6 July 2022

PPP Conference 2022

Breaking down barriers: increasing inclusion across society

at Sheffield Hallam University


This is an interactive programme for use throughout the day. Please note that each item is collapsible which will reveal abstract and biography information for each paper that will be presented during the course of the conference. Where available you will also be able to download copies of presentations. A PDF version is also available.

09:30-10:30 Welcome & Keynote Address (Room: 9130)

Keynote: Network and neighbourhood effects in exacerbating and overcoming digital inequalities

Prof. Ellen J. Helsper (London School of Economics and Political Science)

During the pandemic society had no choice but to race at an accelerated speed towards digitisation and the consequences of inequalities in access to and use of digital technologies became excruciatingly clear. Those who did not have the opportunity or ability to engage with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) were excluded from opportunities that allowed others to access resources and maintain greater levels of wellbeing during difficult times. Academic research into the causes of digital inequalities has focussed on the links between historical inequalities in economic, social and cultural resources between individuals from different backgrounds and how these determine their access to digital opportunities. Solutions to tackling digital inequalities have, therefore, focussed on guaranteeing access to (cheap) devices and connectivity, skills training, and making sure content is available that is relevant to all.

However, it has become increasingly clear that these individualistic approaches are failing to provide a satisfactory explanation or have the desired effect in practice. The incorporation of network and neighbourhood effects theories into thinking about socio-digital inequalities might offer an answer. This talk will discuss how the social and digital environments that people grow up, live, study and work in shape their perceptions of what ICTs can, should be and are used for and what the benefits and risks are of engaging in the digital world. Using quantitative and qualitative data from projects that map inequalities around the world I will argue that a change in perspective is needed that takes a more collective, localised approach to understanding the causes (and the consequences) of digital inequalities.

Prof. Helsper is a Professor of Digital Inequalities, and her research focuses on the links between social and digital inequalities. Recent projects have included work on digital skills; and connected cities and inclusive growth.

10:30-10:45 Comfort Break

10:45-12:30 Session 1, Stream 1: Voluntary and Community Sector (Room: 9132)

Paper 1: Exploring the role of Community & Voluntary sector organisations in diabetes care of underserved communities

Lucie Nield

The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the important and diverse role of Community and Voluntary Sector (CVS) organisations and as such has elevated their profile within communities and the wider healthcare structure with specific recognition of their ability to enable health promotion and develop tailored population health approaches. Due to the flexible nature of their services and deep understanding of the communities they serve, CVS organisations are able to provide support to underserved communities and individuals who may not access traditional healthcare settings due to structural, systemic or environmental inequalities. Prevalence of type two diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is known to correlate with socio-economic inequalities, with higher levels of T2DM seen in more deprived areas and so provides a suitable lens through which to explore these ideas.

The purpose of this study is, to develop better outcomes for people living with T2DM by collecting user perspectives and stories of people with lived experience and evaluating the combined service offers across the health and care system.

It is a qualitative study using interviews which will capture the thoughts and stories of individuals in underserved communities within Sheffield and will allow a deeper understanding of the way these communities access and benefit from CVS organisation support throughout their diabetes journey. We will employ appreciative enquiry methodology within the work to elicit the positive attributes of services that are identified by participants.

This work will present our preliminary findings and will consider what we can learn from these experiences, and how we can embed this new knowledge into the current statutory system to facilitate a more joined up and community-focussed service and respond to the diabetes care aspirations of the communities.

I am the co-lead for the Systems, Services and Strategy in Health and Care research portfolio at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), Sheffield Hallam University where I have responsibility for developing research networks, and the production of high-quality research and publications. The research focusses on whole systems approaches, coproduction methodologies and complex evaluations of interventions, systems, services and strategy which help to address health inequalities.

My research portfolio to date focuses primarily on obesity management, diabetes and the impact of diet during pregnancy; in addition to food poverty and malnutrition. I am expanding my research portfolio with further work in sociocultural research and completing my PhD by publication. My PhD, provisionally entitled “A multimethod exploration of the impact of lifestyle behaviours on weight management” aims to uncover some of the “missing” knowledge to help feed into weight management services and public health interventions and give weight to the patient voice with the ultimate aim of driving change to maximise the effectiveness of interventions which respond to the needs of the populations.

Paper 2: A more inclusive approach to women’s charitable organisations in Voluntary and Community Sector research

Lorna Dowrick

To date it has not been possible to easily identify women’s charitable organisations within widely used sources of data for voluntary and community sector (VCS) research. This has implications for identifying women’s organisations within research in the sector, in particular research that looks at the impact of policy, distribution of resources or the availability of specialist services for women. This presentation uses early findings from a PhD research project identifying and exploring the field of women’s organisations. It highlights the importance of reflecting on the process of identification itself, explores early data on who may be women’s charitable organisations, their purposes and access to resources and invites reflection on what a more inclusive approach to women’s organisations in VCS research could look like.

Lorna Dowrick
is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded final year PhD student at the Centre for Regional, Economic and Social Research (CRESR). Lorna’s mixed method research is focused on women’s charitable organisations and their development during the period from 2008 to 2020. Lorna has worked in the voluntary and community sector over the last 20 years, specialising in community development approaches and developing community-based projects.

Paper 3: Volunteering and activism in a pandemic-affected world: resisting and advancing traditions at the same time

Rosemary Joiner

My study began with a focus on existing trends in research measuring the impact of volunteering. My literature review illuminated the research focus on measuring volunteering impact using largely economic parameters. This presented an opportunity to consider an innovative research model in this field in order to measure and explore the long-term whole-of-life impact of volunteering.

Much has been said about the value of volunteering and activism. I will explore the role volunteering and activism play in a pandemic-affected world: resisting and advancing traditions simultaneously.

Rosemary Joiner is a PhD candidate at the Federation University School of Arts in Melbourne Australia. Her research focuses on practice-based creative research to measure and capture the impact of volunteering. She is particularly interested in understanding what practice-based creative research allows that traditional research methods do not across various disciplines. She has a Master of Arts (Writing) degree and has over 15 years’ industry experience as a leader of community engagement, volunteer engagement and strategic work focused on diversity and inclusion, and gender equality.

10:45-12:30 Session 1, Stream 2: Economic development and inclusive economies (Room: 9129)

Paper 1: Evaluating Economies for Healthier Lives: understanding how joint action across health and economic development and can address health inequalities

Sharlene McGee and Liz Cairncross

The Health Foundation’s Economies for Healthier Lives programme emerged from a recognition that: economic development strategies can be powerful mechanisms to improve health and reduce health inequalities; and that many opportunities to use economic development to improve people’s health are missed at the local level because economic development and public health strategies tend to be designed separately.

Four partnerships, led by a local authority or a statutory regional body (Glasgow City Region, Havant Borough Council, Leeds City Council, Liverpool City Region) are each receiving funding over three years to support economic development projects to improve health and reduce health inequalities. The projects will test approaches to systems change to generate insights with wide applicability in both practice and policy but also across different types of places.

The programme’s formative and process evaluation will assess the effectiveness of this approach at programme level. It aims to:

  • Identify mechanisms that facilitate or obstruct the development and sustainability of partnerships between health and economic development to improve health.

