Professor Beth Perry
PhD, MA, BA (Hons)
Faculty of Social Sciences
Director of Urban Institute
Full contact details
Faculty of Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)
I am currently Director of the Urban Institute and a Professor of Urban Knowledge Governance. I also lead the Urban Institute’s Co-producing Urbanisms theme.
During this time (2016-2020), I was the UK lead for the Mistra Urban Futures centre, setting up and delivering a local interaction platform across Greater Manchester and Sheffield to develop co-production projects around critical urban justice questions. This involved working in close collaboration with city partners in Sweden, Kenya and South Africa.
Prior to joining the University of Sheffield as a Professorial Fellow in 2016, I worked through research assistant, fellow, reader and director positions within the Centre for Sustainable Urban Regional Futures at the University of Salford.
BA (Hons) European Studies and Modern Languages (University of Manchester)
MA European Integration (University of Bradford)
PhD Rethinking and rescaling science (University of Salford)
- Research interests
As an undisciplined urbanist I sit at the intersections of several disciplines and am motivated by a concern to both understand and chart processes of urban transformation, and to mobilise methodologies to contribute to the possibility of more just and sustainable urban futures.
My research is underpinned by a concern with urban governance, justice and transformation, which has focused around the concept and practice of co-production. I understand the co-productive turn as reconfiguring relations between the local state and civil society, between and within grassroots groups and organisations, and within and outside academia. This is informed by a long-standing concern with the politics of knowledge production and the epistemic injustices, exclusions and violences that result. My research seeks to work with and through critique to contribute to alternative epistemologies, practices and outcomes.
I am particularly interested in how these concerns land in relation to the socio-cultural and spatial dimensions of urban justice. A substantive focus in my work has been on cultural participation, democracy and heritage; participatory democracy within the city and the potential of digital technologies; and ‘food’ as connective tissue between the cultural, spatial, environmental and economic.
I seek to contribute to epistemological and methodological debates through a reflexive engagement with the tensions, binaries, strategies and tactics of critical yet engaged urban research, in the context of increasingly politicised and neo-liberal contexts of higher education. This has given me experience in designing large-scale, collaborative programmes and projects, deploying creative and participatory methods when appropriate, and communicating with different audiences.
My work has spanned different scales and contexts – from the neighbourhood, to the district, the city and the city-region, in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Cape Town, Kisumu and Gothenburg.
- Transdisciplinary Knowledge Co-Production for Sustainable Cities A Guide for Sustainable Cities.
- View this article in WRRO Cities and the Knowledge Economy: Promise, Politics and Possibilities. Routledge.
- View this article in WRRO Reflexivity: The Essential Guide. London: SAGE Publications.
- Social Research and Reflexivity. SAGE.
- Cultural Intermediaries Connecting Communities: Revisiting Approaches to Cultural Engagement:. Bristol: Policy Press.
- Cities coping with COVID-19: comparative perspectives. City.
- Three tyrannies of participatory governance. Journal of Chinese Governance. View this article in WRRO
- Cultural heritage entanglements: festivals as integrative sites for sustainable urban development. International Journal of Heritage Studies. View this article in WRRO
- Moving towards hybridity in causal explanation: the example of citizen participation. Social Policy & Administration. View this article in WRRO
- Craft metrics to value co-production. Nature, 562(7725), 32-33.
- Coproducing urban governance. Politics and Governance, 6(1), 145-145. View this article in WRRO
- Organising for Co-Production: Local Interaction Platforms for Urban Sustainability. Politics and Governance, 6(1). View this article in WRRO
- Knowledge for just urban sustainability. Local Environment, 22(S1), 23-35. View this article in WRRO
- Beyond critique: the value of co-production in realising just cities?. Local Environment. View this article in WRRO
- Developing and testing the Urban Sustainable Development Goals targets and indicators - a five-city study. Environment and Urbanization, 28(1), 49-63. View this article in WRRO
- Revealing and re-valuing cultural intermediaries in the 'real' creative city: Insights from a diary-keeping exercise. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(6), 724-740. View this article in WRRO
- Universities, Reflexivity and Critique: Uneasy Parallels in Practice. Policy Futures in Education, 11(5), 505-514.
- Contours and conflicts in scale: Science, knowledge and urban development. Local Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit, 26(8), 715-720.
- Urban Research in the Knowledge Economy: Content, Context and Outlook. Built Environment, 37(3), 352-367.
- Universities and Cities: Governance, Institutions and Mediation. Built Environment, 37(3), 245-259.
- Urban knowledge exchange: devilish dichotomies and active intermediation. International Journal of Knowledge-Based Development, 1(1/2), 6-6.
- Beth Perry takes time out to reflect on complexity in multi-scalar innovation systems. Regions Magazine, 269(1), 3-3.
- A team from SURF look at the importance of active intermediaries in knowledge exchange for policy and practice. Regions Magazine, 272(1), 23-26.
- Excellence, relevance and the university: The missing middle in socio-economic engagement. Sociologia, Problemas e Praticas, 56, 105-128.
- Multi-level Governance, Regions and Science in France: Between Competition and Equality. Regional Studies, 41(8), 1069-1084.
- The Multi-level Governance of Science Policy in England. Regional Studies, 41(8), 1051-1067.
- Governance, Science Policy and Regions: An Introduction. Regional Studies, 41(8), 1039-1050.
