Crafting a Circular Economy

Exploring Circular Opportunities For Designer-Makers

We know that the world is facing unprecedented challenges in relation to climate change, population growth, urbanisation and globalisation and that the current linear economic model (make, use, dispose) is not sustainable. The Circular Economy (CE) has been positioned as a means of alleviating this pressure and maintaining and replenishing the world’s resources. It also helps us to radically rethink how, where and why we make things, and what we consume.

This collaborative research project aims to build greater understanding of the work of individuals and organisations engaging with the circular economy. We are particularly interested in those developing and working on environmentally sustainable, ethical and local manufacturing systems that are/could be applied to designer-maker enterprises as a way of rethinking creative-production.

Focusing on London, we aim to map this network and identify potential service gaps or missing connections in order to support further collaboration and knowledge sharing.

From making from waste materials and developing new biodegradable ones, to repairing, refurbishing, reusing and recycling products, to developing service models, designer-makers are already integrating circular design practices into their businesses and ways of working. However, being circular as a small enterprise in a product-based industry is challenging. This initial research will support the development of a research framework and methodology to explore further opportunities and barriers for designer-makers in adopting circular design systems, practices and business models.

This research is being conducted by Dr Lauren England, Lecturer in Culture, Media & Creative Industries at King’s College London, and designer/maker Julian Leedham. The project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Institute at King’s College London.

Interested in learning more or being involved with this project, then download the full project outline document here or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you.