  • Provide a better understanding of which system levers can be changed to build or influence economic interventions which aim to reduce health inequality.

  • Understand how the programme is meeting its objectives and draw out lessons and insights from the design and delivery of the programme for the Health Foundation and other contexts.

The evaluation is informed by a placed-based and system change framework developed by Clear Horizon for the Australian Government (Dart, 2018). It maps the programme into two strands:

  1. “Change in places”: the change that is produced directly by interventions aiming to bridge the gap between health and economic development in a given place.

  2. “Change beyond places”: change produced more widely by programme partners.

Key evaluation questions for the evaluation are:

  • What are the ‘foundations’ that each local partnership are starting from?

  • What new insights are generated about how to build capacity and closer working between public health and economic development at a local and/or regional level?

  • To what extent have enablers for change mapped in the Theory of Change started to materialise across projects? Are other enablers or barriers emerging that are not currently in the theory of change?

  • How are wider stakeholders external to the programme engaging with the programme and how do they perceive the strengths and weaknesses of the programme?

  • To what extent have programme objectives been achieved? What are the barriers or enablers to this?

  • What are the lessons, including unintended consequences, for programme design and delivery for funders and wider stakeholders for the future?


Dart, J. (2018) Place-based Evaluation Framework: A national guide for evaluation of place-based approaches, report, Commissioned by the Queensland Government Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors (DCDSS) and the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS).

Sharlene McGee
is Policy Manager at the Health Foundation. Her work is focussed on the links between economic inequalities and poor health outcomes and the role that business has in tackling health inequalities. Previously, Sharlene worked at the European Parliament on women’s rights and gender equality, as well as working for charities representing disabled people and unpaid carers across welfare, employment and social care policy.

Liz Cairncross is an Associate Research Manager at the Health Foundation. She works with the Healthy Lives and Policy Teams on health and inequalities. Liz has worked in consultancy, and as a researcher in housing, health and social care at Oxford Brookes, Glasgow and Warwick universities.

Paper 2: Economic Security, Work & Young People: lessons from the RSA's economic security stream

Toby Murray


This paper presents findings from the RSA’s economic security research stream, and situates them within broader contemporary debates about economic inclusion. The RSA are seeking to promote an understanding of economic inclusion centred on enabling a fulfilling life, with well-paid, good quality work, access to public services, education opportunities and a comprehensive safety net in the event of crisis. Our research challenges the dominant notion that work is the best route to economic inclusion, and highlights the experiences of particular groups who suffer from insecurity.

The RSA’s economic security stream has sought to understand how economic security is experienced by people across the country, through a range of projects and approaches. The paper begins by setting out the RSA’s distinctive framing of economic security and explaining how it offers a more expansive understanding of society than mainstream policy measures.

From there, it will give an overview of findings from across these different projects, demonstrating the high level of insecurity within the UK (our analysis of Understanding Society data found that 23 percent of people in the UK report having low or very low economic security), as well as exploring its prevalence across key populations.

This paper will also discuss findings from the RSA’s Young People’s Future Health & Economic Security research, supported by the Health Foundation. It will explore how conditions are acutely difficult for young people with 47 percent of 16-24-year-olds being financially precarious. The paper will give an overview of the participatory approach the research has taken so far, before exploring findings from our recent research report The Cost of Independence, which draws on a national survey of young people and interpretation from the project’s Young Person Advisory Group.

The paper concludes with policy shifts and recommendations that have emerged from across the RSA’s economic security stream, including non-discriminatory and long-term policymaking, for example by improving and expanding the provision of statutory sick pay, or trialling a UBI scheme that would lessen the difficulties associated with entering and leaving the workforce.


Toby Murray is a Senior Policy Researcher at the RSA. He leads the RSA’s work on young people’s future health and economic security. This project explores how young people experience economic insecurity and how it affects their present and future health by amplifying young people’s voices and championing reform protecting and promoting their economic security. This project is part of The Health Foundation’s Young people’s future health inquiry.

Previously Toby managed major strategic partnerships for the RSA’s Fair Education and Regenerative Futures programmes. Before joining the RSA, Toby completed a Masters in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and worked for a leading small anti-poverty charity, the Northampton Hope Centre.

Paper 3: Exploring value in alternative forms of local economic development – a new language of inclusion?

Rich Crisp and Peter Wells

There has been growing debate about the purpose of local economic development. This has been inspired by new thinking around how we should define value (e.g. Mazzucato, 2016). A range of ‘beyond GDP’ frameworks such as Doughnut Economics, Community Wealth Building and the Foundational Economy are gaining traction as local actors challenge ‘conventional’ forms of economic development that seek to maximise growth (often) at the expense of social, environmental and distributional benefits. This presentation examines some emergent UK-based local policy responses that seek explicitly or implicitly to redefine the aims and values which underpin local economic development by drawing on concepts such as wellbeing, belonging and capabilities. To date these responses have not been analysed through the lens of value and how they are informed by new debates about what constitutes the ‘good life’ (Onward, 2022). Our contribution is, first, to sketch out the theoretical underpinnings of these policy responses, and, second, to locate these with wider political economy debates about how economic life can be reconfigured to support inclusion and sustainability.

10:45-12:30 Session 1, Stream 3: Housing and Community (Room: 9128)

Paper 1: Incomers: The Experience of Households Moving into a West Yorkshire Mining Village

John Erskine

The long-term viability of the UK's ex-mining communities has been a concern of public policy since the 1960's. Planning and regeneration policies under New Labour identified the development of new housing and tenure diversification in these communities as a response. This policy direction dovetailed with pressures on local authorities to resolve housing allocations within statutory plans at sub-regional level; presenting opportunities to transfer housing allocations both within and between local authority areas. In both West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire the willingness of coalfield local authorities to accept housing allocations relieved development pressure on authorities where there was increasing resistance to new development. However, whilst the planning process could create housing development opportunities, enabled in part by regeneration funding, and housebuilding levels rose across the Yorkshire Coalfield, the scope to develop infrastructure to support inward migrants from elsewhere in the region was limited.

This presentation focusses on the lived experience of households which made the move. Researching the household strategies of individuals and families within a mining village in West Yorkshire in 2016-2017, it was clear that for many of the incomers from elsewhere in the region, their new location had some benefits, but they also experienced significant problems in their new community. These included poor transport linkages, a lack of childcare facilities and a poorly developed retail offer. In addition, it was clear that they had limited access to local networks of social support, which made looking after children and other meeting other household needs more difficult.

Through examinations of the stories of selected respondents, these problems will be examined in detail, and conclusions drawn both for further scholarship and for policy.

John Erskine
completed a a PhD within the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Sheffield University in 2021, focussing on household strategies in a Yorkshire ex-mining village.

Before starting his PhD, John had a lengthy career in economic development and regeneration, starting with Leeds City Council in 1985. This was followed by work for a number of local authorities, including over twenty years with Wakefield Council, as well as periods with Yorkshire Forward and the Homes and Communities Agency (now Homes England). During his career, John's primary interest was in policies and programmes which created paths to economic opportunity for people in disadvantaged areas; and the subject matter and research approach of his PhD reflected this professional experience.

