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Holly May Mahoney

MA work

Peckham Pieces

Informal Education – How can a community be the bridge between school and life?

In answer to this question, me and fellow service designer Niall Morahan created Peckham Pieces – a local PR agency that is run by young people supported by mentors. Peckham Pieces helps local businesses and community groups to reach out and send their messages to everyone. We run on the basis of 'payment in kind' – clients reimburse the young people in whatever way they can – maybe a discount in their shop, a skill-swap or even some chocolate cake.

Initially, we were interested in the idea of 'informal education' – the things young people don't learn in school, but that are crucial for them to live full and happy lives. We wanted to see if the community could provide a role in giving young people this education to prepare them better for life.

We wanted to focus on Peckham for two reasons – firstly because Niall lives here and Holly lives nearby, but also because there is so much community activity in Peckham – new businesses setting up, people coming together to start projects and build things.

However, after spending a few months getting to know young people around here through our design research, we realised that they were excluded from many of the activities and opportunities to benefit – they were unaware, they felt they weren't invited, and they also felt they lacked the 'soft skills' to put themselves across properly to some aspects of the community.

We resolved to create something which built these soft skills, while also allowing them to learn about Peckham and to make new connections with people they might not otherwise meet.

So far, we've run three briefs – one from the Damilola Taylor Centre, one from Peckham Vision, and most recently a third one with TRAID. We're currently gathering support and building Peckham Pieces to last for the long haul.

Our overall vision is to build community through communication.


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Service Design, 2015

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Falmouth College of Arts, 2008
  • Experience

  • Service designer, Policy Lab UK, London, 2014 ; Freelance designer, MediaCom, London, 2013–14 ; Designer, (clients: Studio Myerscough, Beam), London, 2011–12; Information planner, Applied Information Group, London, 2008–10
  • Awards

  • ISTD Student Award, 2008; D&AD Student Award, 2008; Young Design Programme Award, 2007