This inter-disciplinary ESRC Seminar Series is led by Professor Antonia Layard, working with Dr Sue Brownill, Dr Kate Pahl, Professor Craig Watkins, Professor Simin Davoudi and Dr Helen Graham; working with Robert Rutherfoord from the Department of Communities and Local Government. The conference co-ordinator working with the academics and team at DCLG is Colin Lorne.

See below for brief bios of each academic. Follow links (click on names) to see their academic profiles:

Professor Antonia Layard, Law, University of Bristol

Antonia’s research is in law and geography where she explores how law, legality and maps construct space, place and ‘the local’. She has particular interests in ‘urban law’, and the legal provisions and practices involved in largescale regeneration and infrastructure projects. More information on her research and copies of pre-publication papers can be found at She tweets as @antonialayard.

Antonia teaches courses on property, planning and environmental law and is PGR Director at Bristol Law School. Her book Law, Place & Maps will be published by Glasshouse Press, Routledge in 2015. She is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Law and Society and an academic member of the AHRC and the ESRC Peer Review Colleges. She is an ESRC Fellow researching Localism, Law and Governance until September 2014.

Dr Sue Brownill, Department of Planning, Oxford Brookes University

Sue Brownill is a Reader in Urban Policy and Governance whose research and teaching interests focus on the interaction of communities with urban planning and regeneration. She is also the Postgraduate Research Tutor for the department with responsibilities for leading the PhD programme and co-ordinating and delivering doctoral research methods training. Sue combines her academic interests with involvement with community and housing groups. She has been a board member of Oxford Citizens Housing Association since 2003 and before moving to Oxford worked with community organisations in London’s Docklands.

Professor Craig Watkins, Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

My current and recent research focuses on the structure and operation of property markets, particularly local housing systems, and the impact of public policy on real estate market performance. This research addresses theoretical and empirical issues and is generally, although not exclusively, located within a quantitative economic framework. There are four main sub-themes to this work:

  • Analysing the submarket structure and operation of local property markets.
  • Measuring and modelling property market performance.
  • Exploring the interaction between planning, public policy and property market behaviour.
  • Methodological advances in property research.

Dr Helen Graham, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

Helen’s current research explores questions of democracy and publicness through the technical, practical and ethical sites of co-production of knowledge and exhibits, of intellectual access to museums for people with learning difficulties and of copyright and informed consent. Her research and teaching interests directly flow from practical experience working in learning and access teams in museums and coordinating community heritage projects concerned with the co-production of knowledge, archives and exhibits. Before joining the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, Helen worked at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University on ‘Art on Tyneside’, an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded research project which worked with people from across the North East to develop media exploring place, art and identity for a new permanent display, ‘Northern Spirit: 300 Years of Art at the North East’ (Laing Art Gallery 2010-ongoing). Helen recently held a Museum Practice Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution (2010-2011), where she used participatory research methods to explore intellectual access to museums.

Professor Simin Davoudi, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Newcastle

Simin is Professor of Environment Policy & Planning at the School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape and Associate Director of Newcastle Institute for Sustainability, Newcastle University.  She is past President of the Association of the European Schools of Planning (AESOP), Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, member of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Grant Assessment Panel C (2010-2014); Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) Sub-Panel 16 (Architecture, Built Environment and Planning); DEFRA/DECC Social Science Expert Panel, and Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Climate Working Group 3. She has held visiting professorships at Universities of Amsterdam, Karlskrona and Nijmegen; led the UK Office of Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM now DCLG) Planning Research Network; served as member of the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Expert Panel on Housing Markets and Planning Analysis; Research and Knowledge Committee of the Royal Town Planning Institute; Expert Group for the EU DG Environment (on Thematic Strategy on Sustainable Urban Management) and DG Regional Policy (on Green paper on Territorial Cohesion), the Irish and Austrian EU Presidency Seminars; is Advisory Group for the UK ESPON Contact Point, Advisory Board of the Irish Social Science Platform,  Departmental Advisory Council for University of Hong Kong, Advisory Board of the BTH Swedish School of Planning, Expert Advisory Group for the ex-post Evaluation of the Interreg III (2006) programme. She has undertaken peer reviews for the Government’s Chief Scientist’s Foresight programme and served on Expert Review Panels of national research programmes in the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Sweden and Portugal; was co-chair of ACSP-AESOP Chicago Joint Congress Committee; is the Editor of Journal of Environmental Planning & Management, founding member of the editorial team of 21st Century Society (former Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, and member of editorial board of 10 international, peer-reviewed journals. Her recent books include: Conceptions of Space and Place in Strategic Spatial Planning (Routledge, 2009), and Planning for Climate Change (Earthscan, 2009). Simin has undertaken research for a wide range of international and national organisations and research funding bodies and is published widely.

Professor Kate Pahl, School of Education, University of Sheffield



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