Doing Zero, a partnership project between Design Manchester and Nairobi Design Week, will be a highlight at this year’s Design Manchester events, taking place from 17-21 November.

Selected by the British Council and WWF UK as a creative commission for the #COP26 Global Climate Conference taking place in Glasgow that same month, Doing Zero is an exploration of the link between climate change and food by two local neighbourhoods – Harpurhey in North Manchester and Kawangware in West Nairobi. Community members in the two cities have taken part in joint workhops with climate experts and creatives to figure out what local people can do in their own communities to play their part in the battle to save the planet.

Climate scientists taking part in the project include:

  • the University of Manchester / Jodrell Bank astrophysicist Professor Sarah Bridle, whose recent book Food and Climate Change without the hot air looks at the issues from an everyday citizen perspective,
  • Elizabeth Onyango, CEO of Kenyan food security and climate change startup Ukulima Tech will tackle urban farming,
  • University of Reading’s Dr Simona Grasso and Dr Martin Chadwick on food technologies and crop science respectively.

12 community participants in each city are taking part in four “knowledge workshops”, followed by another four “creative workshops” to turn their insights into public information and artistic interventions to engage the wider communities.

Their story will be told in an exhibition in Manchester during November, coinciding with both the Glasgow COP26 Conference and the Design Manchester Festival.

The project is also prorotyping the idea of “connected green libraries” between local communities in different cities to co-design solutions to urban challenges, a concept that Design Manchester plans to develop further, both with Doing Zero and other city collaborations in the coming years.

See the project announcement here and launch book here.

Doing Zero is supported by the British Council. The project partners are Design Manchester, Nairobi Design Week, SICK! Festival, Standard Practice, The Boot Room, Design Kenya Society, WWF UK, Manchester Climate Change Agency, Manchester City Council, Kenya Climate Innovation Group, University of Manchester, University of Reading, Manchester Communication Academy, Dagoretti Youth Empowerment Centre Nairobi.