Paper 2: Role of enabling hubs in community-led housing in England

Philippa Hughes

This presentation considers the role of local support infrastructure, known as ‘enabling hubs’ in growing community-led housing in England. It is based on findings from my PhD research ‘Scaling-up community-led housing’. The research is based on fieldwork in three case study enabling hub areas, supplemented by interviews with national actors.

‘Community-led housing’ is an umbrella term used in England for a sector that includes Community Land Trusts, Cohousing, Co-operative and self-build initiatives among other practices. These practices have received significant interest from activists, researchers, and policy makers in recent years. This has been accompanied by intermittent tranches of government funding, and the creation of a support infrastructure of local enabling hubs (Lang & Mullins, 2019). During a recent period of investment from national government a layer of regional infrastructure, or “enabling hubs” was established to promote and support community-led housing projects. These hubs have taken different form in different localities.

The finding presented here are a summary of my response to my third thesis research question which seeks to understand how actors understand the role of the enabling hub and its position within the institutional framework that community-led housing operates within. This presentation discusses the activities of these hubs over their first years of activity and participants perceptions of attempts to formalise the support infrastructure. It describes the significant challenges which hubs have faced in establishing themselves and maintaining activity due to fluctuation in available resources. It further discusses different roles that hubs have undertaken, as advice providers and a link for resources, a nexus of relationships and housing organisations in their own right. The presentation reflects on the enduring appeal of a support infrastructure and inherent challenges in maintaining such activity.

Paper 3: Real estate exclusion: when the locals are invisible in their own land

Laia Darder

Gentrification in a city like Palma, in the Balearic Islands (Spain), has resulted in rapid and extensive transformation. City quarters formerly inhabited by citizens involved in the fishing and trading industries have been turned into desirable foodie and short-stay city destinations. But beyond these visible changes of entire areas of the city, the underlying economic activities of foreign investors, many of whom are British, has now had a greater impact on luxury real estate, and the population dynamics in Palma.

An increasingly limited access to affordable housing has been felt in Palma, together with the replacement of local inhabitants by those with higher acquisitive power. Importantly, the displacement of the local language, Catalan, highlights a disconnect between the place and its inhabitants.

In this paper I will present the results of a qualitative study of language landscapes, pointing out how language choice in the advertising of real estate can act as a highly symbolic tool for exclusion, favouring northern European colonialist practices by which locals are othered, and where a legitimised economic power rules over the locals’ material reality, subject to alien principles of land ownership and trading. Nevertheless, acts of resistance make an appearance in Catalan, concluding that the external economic forces can encounter resistance amongst the locale, in their own language and for the in-group.

Dr Laia Darder is a senior lecturer in modern languages and linguistics at Sheffield Hallam University. She has previously held positions at Brown University (US) and the University of Sheffield. She has an interest in the social representation of languages and varieties, and the space they occupy, be it in media or in a city, as part of the linguistic landscape. This paper is part of an exploration of the inequalities that exist in her hometown, where the language of the natives is excluded and rendered invisible in luxury real estate business.

Paper 4: Unpacking (lack of) diversity in community-led housing

Yael Arbell

The housing crisis means that people cannot access enough homes of the right sort: affordable, in the right place, in the right layout, with the right neighbours and with the right level of energy efficiency. Community-led housing offers bespoke solutions to communities, but sometimes this highly tailored approach means that these communities become, by definition, exclusive. This paper brings together different aspects of diversity in the sector, including age, ethnicity, income, education, sexuality and gender. It explores the state of the sector; identifies key issues and the way they intersect; and points at possible solutions to the tension between building a community that meets residents’ needs and the sector’s desire to offer this opportunity to groups that are currently excluded. drawing on examples from several research projects and a range of communities in the UK, it explores the benefits and challenges of diversity within communities and across the sector.

Yael Arbell
is a research associate at CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University. Her research focuses on community-led housing, racial justice and inclusion. Her current research involves collaborations with practitioners in the community-led housing sector, to identify barriers to participation for BME communities and explore the potential of cohousing projects led by social housing providers. She is involved in promoting inclusion and diversity within the cohousing sector, both as a member of a diverse cohousing scheme and as a contributor to the diversity section in the UK Cohousing Guide.

10:45-12:30 Session 1, Stream 4: Promoting inclusivity (Room: 9137)

Paper 1: “What makes me well-placed when other people might struggle?” - Elite positions of patronage in Wales

Amy Sanders

This paper explores institutional practices to increase inclusion in elite positions in Welsh charities. The theoretical framework draws on literature of elite reproduction, recognising differing forms of capital confer access to civil society’s positions of influence (Bourdieu, 2018). Equalities literature recognises formal equality of opportunity practices and informal networks utilised by excluded groups to develop separate public spheres (counter-publics) (Fraser, 1990). Voluntary sector studies acknowledge civil society discourses diverge across UK devolved nations. These literatures are synthesised by asking; to what extent is privileged access to elite positions within Welsh civil society shaped by informal networks? How do formal and informal recruitment practices for elite civil society positions lead to civic exclusion and/or civic expansion?

Case studies were purposively selected to draw on cultural, economic, educational and political capital and counter-publics of disadvantaged communities in key Welsh charities. Semi-structured elite interviews with trustees and other senior patrons were undertaken. Discourse analysis was used (Wodak, 2001), with a discursive institutionalist lens on formal processes and informal practices (Schmidt, 2008).

Emergent findings reveal interviewees were cognisant of privilege derived from class, profession, gender, age and ‘race’. Institutional adaptations to increase inclusion were reflected in formal processes and informal discourses. An imperative for younger people’s inclusion at earlier life stages dominated accounts, whilst gender equality was advanced through informal mentoring. Inclusionary discourses concerning other protected characteristics were absent. Pandemic-inspired digital practices were perceived as inclusive but inhibited informal relations. Advancing organisational interests can constrain inclusionary practices. This study’s contribution is to recognise that resistance to formal equalities strategies, previously described by feminist political scientists (Celis and Lovenduski, 2018) is found in institutional layering within charities. Furthermore, it reveals that hierarchies of inequality relating to the political salience of differing equalities issues (Verloo, 2006) are reflected in the institutional practices of civil society.


Bourdieu, P. (2018) Social Space and the Genesis of Appropriated Physical Space. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 42(1), pp. 106-114. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12534.

Celis, K. and Lovenduski, J. (2018) Power struggles: gender equality in political representation. European Journal of Politics and Gender, 1(1-2), pp. 149-166. doi: 10.1332/251510818X15272520831085.

Fraser, N. (1990) Rethinking the Public Sphere. Social text, 8(3), p. 56.

Schmidt, V. (2008) Discursive Institutionalim: The Explanatory Power of Ideas and Discourse. Annual Review of Political Science, 11, p. 23.

Verloo, M. (2006) Multiple Inequalities, Intersectionality and the European Union. European Journal of Women's Studies, 13(3), pp. 211-228. doi: 10.1177/1350506806065753

Wodak, R. (2001) What CDA is about; a summary of its history, important concepts and its developments. In: Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. eds. "Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis". London: Sage.


