Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Dr Sophie Yarker

Job Title: Post-doctoral Research Associate

Institution: Aberystwyth University



Role:  Post-doctoral Research Associate



I completed my PhD in Human Geography in 2014 at Newcastle University. This was an ESRC-funded research project exploring the nature and extent of local identities in the context of urban change in order to better understand how urban regeneration can impact on the sense of belonging and attachment for local residents. Prior to this I completed a Research MA in Local and Regional Development at the Centre of Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and a BA Hons in Sociology and Social Policy, also at Newcastle University.

Since completing my PhD I have worked at Newcastle University as a Teaching Fellow, mainly in the field of economic geography, whilst also working on two small internally funded research projects. The first, funded by the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal (NISR) looked at the contribution to the community and voluntary sector of African asylum seekers and refugees living in Newcastle upon Tyne and the second, funded by the Catherine Cookson foundation, explored the social history of the Marine School in South Shields and the social identity of the mariners who trained there.

Research Interests

  • Local and regional identities
  • Community resilience, wellbeing and stewardship
  • Everyday experiences of local communities
  • The role and changing nature of the community and voluntary sector
  • Post-industrial landscapes
  • Ethnographic approaches and qualitative research methods

Current Research

I am involved in two projects within the WISERD/Civil Society research programme. The majority of my time will be spent working on the project Ageing, serious leisure and the contribution of the grey economy which investigates the contributions of older people to the social and economy vibrancy and viability of rural localities through their varied voluntary participatory activities. I have a smaller role on a second project, Rethinking local civil society in an age of global connectivity.


Yarker, S (in press) ‘Social Housing as Built Heritage: The Presence and Absence of Affective Heritage’ in Tolia-Kelly, D.P, Waterton, E., and Watson, S. (eds) (2017) Heritage, Affect and Emotion: politics, practices and infrastructures. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Yarker, S (forthcoming) ‘Re-conceptualising comfort as part of local belonging: the use of confidence, commitment and irony’ Social and Cultural Geography (Accepted subject to revisions 2016).

Yarker, S (Under review) ‘The tangential meaning of urban regeneration: The cultural and social displacement, placement and re-placement of local residents in a changing urban landscape’ Urban Studies (Submitted 2016)



Latest News
Young People and Brexit

22nd March 2017

WISERD has recently been awarded ESRC funding to carry out a new interdisciplinary study into how young people in the UK feel about, and are responding to, the most significant policy issue of this Parliament: the UK’s exit from the European Union.


Poverty and Food Banks in Wales

16th March 2017

Poverty and the rise of food banks in Wales were the focus of research shared at WISERD’s latest civil society seminar, held at Cardiff last night. PhD student, David Beck and Dr Hefin Gwilym from Bangor University’s School of Social Sciences presented findings from their research exploring the experience of food poverty in Wales.


Featured Events
26 April, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Aberystwyth University (room to be confirmed)

As part of the WISERD Centre for Welsh Politics and Society Seminar Series, Dr Taulant Guma from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University presents emerging findings from the WISERD/Civil Society project on ‘Migrants, Minorities and Engagement in Local Civil Society’.