Co-Investigator
Aberystwyth University

Jesse received a BA in Human Geography with International Politics and an MA in Space, Place & Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.  Having completed his Ph.D. at the same institution on the subject of ‘Rurality, Class, Aspiration and the Emergence of a New Squirearchy’, Jesse was initially employed by DGES as a Research Assistant on a project entitled 'Rural People and the Land; a Case for Sustainable Connections'. Jesse was appointed as a Research Associate for the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods in January 2009.  A member of the localities team, his work focused on how people in mid Wales make sense of their locality, and how this translates into practice.  Jesse was awarded a Lectureship in Human Geography in Aberystwyth in April 2012.

Research Interests

Jesse’s research is situated within the broad fields of political geography, economic geography and spatial planning, being particularly concerned with rural restructuring and shifting class dynamics in the British countryside.   Currently, Jesse’s research addresses the following substantive topics:

  • The impact of relational conceptions of space: In particular, how concepts of relational space are being applied to rural studies and potential developments in this field.
  • The evolution of spatial planning practice in the devolved UK and how conceptual shifts in spatial planning policy are unfolding on the ground.  This includes a specific interest in the rise of city-regional planning and the implications of this turn in terms of the governance and development of rural space.
  • Rural gentrification and the performance of class identities in rural communities, with particular reference to the shifting composition of the rural middle class.
  • Ethnography and the ethical implications of undertaking ‘native’, ‘local’ and ‘insider’ research.
  • The connection between music and processes of region-building 

Jesse is currently working as a co-investigator on the project ‘The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Gobalization’ (GLOBAL-RURAL). This is a five-year research project (Feb 2014 - Jan 2019) funded by the European Research Council. The project aims to advance understanding of globalization and its workings in and through rural localities. The project is being led by Professor Michael Woods, and the research team includes Dr Laura Jones, Dr Marc Welsh, Dr Anthonia Onyeahialam

As part of the WISERD Civil Society Research Centre,  Jesse is convening Work Package 4.3 Ageing, Serious Leisure and the Contribution of the Grey Economy (with Dr Laura Jones and Professor Paul Milbourne). This project is set to explore the value that the non-working/ retired over 60s group attach to and extract from ‘serious leisure’ pursuits, the interaction between serious leisure and social class, and the value of serious leisure pursuits as part of the social and economic fabric of local and regional economies.


Ageing, serious leisure and the contribution of the grey economy
Overview This project will utilise a mixed methods approach, combining a strategic review of existing survey data with ethnographic observation and interviews to make a timely and original contribution to understanding the benefits of ‘serious leisure’ in retirement for the
Research Team:
Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University), Paul Milbourne (Cardiff University), Sophie Yarker (Aberystwyth University)
Centre For Welsh Politics And Society
The Centre for Welsh Politics and Society / WISERD@Aberystwyth aims to use research on Welsh politics and society, comparative studies of Wales and other nations and regions, and analyses of Wales’s global connections, to make internationally-significant cutting-edge contrib
Research Team:
Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University), Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University), Marc Welsh (Aberystwyth University), Taulant Guma (Aberystwyth University), Anwen Elias, Elin Royles (Aberystwyth University), Rhys Jones (Aberystwyth University), Anthonia Onyeahialam (Aberystwyth University), Rhys Dafydd Jones (Aberystwyth University), Dyfan Powel (Aberystwyth University), Sophie Yarker (Aberystwyth University)
GLOBAL-RURAL
‘The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Globalization (GLOBAL-RURAL)’ is a major research project funded by the European Research Council . The study aims to advance our understanding of the workings and impact of globalization in rural regions through the d
Research Team:
Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University), Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University), Anthonia Onyeahialam (Aberystwyth University), Marc Welsh (Aberystwyth University), Fidel Budy (Aberystwyth University)
Behaviour Change in Wales
Behaviour change is a topic which is of key importance to policy makers both in the Welsh Government and further afield. Behaviour change also emerged as a key theme during the WISERD localities stakeholder interviews and the subsequent stakeholder feedback sessions have ind
Research Team:
Alexandra Plows (Bangor University), Robin Mann (Bangor University), Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University)
Social Participation and Identity - NCDS Project
Overview This project was a joint venture with the Institute of Education, Centre for Longitudinal Studies and the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-cultural change (Manchester University). The main study, funded by ESRC, undertook 180 qualitative interviews with cohort memb
Research Team:
Amanda Coffey (Cardiff University), Huw Beynon (Cardiff University), Kate Moles (Cardiff University), Ian Stafford (Cardiff University), Alexandra Plows (Bangor University), Gareth Rees (Cardiff University), Gareth Williams, Howard Davis (Bangor University), Ian Rees Jones (Cardiff University), Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University), Rhys Jones (Aberystwyth University), Martin Jones (Staffordshire University)
Connected Communities: Older People's Connected Rural Lives
This project sought to problematise homogenising narratives of older people as predominately ‘static’ and ‘passive’, and therefore somehow less implicated in wider social and economic networks; perceptions compounded by the context of rural peripherality. While older people’
Research Team:
Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University), Suzie Watkin, Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University)
The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Globalization
Overview ‘The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Globalization (GLOBAL-RURAL)’ is a major research project funded by the European Research Council. The study aims to advance our understanding of the workings and impact of globalization in rural regions throu
Research Team:
Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University), Jesse Heley (Aberystwyth University), Laura Jones (Aberystwyth University), Anthonia Onyeahialam (Aberystwyth University), Rachel Vaughan, Marc Welsh (Aberystwyth University), Emily Strub
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Cultures of local economy in a Celtic fringe region
This paper seeks to help reconceptualize the spaces of local and regional economies by developing the idea of the compound economy. It is set in the context of a growing body of work in geography that emphasizes the importance of culture as a factor shaping differentiated lo...
Localities | January 2012
Workshop
CWPS Research Workshop - Global Connections Theme
25th January 2018 |
Aberystwyth
With tea, coffee and homemade cake! Project 1: Martin Burgess - “How to frame a pilot of Personal Carbon Accounts in Wales?” The Welsh Government has recently been asked to evaluate a pilot Personal Carbon Accounts scheme. It differs significantly fr...