Dr Amy Sanders is a Research Associate in Aberystwyth University and is a member of Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD). Her research interests lie in equalities and how civil society engages in equalities policymaking. Research projects that she is currently involved with include an examination of patronage, elites and power relations in Welsh charities, and a second one that explores how populism and political polarisation impact on local civil society. She joined WISERD during her Ph.D. at Cardiff University on the subject of ‘Institutionalising equalities? Exploring the engagement of equalities organisations in the Welsh third sector-government partnership'. Prior to this, Amy spent over 16 years working on projects that brought the third sector and public sector together. She was a director of a Welsh workers cooperative which promoted equality, rights and citizen engagement, and she delivered participative projects for Welsh Government, local and public authorities and third sector organisations across Wales. She has also served as a Community Development Officer in a Community House, and the Swansea Anti-Poverty Officer when she coordinated Swansea Poverty Action Network. Amy Sanders was awarded a BSc. Econ. and MSc. Econ. from the University of Wales, Swansea.

Paper 2: Breaking down barriers or putting them up? Festivals, events and the inclusivity of urban parks

Andrew Smith, Didem Ertem and Goran Vodicka

Programming can provide flexible ways of connecting city parks to surrounding communities, helping to attract a range of users. Festivals, events and other activities can make parks more inclusive, especially when local communities are involved in organising them. However, these events can also exclude, especially when the main aim is to generate income to help pay for parks. Local government budget cuts and ongoing neoliberalisation mean this is an increasingly common objective for organisations responsible for managing UK parks. Despite increased attention to activating and animating public spaces in academic work and policy discourses, there is surprisingly little written about programming parks. This paper examines the implications of staging festivals and events for the inclusivity of parks by assessing the ways they affect other park activities and everyday use. The paper is based on detailed analysis of Finsbury Park in London which hosts a wide range of organised activities and events every year. The research involved regular observations of the park at times when organised events/activities were and weren’t happening, over an extended period. This included weekly observations pre-pandemic (2019-20), and another extensive set of observations once restrictions had eased (2021-22). Examples of festival and events that contribute positively to the park’s inclusivity are identified, but the paper also notes the incompatibility of some events with inclusion objectives. Various problems associated with programming driven by financial objectives are discussed, especially the exclusive nature of large scale music festivals. Whilst some events and activities help to break down barriers that restrict park use, fenced festivals are responsible for introducing physical, financial and symbolic barriers. The paper highlights the potential value of programming to achieve greater inclusion. However, it also concludes that over-programming should be avoided and recommends a looser approach that blurs the lines between organised events and more informal socialising.

Andrew Smith is Professor of Urban Experiences in the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster. He leads the University's inter-disciplinary Research Community dedicated to Sustainable Cities and the Urban Environment. His research addresses city events, exploring how these affect urban places and public spaces, particularly public parks. From 2019-2022 he was a PI on the HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) funded FESTSPACE project which examined how festivals and events affect the inclusiveness of public spaces.

Didem Ertem is a PhD Student in the School of Architecture and Cities at the University of Westminster. She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Istanbul Technical University and a Masters degree in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her current studies focus on inter-ethnic informal events and convivial practices in Finsbury Park, London. She is interested in anti-racist studies, migration and citizenship, and public space.

Goran Vodicka is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. His research is mainly focused on diversity and equity in public open spaces as well as socially engaged spatial practice and pedagogy. Until recently he was a Research Fellow on the FESTSPACE project funded by HERA, exploring sociability in public spaces across five European cities. He is also an Associate of Architecture Sans Frontières-UK (ASF-UK), a non-profit organisation that supports communities and practitioners in codesigning more equitable cities.

Paper 3: NGO-led Rural Development in Egypt

Hoda Elhalaby

Rural Egypt, where 57% of the Egyptian population live (CAPMAS, 2017) suffers from poverty. Several measures have been taken towards poverty alleviation in rural Egypt: the government on its side made several trials to enhance the rural situation, NGOs also have played a significant role in promoting rural development. However, despite the disappointing results and the rise in the poverty rate, as assessed by aggregate poverty measurement (CAPMAS, 2017), it is remarkable to witness the continuity of those development ideas implemented by or through NGOs. A general approach to village development appears to have institutionalized into a specific set of procedures, with clear prioritization of physical over human development interventions and without highlighting the intended beneficiaries’ perspective. This paper is based on the research which aims to unpack the nature of NGO-led village development, the aid chains, actors, perspectives, and motivations. This presentation will highlight the different perspectives of the actors involved through presenting some initial findings and analysis from the qualitative fieldwork completed in 2020.

CAPMAS. (2017). Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Egypt.

Hoda El Halaby is an Egyptian architect and academic. She graduated in 2011 from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering Cairo University, where she pursued a master’s degree in architecture focusing on the ‘Principles for a Successful Riverfront regeneration, with special reference to Cairo’. Between 2012 and 2017, Hoda practiced architecture, worked as an Assistant Lecturer at the University, and volunteered at an NGO which aimed at promoting the development of poor villages in rural Egypt. This experience sparked her interest in the development discourse and thus she began her PhD journey in 2018 at the University of Sheffield to investigate the nature of ‘NGO-led village Development in Egypt’.

12:30-13:15 Lunch

13:15-14:45 Session 2, Stream 1: Digital Inclusion (Room: 9132)

Paper 1: Digitalisation without detriment: A research agenda for digital inclusion in the future energy system

Caitlin Robinson, Matthew Scott and Joseph Chambers

It is increasingly recognised in the UK that the future energy system will be digitalised, and that end-user engagements with this system will be digitally mediated by smart ICT. The digitalisation of the energy system promises significant benefits, but also risks replicating and entrenching persistent inequalities in the ability of households to access adequate energy services. This short paper explores the links between energy system digitalisation, digital exclusion, and energy poverty, with the wider aim of sketching out a research agenda for understanding the risks, opportunities, and inequalities latent within the transition to a digitalised energy system in the UK. Drawing on a review of relevant literatures, the concept of social relations, developed by Middlemiss and Hargreaves (2020), and the outcomes a stakeholder workshop held in May 2021, the paper identifies five areas worthy of further research and analysis: 1) the role of financial exclusion and asset affordability in shaping digital inclusion/exclusion, 2) issues of time and temporality, 3) the role of trust in shaping engagements with digital technologies, 4) language, literacy, and communication, and 5) the uneven impacts of digital exclusion on different social groups. The paper concludes by dwelling on the practical challenges and implications of pursuing this agenda.

Dr Cait Robinson is an Academic Fellow and Proleptic Lecturer in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol. As a quantitative human geographer, she is interested in understanding different forms of spatial inequality, using mapping techniques. Cait has a particular interest in researching issues of energy poverty and energy justice.

Dr Matthew Scott is Research and Policy Officer at National Energy Action, the national fuel poverty charity working across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to ensure everyone can live in a warm and safe home. He works across a range of NEA’s research, policy, and evaluation projects, and leads NEA’s research work on digital inclusion.

Dr Joseph Chambers is Public Digital Lead at Lewisham Council, focussed on developing digital infrastructure across the borough and tackling digital exclusion.

Paper 2: How e-commerce is adopted to shape inclusive development approach for lagged-behind rural communities in West China?

Yitian Ren

Recent development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructures such as Internet, smartphones and online social networks has contributed to the rapid growth of e-commerce, which has gradually changed people’s lifestyle and begun to play an essential role in socioeconomic transition. Though ICT infrastructure and e-commerce emerged first in urban area, they are increasingly becoming a profound influencing factor for rural society’s development in addressing their conventional deprivations such as geographical isolation and information asymmetry. Amid the wave of ICT development, digital transformation and e-commerce growth, a new form of regional development based on online e-commerce platforms has recently emerged in rural China since 2010s (among which some rural villages developing e-commerce activities by Taobao platform are defined as Taobao village if certain criteria are met). E-commerce platform promotes inclusiveness of remote and poor areas into the modern economy and its engagement with development in rural China illustrates how the internet promotes inclusion, efficiency, and innovation in development. Extant literature in the field presents limitations in deciphering how this e-commerce driven development mode is established across different stakeholders in the specificity context of Chinese rural society, also, previous research works tend to focus predominantly upon rural e-commerce practices in the East coastal region of the county, where the socioeconomic backgrounds distinguish significantly from the less-touched West counterparts. This study therefore aims to investigate how e-commerce as emerging platform technological forces are exploited and harnessed towards rural revitalisation in the less-developed West China. Empirical evidences will be drawn from e-commerce development trajectory and mechanism in a county (xian) of Chongqing Municipality of West China. Particularly, the stakeholders interplay and multi-faceted impacts of rural e-commerce development will be synthesised to generate implications for e-commerce catalysed rural breakthrough development in China and in a wider context of Global South.

Paper 3: Defining a minimum digital living standard for the UK

Matt Padley, Abigail Davis and Katherine Hill

The last two years have served to elevate awareness and discussion of the realities and consequences of digital exclusion within the UK. While the challenges posed by digital inequalities are not new, Covid-19 has reinforced the importance of being able to participate in the ‘digital’ world and revealed what happens when households face barriers which prevent such participation. In this context, this paper outlines the initial stages of research to establish a Minimum Digital Living Standard (MDLS) for households with children in the UK. The research, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, builds on the established Minimum Income Standard (MIS) methodology which has, since 2008, used deliberative methods to establish and describe a minimum living standard based on and rooted in public consensus. MIS develops detailed budgets, listing the goods and services needed by a range of different households to provide a minimum socially acceptable standard of living that meets material needs but also enables social participation and inclusion. Just as MIS determines a ‘participation income’ needed in order to achieve a minimum living standard, so this MDLS research will establish a ‘digital participation threshold’ below which individuals do not have all they need to take part in ordinary living patterns, customs and activities in the UK. The paper outlines the findings of deliberative focus groups with different household types to develop a shared definition of a minimum digital living standard. It explores group discussions of digital inclusion and exclusion, public understanding of the concept of ‘digital’, and the key elements of a minimum digital living standard definition.

13:15-14:45 Session 2, Stream 2: Homelessness and Place (Room: 9129)

Paper 1: “Professionals only please”: Discrimination against housing benefit recipients on online rental platforms

Jed Meers

Based on an analysis of 31,909 listings on SpareRoom.co.uk – the self-proclaimed “#1 Flatshare site in the UK” – this paper makes two arguments. First, that housing benefit recipients are systemically excluded from listings on online flat-sharing websites through the construction of the “professional” prospective tenant. The UK’s much derided “No DSS” has evolved into a “professionals only” proxy. This is not confined solely to landlords and agents posting on the platform – it is also reflected by sitting tenants advertising spare rooms. Second, that the design of the SpareRoom.co.uk platform exacerbates this exclusion by facilitating the use of this “professional” construction. Through the design of inputs and built-in classifications within the platform, users posting listings are prompted to select from a finite list of housemate preferences, which in turn increases the number of listings adopting exclusionary practices. These findings have implications for research on low-income renters, “generation rent” and the role of online renting platforms.

Paper 2: Public Spaces Protection Orders: Consultations with marginalised groups and recommendations for greater inclusivity

Benjamin Archer

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are an anti-social behaviour power introduced by local authorities against designated public spaces, containing prohibitions and requirements regulating the behaviours of public space users therein. Anyone found to be in breach of a prohibition or requirement within a PSPO can receive a £100 fixed-penalty notice or a fine of up to £1,000 in the Magistrates Court. The existing limited commentary concerning PSPOs has highlighted their potential for enforcement predominantly against vulnerable population groups.

As part of the statutory requirements of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, local authorities are expected to hold consultations before introducing a PSPO. This paper explores findings of limited consultations with three vulnerable population groups: street-sleeping homeless people, young people, and multi-cultural communities, finding that these citizens are inadequately consulted with during the introduction of a PSPO.

Reflecting upon these findings and their potential impact, this presentation makes recommendations for greater inclusion of marginalised groups in the future implementation of PSPOs.

Benjamin Archer is a Lecturer in Law within the Department of Law and Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University. He is also a joint-funded Sheffield Institute for Policy Studies and Doctoral Training Alliance PhD student, whose research focuses on the implementation of Public Spaces Protection Orders by local authorities. His research interests include anti-social behaviour, public space management and greenspaces.

Paper 3: The intended and actual outcomes of hostel accommodation: a critical realist explanation

Lynne McMordie

This paper makes a case for the utility of Critical Realism in allowing for movement beyond debates about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ hostels, allowing for the identification of 'necessary' truths about provision that combines those features. It draws on critical realism to distinguish between three ontological domains of reality – the real, the actual, and the empirical - with this stratified ontology then allowing for a close exploration of the divergence between the intended and actual outcomes of hostel accommodation. It argues that the intended outcomes of hostel accommodation - safety, independence, social inclusion, and progress – are vital to human wellbeing and that living environments that enable the actualisation of these outcomes ought to be valued. The necessary tendencies of hostel accommodation are, however, strongly oriented against the actualisation of these outcomes, toward their anthesis (in the form of harm, dependence, exclusion, and entrenchment). This paper argues that the necessary tendencies of hostel accommodation remain consistent across place and time and are present even where they are not actualised in empirical events. While hostels can (sometimes) generate intended outcomes, doing so requires purposeful and resource intensive efforts. Even with clear intent, consistent effort, and optimal conditions, hostels often actualise outcomes that are not only contrary to those intended but are (at least in part) generative of the need and demand that informs the basis of that intention. This means that hostel accommodation is not only ill-suited to generating its intended outcomes but is also generative of illusory and contingent versions of the need it seeks to address.

Lynne McMordie
is a Research Associate at I-SPHERE (Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research), Heriot-Watt University. Her research focuses on the relationship between temporary accommodation and homelessness, with a particular focus on the effectiveness of differing models in facilitating an exit from homelessness. Prior to taking up a role in research, Lynne worked in the homelessness sector in Northern Ireland, developing and managing a range of frontline services, including hostel accommodation, drop-in centre, and street outreach services.

