The Envirolution Revolution

A research project in support of citizen-led environmental activism in Manchester

The challenge

Five coloured rings around the word 'envirolution'

Envirolution is a Manchester-based cooperative which promotes citizen-led environmental and social change through community engagement events and an annual free festival in Manchester. Since 2010 the festival has hosted talks, lectures, workshops, performances and educational activities in partnership with leading figures and organisations working with environmental education and climate awareness in Manchester and the North West. 

Although this work has been documented through participants’ and organisers’ testimonies, the cooperative lacks a comprehensive impact assessment that evaluates and showcases their work to leading partners. This research project aims to fill such a gap in the documentation process by realising a full report that analyses both the quantitative data illustrating the demographics of community engagement and the experiential testimonies of its participants. 

The solution

The Research Team will create a comprehensive impact assessment based on a literature review, data analysis and questionnaire survey, which includes:

  • An impact analysis report based on a survey of Envirolution stakeholders/participants;
  • The introduction of a new research strategy and the creation of a bespoke practical evaluation tool that will guide and inform Envirolution’s work in the future;
  • The development of a conceptual framework that will elucidate and assess the model of Envirolution’s work.

Results will be disseminated via a co-authored paper for the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) conference and presented to Manchester City Council.

Research team 

  • Debapriya Chakrabarti, PhD researcher in Architecture and Urban Studies (University of Manchester, School of Environment, Education and Development)
  • Eugene Boadu, PhD Researcher in Management (Keele University, Business School)
  • Abderrahim Nekkache, PhD Researcher in Business and Management (University of Manchester, Alliance Business School)
  • Ami Crowther, PhD Researcher in Human Geography (University of Manchester, School of Environment, Education and Development)
  • Rui Cepeda, PhD Researcher in Arts and Cultural Management (University of Manchester, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures)
  • Paloma Yañez Serrano, PhD Researcher in Social Anthropology with Visual Media (University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences)


This entire experience has given me exposure to work with industrial partners and learn new communication skills. The fact that Covid-19 has meant the entire programme has been delivered online, and as a group, we have been working remotely with each other, means I have developed digital communication skills and effective ways of working within a remote team.

Debapriya Chakrabarti / The University of Manchester, School of Education, Environment and Development.
  • This research project has provided Envirolution, for the first time ever, with rich data on the impact of its community work.
  • The report offers insight into the wider community’s perception of Envirolution and their work. Better understanding of the communities that engage with the festival will help Envirolution to overcome resistance or opposition; avoid decisions that may otherwise cause conflicts; and access the goodwill of the community in the future.
  • Researchers have produced a business report which will be used to demonstrate Envirolution and its model as a useful resource to help key stakeholders achieve their environmental goals.
  • As part of the project’s data dissemination, findings were presented at the PCAN (Place-Based Climate Action Network) conference. This provided a networking opportunity for Envirolution and the ability to showcase their approach to community engagement with climate change to key stakeholders.

2020 Project Excellence Awards

This research project won the 2020 Project Excellence Awards, which recognises the significant achievements of our post-graduate and early career researchers in making a difference with their PhD skills and expertise in the wider community.

Find out more about the Project Excellence awards.


This research was published in 'Addressing the Climate Crisis: Local action in theory and practice'; a collection of cutting-edge insights into how action can and is already being taken against climate change. The book offers hope, inspiration, and analyses for multi-level climate action. It spans multiple levels of analysis, interrogating diverse perspectives and practices.

Walley B. et al. (2022), 'The Envirolution Revolution: Raising Awareness of Climate Change Creatively Through Free and Accessible Community Engagement Festivals', In: Howarth C., Lane M., Slevin A. (eds) Addressing the Climate Crisis, Palgrave Macmillan, 5 October 2021.


This project was completed in 2019-20 as part of the Collaboration Labs programme, a PhD research consultancy programme created by REALab, with funding from the ESRC, the NWCDTP and the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester.