Research Associate
Aberystwyth University

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.

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.


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)
Redefining Local Civil Society in an Age of Global Inter-connectivity
Overview This project will explore how imaginaries and practices of local civil society have been stretched and reconfigured by global interconnectivities, including both the reorientation of local civil society activities around global issues and concerns, and participation
Research Team:
Michael Woods (Aberystwyth University), Jon Anderson (Cardiff University), Sophie Yarker (Aberystwyth University), Taulant Guma (Aberystwyth University)