13:15-14:45 Session 2, Stream 3: Community Development (Room: 9128)

Paper 1: Bridging public deliberation and community development

Hannah Webster

Although the disciplines of public deliberation and community development share several common principles and objectives (such as bridging divides between people, addressing feelings of disempowerment and encouraging negotiation and collaboration to solve problems) they have tended to be relatively siloed in the UK, both in theory and practice. While public deliberation has come to be associated with top-down processes, commissioned by public authorities within a pre-determined scope and remit, community development tends to represent more ‘bottom-up’ organic processes of mutual aid and collective action. While common forms of public deliberation (such as citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ juries) tend to be ‘invited spaces’, community development tends to be ‘uninvited’ engagement within community spaces or ‘claimed’ spaces (Chilvers et al., 2018).

In this paper, we argue there are strong grounds for more experimentation at the intersection of public deliberation and community development. Public deliberation has been criticised in the past for being too transactional and too tightly constrained (often within parameters set by existing powerholders). Community development, on the other hand, has been criticised for often (in practice, if not theory) lacking political teeth, for empowering well-connected community members at the expense of others and sidestepping or ignoring important differences of opinion, perspective or identity within communities. We suggest that new models of public participation that combine elements of both deliberative democracy and community development could help to address these criticisms, combining the robust recruitment approach, conflict management methods and political efficacy of public deliberation with longer-term ‘social capital’ benefits generated by high-quality community development practice.

We will begin the paper setting out the theoretical and real-world distinctions between community development and public deliberation. We will then put forward an argument for why combining elements of public deliberation and community development might address some of the common criticisms of each. We will then review these theoretical arguments through an analysis of Nechells Knows, a community assembly run by the RSA in a small neighbourhood in Birmingham last year.

Chilvers, J., H. Pallett, and T. Hargreaves. (2018) Ecologies of Participation in Socio-Technical Change: The Case of Energy System Transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, 42: 199–210.

Hannah is Head of Research at the RSA and previously co-led the organisation’s People and Place programme. She is an experienced quantitative, qualitative and participatory researcher with a focus on economic security, wellbeing, housing and young people’s advocacy in her work. Prior to working at the RSA Hannah led quantitative research projects at the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint and social research agency Kantar Public.

Paper 2: Community enterprises, community assets and processes of urban regeneration and gentrification in extraordinary times

Alice Earley

In the context of a decade of austerity, increasing inequality and the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been increased attention on the potential role of community organisations in increasing social inclusion. This paper focusses specifically on community enterprises (CEs) and contributes to a gap in knowledge regarding the need for further research examining the role of CEs, and particularly the community assets that they own or manage, within processes of regeneration and gentrification in the UK. Existing research has tended to focus on their roles within regeneration rather than gentrification. Further, there is a need to better understand the impact of recent societal changes, including responses to the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, on these organisations and the role of their community assets when contributing to community regeneration.

The paper is based on PhD research (2016-2020) involving scoping interviews with policy/practice experts and in-depth qualitative case study research with one CE in Bristol, England and one in Glasgow, Scotland; and emerging findings from follow-on research, currently underway, involving a survey of additional CEs and a workshop and interviews with policy/practice experts. The paper aims to consider how the approach of these organisations to regeneration, via their community assets, can limit, reflect or even exacerbate gentrification in socioeconomically unequal neighbourhoods; and to contribute to academic, policy and practice debate regarding how more socially just community-led regeneration can be better achieved, while gentrification and its negative impacts are limited. It considers the relationship between policy narratives which often uncritically promote the benefits of CEs and community assets, and the realities on the ground, considering what is required if these community-based efforts are to maximise their potential role within regeneration.

Alice Earley
is a BSP Research Fellow at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. She completed her PhD entitled ‘Community enterprises, community assets and processes of urban regeneration and gentrification’ at the Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow in 2020. She is currently conducting follow-on research on this topic. Her research interests include urban regeneration, gentrification, community development, social and spatial inequalities, social and community enterprise, community asset ownership/management and urban governance.

14:45-15:00 Coffee Break

15:00-16:30 Session 3, Stream 1: Sustainable Futures (Room: 9132)

Paper 1: High consumers of energy and resources and the work of being wealthy

Anna Hawkins, Aimee Ambrose, Stephen Parkes

High consumers of energy and resources in domestic settings make a disproportionately greater impact in terms of their carbon emissions and resource use, with the richest 10% being responsible for around 50% of carbon emissions (Kartha et al, 2020). Moreover, the highest consumers also act as trend-setters and aspirational peers, thus driving high consumption more widely within society. As such, efforts to confine global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius will be unworkable unless the wealthy change their lifestyles (Gore, 2021). We know that the rich have caused climate change (Steinburger, 2021) but beyond this, there have been no attempts to define high consumption or what constitutes too much. There also appears to be no political will to tackle what might be regarded as excessive consumption and our research finds no significant attempt to target high consumers through consumption-reduction policies or financial levers. Our work seeks to address the research gap around high consumption by seeking to define and quantify problematic scales of consumption, and consumption practices, and designing qualitative methodologies that seek to understand the structural and lifestyle factors that sustain high consuming households. Addressing the overarching question of: ‘why is it so hard to consume less?’, our paper reports upon a state-of-the-art review of literature, consumption data mapping and stakeholder interviews [in the UK] which highlight the absence of high consuming households from research and policy. We also discuss how this work has informed the development of an innovative methodology for exploring the lived experiences of this elusive and hard to reach consumer group, which utilises institutional ethnography to explore and explicate the ‘work of being wealthy’.

Paper 2: E-scooters – new mobility for sustainable and inclusive futures?

Graeme Sherriff, Luke Blazejewski, Mike Lomas

Following the start of national trials in 2020, shared e-scooters are now evident in many UK towns and cities. Together with their privately-owned counterparts, the use of which remains illegal on public roads, they reflect a growing interest in micromobility. There are claims that these small electric personal vehicles will help to cut congestion as well as the carbon intensity of transport systems. There is also potential to be inclusive, by providing a means of transport that is relatively cheap to purchase and charge, and that does not require the level of physical fitness an exertion of walking and cycling. Whilst not ‘active’ in this sense, they provide a means of personal freedom and could be combined with other modes to enable more sustainable mobility practices. On the other hand, concerns have been expressed about the potential environmental impact of battery manufacture and disposal as well as the risk of shared schemes to add to unsustainable levels of electronic waste. The reliance of shared schemes on smartphones may exclude those would could benefit most of access to shared mobility. Furthermore, there is evidence that e-scooters are creating tensions in contested public spaces and, in cases, making it difficult for people feel safe when walking and cycling. Based on a mixed methods study in Greater Manchester using surveys, reference groups and interviews, we explore the tensions inherent in the development of this new mobility technology and its rollout in the UK. We consider the extent to which e-scooters can be seen to be aiding a transition to low-carbon and more inclusive transport futures.

