Past Work

In the last five years, we have worked to radicalise environmental debate in the UK, giving others the space to push for deeper change in policy, attitudes and values. This has ranged from highlighting the urgency of the problems we face (in Climate Safety and The Green Investment Gap) to producing pioneering research into the potential for transforming our energy system (in Zero Carbon Britain and The Offshore Valuation) to advocating radical policy solutions (in Energy Bonds and Carbon Omissions).

PIRC goes flat: Twelve steps to organisational structural change 1

“It has been a bit of rollercoaster, albeit it one with no height restrictions and an office-based theme. During the process I have fluctuated between hopeful, frustrated, excited, bored, interested, determined, happy, grumpy, thankful and something that could only really be captured in a facial expression.”—Ralph

Two years ago, PIRC transitioned from a slightly dysfunctional, hierarchical organisation with a lone director to something more systematised, functional, and non-hierarchical. It’s been a proper rollercoaster. And it’s an ongoing process of experimenting and iterating.

Let me outline our experience of the twelve steps (sorry) to organisational structural change: Read more

Come and work with us!

Join our Board of Trustees!

As a small team working to understand, challenge and shift the dominant stories in our society, we are looking for both Trustees and a Chair of Trustees who can support the vision of our work, advocate what we do and enable the organisation to thrive.  The role includes maintaining the vision, purpose, goals and values of PIRC; advising on and developing strategy; and promoting the organisation to target stakeholders.

It is a very exciting time to join our Board: we have a lot of projects on the go, a new strategy in place and our flat management structure is just swell (well, we think so).

You can find full details about both the role of Chair and Trustee here. If you have any questions and/or would like to speak to a real life human (#oldskool), feel free to give us a call +44 (0)1654 70 22 77 or email .

We  particularly encourage applications from Black, Asian and minority ethnic people; disabled people and people with mental health conditions; people from the LGBTI community; and people who identify as working class (or have done in the past).

If you are in any doubt about whether you should put in an application please get in touch, we would love to talk to you.

The role:
As a board member you will help shape our strategy, policies and future development. You will be expected to attend 4 board meetings each year in the UK (location to be agreed, at least one in Machynlleth), you may also be asked to attend other ad-hoc meetings. The position is voluntary and works out at around one day a month, with a minimum term of three years in the post. We can cover expenses to attend meetings.

What we’re looking for:

  • Good judgement and the ability to listen and ask questions
  • A good communicator with leadership and interpersonal skills, able to both empower and challenge supportively
  • Able to work well as part of a diverse team of trustees and cultivate a positive Board culture
  • Committed to PIRC vision, purpose and culture – and its way of working
  • Commitment to understanding the legal duties, liabilities and responsibilities of trustees and the difference between governance functions and management functions
  • Able  and  willing  to  devote  the  necessary  time  to  the  role

Whilst we are looking for certain skills, we also want to cultivate a board with a range of perspectives that stem from different life experiences.

How to apply: Send us your CV and a covering letter explaining why you are applying to .

Deadline for applications: 25th October, 2017 (interviews will take place 6th and 7th of November in London or via Skype).

If you aren’t going to apply but know the ideal candidate then do share this opportunity with them!

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Common Cause Training: Values, Leadership & Social Change

23rd – 26th June 2015

A residential training course in the applied psychology of human motivation for communicators, organisers and leaders of social change

This summer, we’re offering three days of practical and inspiring participatory learning in the beautiful mid-Wales hills. Together, we’ll be using the Common Cause approach to explore the psychology of values and develop tools for applying it to our work. Read more

Rekindling Kindliness: Learning from Hebden Bridge 1

Last week, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released a report that calls for more kindness in communities, and outlines some ways that helpfulness and support can be encouraged.

It shows that kindness takes different forms,  not all of them equal in their impact, and it looks at a real British community (Hebden Bridge) to make recommendations that can be applied elsewhere.

The report reveals a perverse truth:  most people think that giving help is good, but that receiving or soliciting help is bad.

Vulnerability (exposing a need for help) is seen as the counterweight to dignity (maintaining self-reliance and independence). If we want an antidote to lonely, alienated Britain, it is this psychology we ultimately have to challenge.

Four of a Kind

When talking about kindness, its seems that people tend towards four different orientations.

4 Kinds of Helping - by Bec Sanderson

Here we explore what they might mean in terms of values: Read more




Values: 58 Ideas We Live By  is a beautiful deck of cards for exploring who we are, designed by Genis Carreras in collaboration with PIRC.

“Love. Creativity. Enjoyment. Curiosity. Friendship. Purpose. Psychological research shows that we are all driven by the same things – but differ in how we prioritise them. Fifty-eight values guide our lives, shaping who we are, what we do, and ultimately the kind of society we live in.”

Whether you’re just mildly interested in values or a fully fledged Common Cause geek looking for workshop material, this little deck deserves a place in your life…

Support the project and get some cards.

Hate racism, love Finland:
10 ways values link to prejudices across Europe

What do you value in life?

If you ask anybody this question, there’s surprising similarity in what people say. You can generally put people’s values into four broad groups:

  1. Change & autonomy values, such as creativity and freedom,are linked to tolerance and comfort with difference. (Openness-to-change values)
  2. Care & empathy values are all about concern for others and the environment, equality and tolerance. (Self-transcendence, or intrinsic values)
  3. Stability & security values, such as social order and respect for tradition, are associated with maintenance of the status quo and discomfort with other groups. (Conservation values)
  4. Power & competition values are linked to prejudice, discrimination, materialism and concern about status, self and money. (Self-enhancement, or extrinsic values)

We all hold all of these values, but to different degrees. These four groups work in opposition to each other as in the diagram below. Care/empathy values are opposite power/competition, and change/autonomy values oppose stability/security values. This means we’re unlikely to value one set highly if we value the other set highly. (Read more about how this works here!)

values_four_way Read more

The special theory of relationships – or why you accidently called your teacher ‘mum’

The desire to understand and classify different types of human relationships isn’t new; we’ve been pondering it for thousands of years. What rules govern our interactions? And how do relationships shape us into the people we become?

The answers aren’t immediately straight forward, because the way we interact with each other is influenced by many things: how well we know and trust people, who’s got more power, the agreed understanding of reciprocation or exchange, and whether we converge around a common interest or selfish need. These things can be very fluid, too. Think about how you’d interact with a friend, a colleague, your grandmother, in a range of different situations. While you might see these people as being in different ‘categories’ of relationship, you probably have a rich variety of ways you interact with every one of them. Moment to moment, mood to mood, you’ll be laughing, arguing, teaching, ignoring or sharing with each other, although perhaps not in equal measure.

As social creatures, our experience of relationships is a huge part of how we develop. Our values, personalities and tastes are strongly influenced by our interactions with our parents growing up, with our colleagues at work, with the natural world. And this influence goes both ways. Not only do our values inform the types of relationships we seek, but our values also change over time as a result of our relationships. By understanding this feedback loop a little better, we gain useful insights into social and environmental problems.

Relationship theory is a tool to guide better ways of talking to each other, organising our workplace, and supporting campaigns or causes. Read more