Professor Beth Perry

PhD, MA, BA (Hons)

Faculty of Social Sciences

Director of Urban Institute

Professor Beth Perry
Profile picture of Professor Beth Perry

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Professor Beth Perry
Faculty of Social Sciences
Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)
219 Portobello
S1 4DP

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.



Edited books

  • Perry B, Jones P & Long P (Eds.) (2019) Cultural Intermediaries Connecting Communities: Revisiting Approaches to Cultural Engagement:. Bristol: Policy Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles



  • Joubert L & The Realising Just Cities Team (2021) Realising Just Cities View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Perry B, Durose C, Richardson L & Action Research Collective (2019) How can we govern differently? The promise and practice of co-production RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

PhD Supervision

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

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).