a platform for provocative thinking about cultural policy and the creative industries.


Learning from Kilburn was a tiny experimental university that used Kilburn High Road and the surrounding area as curriculum and campus, holding classes in a number of locations. It was created and directed by Tom Keeley on behalf of Spacemakers.


Lewisham Arthouse supports art and art-based learning. Lois Stonock developed a strategy and business plan for a new charitable/co-operative hybrid model for the building.


Mission Models Money was set up by Shelagh Wright to explore sustainable models for arts organisations in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It encouraged arts organisations to reflect on what they were trying to change in the world and how they wanted to achieve that change.

Verity Jane Keefe’s The Mobile Museum is an itinerant art project  housed in an ex-local authority mobile library, touring, looking and making a new natural history collection via twelve council estates across Barking and Dagenham in celebration of the everyday.


Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership brings together two borough councils, developers and local cultural stakeholders across a new South London development. In 2016 we wrote a feasibility study for Linear Park which will runs through Nine Elms.


For the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation we developed a successful bid for the Great Places Scheme. Securing £1.5 million for a culture programme proposing a new kind of community consultation for the major development area seeing opportunities for communities and artists at its heart.


Towards Plan B is an article published in 2014, by Three Johns & Shelagh, which made the case that cultural organisations have no choice but to build the kind of solid public support for their work which makes cuts to their budgets unthinkable.


Quite interesting. People Make Places is a report co-authored by Melissa Mean and Associate Charlie Tims, and supported by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, examining the state of public space in the United Kingdom. It outlines principles for the creation of shared spaces.


Working with M3 Consulting we developed a Cultural Strategy and implementation plan for the Royal Mail Group’s site in Vauxhall, London.


Over the last fifty years, there has been a revolution in how our cities operate The Age of Spectacle: Adventures in Architecture and the 21st-Century City the latest book by Associate Tom Dyckhoff, tells the story of how architecture became obsessed with the flashy, the monumental and the ostentatious – and how we all have to live with the consequences.


The Tinsley cooling towers in Sheffield were demolished in 2008. For three years prior to that Tom Keeley and Tom James led a campaign to save them and make them a new home for public art.


Useful was an elusive magazine, by Associate Charlie Tims, exploring where ideas come from and how they make a difference.


Valuing Culture by John Holden is an influential series of reports looking at how arts organisations – and public funding for the arts – can become more legitimate in the eyes of audiences, funders and the wider public.


We Built this City on Rock and Roll. This report by Lois Stonock and Charlie Tims explores the relationship between culture and international development.

The Wood Street Survey of Retail Trade is a filmwork, series of fanzines and wall artwork as planning survey for and about Wood Street, E17 by Verity Jane Keefe.


Tate EXchange is a space in the new Tate building for collaboration, testing new ideas and discovering new perspectives through art. The concept for the space was partly developed by Shelagh Wright and Jonathan Robinson.


Your Ad Here is a project by Create in the Olympic Park, which commissioned nine different artists to produce posters advertising small businesses from across east London. The posters were displayed across the Queen Elizabeth Park for three years.


Zines!Do Well and Doubt Not was a zine for and about Tottenham in 2012, edited by Tom Keeley, published by Spacemakers.



Studio 26, Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street, London E1 6AB

To find out more about working with Associates email or call Lois Stonock on +44 (0)7896 299 754

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