- Cities, Knowledge and Universities: Transformations in the Image of the Intangible. Social Epistemology, 20(3-4), 259-282.
- Science, Society and the University: A Paradox of Values. Social Epistemology, 20(3-4), 201-219.
- Rethinking or Hollowing out the University?. Higher Education Management and Policy, 17(2), 29-41.
- The Future of Urban Sociology. Sociology, 39(2), 343-370.
- Universities, Localities and Regional Development: The Emergence of the 'Mode 2' University?. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(1), 212-223.
- The future of urban sociology: report of joint sessions of the British and American Sociological Associations. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 26(4), 844-853.
- The risk of austerity co-production in city-regional governance in England. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.
- Leadership and the hidden politics of co-produced research: a Q-methodology study. International Journal of Social Research Methodology.
- Co-producing research with users and communities In Loeffler E & Bovaird T (Ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Co-production of Public Services and Outcomes (pp. 669-691). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Participatory Cities from the 'Outside In': The Value of Comparative Learning In Simon D, Palmer H & Riise J (Ed.), Comparative Urban Research from Theory to Practice (pp. 133-154). Bristol: Policy Press.
- Navigating the Rapids of Urban Development: Lessons from the Biospheric Foundation, Salford, UK In Henneberry J (Ed.), Transience and Permanence in Urban Development (pp. 85-99). Wiley
- Cities, experiments and the logics of the knowledge economy In Evans J, Karvonen A & Raven R (Ed.), The Experimental City (pp. 32-46). Oxford: Routledge.
- Cities, Universities and Urban Knowledge Exchange: Lessons from a Regional Experiment in the UK In Mercurio R (Ed.), Organizational Networks for Innovation Milan.
- Re-thinking Sustainable Knowledge-Based Urbanism Through Active Intermediation, Production and Use of Urban Knowledge (pp. 151-167). Springer Netherlands
- Reflexivity and Data Analysis In Kaldis B (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences SAGE
- Translation, Insulation and Mediation, University Engagement With Socially Excluded Communities (pp. 199-219). Springer Netherlands
- Translation, Insulation and Mediation: The Shifting Sands of University Life In Benneworth P (Ed.), University Engagement With Socially Excluded Communities Springer Science & Business Media
- External engagements and internal transformations: Universities, localities and regional development, Bright Satanic Mills: Universities, Regional Development and the Knowledge Economy (pp. 25-37).
- Academic Knowledge and Urban Development, Knowledge-Based Urban Development (pp. 21-41). IGI Global
- Metropolitan regions in the face of the European dimension: Regimes, re-scaling or repositioning?, Metropolitan Governance and Spatial Planning: Comparative Case Studies of European City-Regions (pp. 20-38).
- Making 21st Century Knowledge Complexes Routledge View this article in WRRO
- Co-producing Knowledge for Sustainable Cities Routledge
- Achieving ‘systemic’ urban retrofit, Retrofitting the Built Environment (pp. 5-19). John Wiley & Sons
- Universities and Regional Development Routledge
- Sustaining Urban Networks Routledge
- Reflexivity and the Practice of Qualitative Research, The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (pp. 109-122). SAGE Publications Ltd
- Research group
I currently supervise the following PhD students:
- Ana Mendez de Andes, Becoming Common of the Public (With Doina Petrescu, Department of Architecture)
- Jenny Patient, Trade Unions and Just Transition (with Stephen Connelly, Department of Urban Studies and Planning)
- Ryan Bellinson, Doing things differently: the promise and pitfalls of co-productive urban climate policy development in Greater Manchester, UK (with Aidan While)
I welcome applications for PhD research on topics related to my main interests above
- The New African Urban University (World University Network)
- Whose Heritage Matters? Mapping, making and mobilising heritage values for sustainable livelihoods in Cape Town and Kisumu (British Academy)
- “An Even Better Arbourthorne”: rethinking the roles of schools in disadvantaged urban neighbourhoods (CIVA)
- Realising Just Cities through Co-production (Mistra Urban Futures)
- Jam and Justice: Co-producing Social Innovation for Urban Governance (ESRC)
- Whose Knowledge Matters? Competing and Contesting Knowledge Claims in 21st Century Cities (ESRC)
- Cultural Intermediation: Connecting Communities in the Creative Urban Economy (AHRC)
- Urban Sustainable Development Goals (Mistra Urban Futures)
- Putting Foodbanks Out of Business: Digital Transformations and Food Austerity (EPSRC)
- Building Science Regions in the European Research Area (ESRC)
- Making Science History: The Regionalisation of Science Policy (ESRC)
- Realising the Potential of Science Cities (Science Cities Consortium)
- Knowledge Capital: From Concept to Action (Contact Partnership)
- Teaching interests
I have contributed guest lectures, seminars and training sessions to a number of departmental and Faculty-level courses and networks including:
- SMI613 Working Beyond Disciplines
- TRP626 Doctoral Training in Urban Studies and Planning
- Masters of Architecture Design Studio on Collaborative Production
- Early Career Researchers Urban Studies Network
- Action Research Peers Network
I have also guest lectured on courses at UK and European universities, including on sustainable development (University of Oxford), transdisciplinary research (University of Gothenburg), the governance of the cultural economy (University of Leeds), the engaged university (University College London) and cities and the knowledge economy (University of Lille).