The Team


Dr. Kelly Dombroski

Kelly is a principal investigator for this project and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Canterbury.  She is a member of the Community Economies Collective, and has existing working relationships with Cultivate’s stakeholders (including Life in Vacant Spaces) as well as other community groups in Christchurch.  Her research interests include the home, body, and everyday life as sites of social change, as well as hybrid collectives and community economies.  Kelly is particularly interested in the transformative potential of hybrid research collectives for social and environmental change and has previously examined key concerns of community organisations seeking to care for people and planet in relation to home-making and environmental activism.

Gradon Diprose

Dr. Gradon Diprose

Gradon is also a principal investigator for this project and a Senior Lecturer at the Open Polytechnic in Wellington.  He is a member of the Community Economies Collective and has an existing relationship with members of Life in Vacant Spaces. His research  explores how alternative socio-economic practices can foster greater community wellbeing and environmental outcomes.  Gradon has done research with climate activists, food rescue groups, timebanks and artist cooperatives.



Assoc. Prof. David Conradson

David is an Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury and an associate investigator on this project.  He has existing working relationships with Christchurch community groups. His research interests include community welfare and wellbeing in Western societies. David has previously examined the work of community groups encountering others in care-full therapeutic environments, and a number of his projects are connected to recovery after the Canterbury earthquakes.


Dr. Stephen Healy

Stephen is an associate investigator for this project and a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Western Sydney.  He is also a member of the Community Economies Research Network.  Stephen developed the Community Economies Return On Investment (CEROI) tool with colleagues, which the team hopes to develop further and apply to Cultivate.  His research is concentrated on the relationship between economy, subjectivity and the enactment of new econo-socialities across a variety of topics.


Dr. Alison Watkins

Alison is the research assistant for this project.  She recently completed her PhD in health geography at the University of Canterbury. Her research focuses on the relationships between health, wellbeing, and place.