Paper 3: Energy justice in the home - a qualitative technology assessment of domestic low-carbon innovation within a social housing network

Matthew Cotton, Paul Van Schaik, Nashan Dawood, Natasha Vall, Huda Dawood, Michale Knowles, Nicholas Gray

The UK is suffering severe economic uncertainty. Inflation driven by domestic heating and fuel use cost rises affect millions of the most vulnerable people in the UK, stimulating energy poverty at a time when Government commitments to meet legally binding net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets have reached a critical stage in the policy cycle. Meeting the needs of the most vulnerable residents requires innovation in domestic heating, lighting, insulation and energy efficient appliances, in order to both limit the environmental impact of energy use upon global climate change and to improve domestic energy security. Yet the implementation of new technologies such as smart meters, hydrogen boilers, or heat pumps must respect the energy sovereignty of the household users - innovation requires a combination of knowledge, user commitment, trust in the sociotechnical systems of energy production and consumption in the home, and must provide direct benefits in domestic energy security - reducing both the reliance upon fossil fuels, and energy savings to alleviate the pressure on household budgets. In this project, funded through the UK Community Renewal Fund in partnership with the social housing network Thirteen Group, we design a qualitative technology assessment of domestic low carbon technologies, employing a combination of virtual reality simulation of multiple energy technologies in a variety of social housing types with qualitative evaluation of residents’ perspectives on barriers and enablers to uptake and use, social and environmental impacts, and deeper cultural and environmental values that drive energy practices and behaviours. Findings from the use of VR as a stimulus in the technology assessment, aim to provide much-needed social scientific intelligence to the ongoing debate over domestic energy transitions for vulnerable users.

15:00-16:30 Session 3, Stream 2: Voices for marginalised communities (Room: 9129)

Paper 1: Learning to (not) labour. An exploration of school exclusion

Stephanie King

School exclusion highlights and reproduces social inequality. The characteristics of those excluded from school are consistent. For example, certain ethnic groups, those on free school meals, care-experienced and those with SEND are more likely than their peers to be excluded from school (Department of Education 2021) In this paper I explore the structural inequalities behind school exclusion.

It is almost fifty years since Paul Willis’s seminal study, Learning to Labour (1977). In it, he tracked the trajectories of working class ‘lads’ as they moved from school to work. Using Willis as a frame of reference, I draw on a critical realist theoretical framework, and particularly Archer’s morphogenetic model (2013) to develop a novel approach to understanding school exclusion.

I propose that today’s school excluded are drawn from complex backgrounds and have varied experiences, but many are redolent of the factory workers of Willis’ work, but live in a post-industrial era. Archer’s morphogenetic model (2013) is used to explore how the school system continues to create an industrial working class, but the economy does not require them.

Rather than seeing school exclusion as a fixed phenomenon, with predictable causes and outcomes, this theoretical framework enables us to look at the multiple factors that combine to lead to an exclusion from school, and the part that the understandings and actions of individuals take in that. This includes the real structural inequalities around race, class, SEND, and gender, the actual structures of the school and classroom discipline as well as the empirical actions of people within that context, motivated by their own reasons and understanding of the situation.

Archer, M. (2013) Critical Realism. 1st edition. ed. London: Routledge.

Department of Education (2021) Permanent exclusions and suspensions in England. Available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england/2019-20 [Accessed August 12].

Willis, P. (1977) Learning to Labour. London: Routledge.

Stephanie King
is a PhD candidate at Nottingham Trent University. Supervisors are Dr Andrew Clapham and Dr Anne O’Grady. Having previously been a teacher in a Pupil Referral Unit, Stephanie pursued an interest in SEND, becoming a specialist teacher, undertaking the National SENDCo award and then an MA in SEN & Inclusion. Currently, Stephanie is researching experiences of school exclusion. She is also interested in using creative methods when working with young people, to offer different ways for them to tell their stories. Stephanie also teaches on the Education Foundation Degree at Nottingham Trent University.

Paper 2: An exploration of maintaining ‘community’ networks for people with dementia through the provision of intergenerational support

David Maxted

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 850,000 people currently have dementia across the UK, with more than two thirds of people with dementia living in their own homes. The majority of people with dementia and their carers experience a significant shrinking of their access to the community around them and this can be especially problematic for those individuals who live alone. This study aims to explore a specific form of support through a scheme called ‘Shared Lives’ in order to understand how this contrasts with other forms of provision and whether this service can help to maintain the relationships and connections for people with dementia and their carers within a neighbourhood context. The methodology for the study has been through a Critical Realist approach as it enabled the research study to explore both individual agency and wider social structure. The research was undertaken through focus group sessions and individual telephone interviews.

The results of the study highlights what people with dementia and their carers value from care and support, and in particular how ‘shared lives’ carers occupy a discrete space in the provision of support. From a Critical Realist perspective, the study was also able to highlight how ‘shared lives’ occupies a distinct role within the context of maintaining people’s social networks and community support. It is this latter part of the study that leads to a discussion on ‘shared lives’ within the context of neighbourhood support, which opens up new ways of overcoming the limitations of a place-based social policy in relation to dementia community care.

I have a background of more than 20 years in working across Health and Social care services. This had mostly been as a Social Worker working with adults with Mental Health problems, people with a learning disability or on the autism spectrum, and with older adults with dementia. Following on from this role, I was employed as a team manager and subsequently as a service manager with a more strategic role in the provision of health and social care services. In more recent years, I have worked as a lecturer in Social Work and currently hold a position as a Senior Lecturer. At the same time, I am also undertaking a research study on psychosocial interventions in dementia care.

Paper 3: Neighbourhoods and Youth Voice: A Qualitative Exploration of Local Institutions and Young Person’s Well-Being

Brenda Mathias and Demond Hill

A growing body of literature suggests that the neighborhoods that young people live in have a substantial influence on their lives. As part of this work researchers have begun to investigate the relationship between young people and local neighborhood institutions such as schools, libraries, grocery stores and youth centers. Engagement with these local institutions has been observed to strengthen young people’s well-being. Often, this area of research relies on the perspectives of adults and neglects youth perspectives. This is problematic, given that young people have a great deal of choice and autonomy when selecting neighborhood institutions that they are interested in engaging. Thus, this phenomenological qualitative pilot study highlights youth voice and lived experiences to explore which neighborhood institutions are important to young people and begins to unpack the ways institutional engagement influences well-being. We conducted semi-structured interviews with ten young people between the ages of 14 and 20 who are living in Oakland, California. Our findings illuminate: (1) a descriptive understanding of the different neighborhood institutions that are important to young people, and (2) which aspects of young people’s well-being are influenced by their engagement with these neighborhood institutions. We find that overwhelmingly, youth-serving organizations, in addition to schools and churches, provide important opportunities for young people to develop both community and individual well-being. Moreover, engagement with these different institutions strengthens the connectedness of young people to strong social networks, increases positive future outlooks, and provides safe spaces that support a wide variety of young people’s interests - including college and career preparation, sports, and arts and crafts. These findings will help practitioners, policy makers and researchers develop a deeper understanding of the vital role spaces, places, and institutions play in the lives of young people.

Brenda Mathias is a Ph.D. Candidate in Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on urban spaces, youth well-being, social justice, and community-based participatory research methods. Brenda currently serves as a pre-doctoral fellow with SOULLAB utilizing technology as an empowerment and organizing tool among BIPOC communities. Prior to attending Berkeley, Brenda managed several randomized controlled trials evaluating youth summer jobs in Philadelphia. She has worked on community-led revitalization efforts in Cleveland, Ohio, and service coordination with urban public schools. Brenda holds a bachelors from Temple University and a masters from Case Western Reserve.

