Professor Jane Wills
Professor of Geography
Peter Lanyon A091
Peter Lanyon Building, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK
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Jane is Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and Professor of Geography at the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science (CGES) at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, UK.
Jane joined the campus in October 2017, moving from Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interests focus on the changing geopolitical economy of work and regional economic development, new forms of urban political alliances including community organizing and living wage campaigns, and the politics and practice of localism in the UK. Her most recent project has explored ways to engage the public in environmental improvements for biodiversity in open spaces in Cornwall.
She has long-standing interests in the politics and philosophy of research practice and knowledge production and has published The Power of Pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry (Manchester University Press, 2020, Edited with Robert W. Lake). There is a short blog written to promote the book here: https://manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/articles/relinquishing-the-quest-for-certainty-in-the-social-sciences-or-learning-from-the-coronavirus-crisis/
Other books include Locating Localism: Statecraft, citizenship and democracy (Policy Press, 2016), Global Cities at Work: New migrant divisions of labour (Pluto Press, 2010), Threads of Labour: Garment industry supply chains from the workers’ perspective (Blackwell, 2005), Place, Space and the New Labour Internationalisms (Blackwell, 2001), Geographies of Economies (Arnold, 1997) and Union Retreat and the Regions (Routledge, 1996).
Her taught modules for CGES have included The Geography of Cornwall (first year); the Isles of Scilly Fieldtrip (second year); Geographies of Democracy (third year); Democracy, Sustainability and Citizenship (Masters).
Broad research specialisms
Over the past three decades Jane’s emprically-focused research has covered three different themes: (1) The changing geo-political-economy of work, labour supply and labour politics; (2) New forms of urban political alliances with a particular interest in community organising; (3) the politics and practice of localism in England.
Since moving to the University of Exeter, she has been working on UKRI-funded research to explore public engagement in sustainability policy and practice. She has PhD students working on the future of farming policy in relation to the environment (Jen Clements); regional economic policy for peripheral regions of the UK (Nick Woolgrove); island life histories (Rosie Layfield); the politics of renewable energy infrastructure (JP Roux and Zoe Chateau); and community-oriented development practices for sustainable forest farming in Peru (Lena Prouchet).
She is interested in bringing her previous focus on urban forms of community organising to questions of environmental sustainability in rural and peripheral areas like Cornwall.
For more information about research into the living wage campaign, papers and data, please visit the website located at Queen Mary, University of London: www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/livingwage/
I am the administrator for the campus choir at Penryn, Kana Tremough! and all staff are welcome, sign up here.
PhD, BA(Hons) Geography
Research group links
Jane’s current research interests include the geography of political institutions, with particular attention paid to local structures and the ways in which people can engage in decision-making. This is part of her wider interests in devolution and localism, community organizing and civic innovation.
Working in Cornwall provides new opportunities to explore the importance of local history and culture in underpinning and shaping political attitudes, engagement and activism. Current work is focusing on methods to engage the public in sustainable policy and behaviours, as outlined under 'projects' below.
New report entitled: A new geography of local government: The changing role of town and parish councils in Cornwall (July 2019) was published in 2019. As a Commissioner for Locality's Commission on the Future of Localism, I researched the changing role of town and parish councils in Cornwall. The combined impact of support for devolution along with financial pressures caused by budget cuts has prompted Cornwall Council to transfer important assets to the ownership and management of local councils. I have explored these changes and their impact and you can email me for a copy of a new report that summarises the research or download it here: https://researchpubs.exeter.ac.uk/viewobject.html?cid=1&id=755576
A new research project, funded by UKRI, called Growing communities through nature, began in January 2020. This is a partnership with Cornwall Council, Cornwall’s Voluntary Sector Forum and the South Kerrier Alliance Community Interest Company. Prof Juliet Osborne and Dr Ros Shaw are the other colleagues involved from UoE. The funding is part of a national programme entitled Enhancing Place-Based Partnerships in Public Engagement with projects across the UK see: https://www.ukri.org/funding/funding-opportunities/enhancing-place-based-partnerships-in-public-engagement/
The award provides funding to employ a PDRA (Melissa Muir) and aims to engage with the public to improve biodiversity and the quality of public open spaces in Helston, Launceston and Newquay in Cornwall. Working with a range of public sector and community partners in each town, the project aims to foster public engagement in the co-design, co-monitoring and co-evaluation of improvements made to public open space, and to learn lessons from the activity for subsequent work. There will be two workshops in each town to co-design a public open space with local residents and to then feedback on the designs and decide how to develop co-monitoring and management of the space in future. The work will run through the first half of this year.
A short press release from the University of Exeter, announcing the work can be found here: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/newsandevents/news/title_777689_en.html
Publications by category
Publications by year
Jane_Wills Details from cache as at 2020-05-27 01:29:38
- GEO1413 - The Geography of Cornwall
- GEO2447 - Isles of Scilly Field Course
- GEO3457 - Geographies of Democracy
- GEOM405 - Democracy, Sustainability and Citizenship