Related people: WISERD, Robin Mann, Stephen Drinkwater, Ian Stafford, Jesse Heley, Laura Jones, Alexandra Plows, Robin Mann, Stephen Burgess, Kate Moles, Stuart Tannock, Suzie Watkin, Mike Woods, Howard Davis

As part of the second phase of the research programme, WISERD researchers have begun working on a series of mini-projects. These projects build on existing research undertaken by WISERD to date and enable further analysis of key themes and issues identified during the first phase of the WISERD research programme.

The projects are diverse in nature and include colleagues from different institutions, organisations and disciplines. Themes include immigration, welsh language, national identity, boundaries and many more. A brief summary of each project is provided below.

Welsh Speakers and the Labour Market
Research Team: Robin Mann (WISERD Bangor) Stephen Drinkwater (WISERD Swansea)
Existing quantitative evidence points to differences between Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers in terms of labour market outcomes, however little is known about the precise mechanisms underlying such differences. A range of factors have been identified which may contribute to this including educational attainment, bilingual employment policies and economic restructuring. By using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data the aim of this project is to unpack the explanations for differences in labour market outcomes to a far greater extent than has been possible with previous quantitative or qualitative studies. The project will combine examination of quantitative data on the position of Welsh speakers in the labour market with analysis of qualitative data on public sector organisations via the WISERD localities stakeholder interviews. The analysis may be enhanced by carrying out a small number of further in-depth interviews with a range of employers.

Understanding the 1996 Reorganisation of Local Government in Wales: Oral Histories
Research Team: Ian Stafford (WISERD Cardiff) Richard Wyn Jones (Wales Governance Centre)
This project is focused on exploring the decision-making process and debates which underpinned the reorganisation of local government in Wales in 1996. Given current debates around the structure of local government in Wales and the challenges of service delivery – the project aims to identify key lessons from the previous reorganisation which can be used to inform contemporary policy. The study draws on oral histories from key actors in the 1996 reorganisation process and documentary evidence.

Behaviour Change in Wales: analysing stakeholder perspectives
Research Team: Jesse Heley & Laura Jones (WISERD Aberystwyth) Alex Plows & Robin Mann (WISERD Bangor)
Linked Stakeholder: Brian Collis (Wales Council for Voluntary Action)

Behaviour change is a topic which is of key importance to policy makers both in the Welsh Government and further afield. The theme of behaviour change emerged as a prominent topic during the WISERD localities stakeholder interviews and subsequent stakeholder feedback sessions have indicated that a range of 3rd sector stakeholders in Wales are engaging with the behaviour change agenda and have expressed a need to discuss and understand the implications of behaviour change further. The project will use the localities stakeholder interview data to identify and analyse relevant data returns, identify patterns and compare and contrast these by locality or domain. Findings will be related to current academic and policy discourses.

The British Military in the South Wales Valleys
Research Team: Stephen Burgess, Kate Moles & Stuart Tannock (WISERD Cardiff)
Talk of industry in the south Wales Valleys has been preoccupied with the loss of the mining and steel industries and also the failure of foreign direct investment. This is combined with boosterism around tourism and pleas for the promise of higher education. However, there is another industrial presence in the South Wales Valleys that rarely attracts mention but plays a significant role in the lives of the young: the British armed forces and their affiliated military based industries. This project will consider what role these play and what their significance is for the Valleys youth, families and communities.

National Identity in Wales: Reassessing the Three-Wales Model
Research Team: Ian Stafford (WISERD Cardiff)
Drawing on data from the recent qualitative interviews conducted in Wales as part of the National Child Development Study and existing survey data on national identity in Wales, this project will critically assess the ‘Three Wales model’ put forward by Balsom (1987). The project aims to add to recent work on concepts of Britishness and Welshness (Andrews & Bradbury; Marinetto & Andrews) and also compliment the quantitative research being undertaken by Richard Wyn Jones & Roger Scully (Wales Governance Centre) who are exploring the Three-Wales Model using their ESRC funded Referendum and Election Surveys.

Older People’s Connected Rural Lives
Research Team: Jesse Heley, Laura Jones, Suzie Watkin & Mike Woods (WISERD Aberystwyth)
This project seeks 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. The research will investigate how older residents are shaping and can shape communities both in the present and future, with the aim of informing policy and politics. The assumption that older residents do not, cannot, or will not contribute to sustainability agendas (environmentally, socially, economically and otherwise) will be considered. Research will primarily be through methods of in-depth qualitative interviewing, which will potentially be combined with other mixed methods approaches including the use of GIS/geo-tagging.

Responses to Redundancy at Anglesey Aluminium: Narratives of Transition
Research Team: Alex Plows & Howard Davis (WISERD Bangor) Rhys Davies (WISERD Cardiff)
This project is concerned with the impact on workers, their families and neighbourhoods of the closure of the Anglesey Aluminium (AA) smelter in September 2009. The project will incorporate such aspects as the spatial dimension of individual transitions from employment to unemployment and back to employment; self employment or business start-up; the time dimension, as transitions become more complex and sometimes prolonged; opportunities available through the global strategies of multi-national firms; and the role of trade unions. The project will combine some secondary analysis of data concerning the regional economic environment and social inequalities with qualitative data derived from biographical narrative interviews with ex-employees at Anglesey Aluminium and semi-structured interviews with other stakeholders.

Heads of the Valleys Boundaries
Research Team: Kate Moles & Stephen Burgess (WISERD Cardiff)
The project will aim to engage with the various ways that the Heads of the Valleys region has been bound. Research will draw on policy documents; the WISERD localities stakeholder interviews and some small scale follow up interviews, engaging with different levels of stakeholders (for example: residents, community activists, etc). The research team will look at the ways different knowledge regimes use, adopt, disrupt, corrupt and embrace the various and shifting definitions of the Heads of the Valleys region.


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