15:00-16:30 Session 3, Stream 3: Community Leadership (Room: 9128)

Paper 1: Listening to the local leadership at the neighbourhood level

Jeni Vine

Sheffield, like many post-industrial cities in the North of England, has become increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse over the past 20 years. This presentation highlights ethnographic findings that highlight the important role of locally embedded leaders engaged in neighbourhood activities including organising events at the local pub, keeping the tenants and residents association active, providing spaces such as a community gym and offering informal mentoring for people adjusting to life in the UK. The Covid pandemic has highlighted the usefulness of engaging local champions in getting public health messaging out to communities. However, the importance of listening to the concerns of these locally respected community leaders is under-theorised.

This presentation focuses on how local leaders are supporting social cohesion in three predominantly white, relatively deprived neighbourhoods in Sheffield. The research suggests that to promote more inclusive societies, where people are encouraged to build solidarities across difference, requires paying attention to the local leadership as well as the context and infrastructures. The presentation also discusses action research designed to build the skills of people working in marginalised communities. It focuses on the transformational potential of possibility spaces, where change is understood as qualitative rather than incremental. The role of local leadership and possibility spaces is analysed through the lens of complex realism, highlighting the interconnectivity of the people who live and work in marginalised neighbourhoods together with the infrastructures, including social infrastructures, such as the local pub and community gym.

Paper 2: Fighting back against social inequality and social injustice. Community Resistance to Neo-Liberalism

Roger Green, Malcolm Cadman, Marion Briggs

The impact of neo-liberalism with its global investment in the pursuit of profit is creating severe inequality and social and economic injustice for communities in London. It is remaking this capital city in its own image whilst badly distorting the housing market in favour of the rich.

This paper will discuss how this capitalist driven ideological venture, a corporate takeover of cities, is bringing about an increasingly segregated London where under the guise of redevelopment, regeneration, and gentrification new expensive high-rise apartments, neighbourhoods and urban ‘villages’ are rapidly appearing.

It will show how London is being reimagined by global developers, oligarchs, absentee foreign investors, secretive shell companies in off-shore tax havens and the super-rich with their high-density and high rise formula for investor profit, with its reconfiguration of the urban landscape across all of its thirty two boroughs, resulting in the;

  1. Displacement of long-standing diverse working class communities

  2. Genuinely affordable socially rented housing absent in new developments.

  3. Urban villages for wealthy incomers on long defunct empty brownfield sites.

  4. Collusion between developers and local authorities

  5. Consultation process and involvement of communities is ‘top-down’,

In the midst of this radical change to London’s urban landscape with its ‘land grab’ this paper will show how this is being challenged by the Voice4Deptford campaign, local residents, and their supporters, in Deptford, South East London to prevent and change the building of luxury housing on a historic derelict brownfield site at Convoys Wharf, Deptford on the south shore River Thames waterfront.

We tell the story of a group of ordinary Londoners working together to agitate and resist a global housing developer by imagining alternatives and organising a ‘fight back’.

Paper 3: Creating innovative partnerships to break down barriers - the Sheffield Early Learning Community

Rachel Parkin and Sally Pearse

High quality early education and care and support for parents and the home learning environment can improve outcomes for children identified as disadvantaged, however families in areas of disadvantage are less likely to have access to these high-quality services. The Sheffield Early Learning Community (SELC) is part of the Early Learning Communities programme, which began in 2018 as a collaboration between Save the Children and local partners across the UK. The programme aims to make a sustainable difference to the lives of young children (0-3years) growing up in poverty in communities across the UK, by taking a whole-system and evidence-based approach to improving early learning outcomes. The approaches are underpinned by co-design with families in the communities.

The SELC has created an effective partnership between education, family support, health services and Hallam University in the Burngreave area of Sheffield. Central to this partnership has been the development of the Early Years Community Research Centre (EYCRC) as it is an exemplar of collaborative working that can improve outcomes for young children. The centre houses a community nursery which opened in April 2021 and now provides education and care for 32 young children and wider support for families through the SELC multi-agency approach. The SELC partnership has attracted additional funding for nursery places that has allowed the partnership to innovate and adapt existing policy to meet community needs. In this case study the development of the EYCRC and the additionality that is provided through innovative partnership working are explored alongside the challenges of delivering change, particularly during a pandemic.


Rachel Parkin is Save the Children’s Head of the North of England, working towards the UK mission of reducing child poverty and narrowing the early learning gap using systems change and place-based approaches. She has had previous roles in Save the Children looking after both strategy and evaluation across the UK work. Prior to this she was Head of Research, Evaluation & Impact at Teach First as well as holding data and impact roles at Mencap and Pobal. Rachel was a trustee at the Literacy Pirates between 2015 and 2021.

Dr Sally Pearse is the Strategic Lead for Early Years at Sheffield Hallam University. Since 2017 Sally has led the work with early years colleagues from across South Yorkshire to develop a range of collaborative projects. These have included a £1million project, funded through the DfE Early Outcomes Fund to transform the regions speech, language and communication services and the development of the Early Years Community Research Centre in Sheffield which is now delivering nursery places in an area of social and economic challenge. Prior to this role Sally was Hallam’s Head of Area for 0-5 Teacher Education. Before joining the university, Sally was a teacher, community development worker and the director of a charity that ran a day nursery, family learning and health projects and a community cafe. Sally is Chair of Trustees for a community nursery in Sheffield and Chair of the South Yorkshire branch of Early Education.

16:30-16:40 Comfort Break

16:40-17:30 Closing Plenary Panel Discussion (Room: 9130)

Panels speakers

Katie Heard and Sue Byrne

Katie Heard, Head of Research and Data Insights, Good Things Foundation.

Katie is Head of Research and Data Insights at Good Things Foundation. She is responsible for evolving the way Good Things Foundation understands the impact they are making: how many, who, how and the change that is happening. Before working at Good Things Foundation she worked in a wide range of organisations from Versus Arthritis, learndirect and Boots. She is passionate about understanding behaviour, bringing this understanding into the organisations that she works and using this to improve the lives of the target populations and the products and services on offer. She is passionate about equality of access for all. Ensuring products and services allow people to participate fully in society and overcome whatever barriers they face.

Sue Byrne, Senior Clinical Specialist, Rotherham Trauma & Resilience Service

Sue is a qualified adult mental health nurse who has worked in NHS inpatient and community settings for the past 22 years. Formally a ward manager and clinical leader Sue joined the newly founded Trauma & Resilience Service as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Rotherham in 2018. Working with a consultative approach Sue provides reflective space to staff in both statutory & voluntary sector services including leaders, managers and multi agency groups to discuss the intrinsic challenges of their roles in the context of working with adult survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Complex Trauma. Sue continues to contribute to the development of the Trauma & Resilience Service and to the Rotherham Adult Child Sexual Exploitation pathway working in close partnership with voluntary sector organisations. Sue is also a trainer and regularly co-facilitates Trauma Training across the borough.

17:30 onwards - Conference Social

For those interested, we will be convening after the conference at Kommune in Sheffield City Centre for informal networking. A variety of food and drinks options are available for purchase at Kommune for those wishing to eat.

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