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Professor Jane Wills

Professor Jane Wills

Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute and Professor of Geography

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 

 

Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

 Office hours:

Please email to book a time to meet: via Amrita Sharma (A.Sharma4@exeter.ac.uk) or direct to Jane (j.wills2@exeter.ac.uk)

Overview

Jane Wills 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. 

I have long-standing interests in the politics and philosophy of research practice and knowledge production and recently 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).

My 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

Historically, my research interests have focused 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. 

Since moving to the University of Exeter, I have shifted to focus on public engagement in sustainability policy and practice. I have 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 (Zoe Chateau); and community-oriented development practices for sustainable forest farming in Peru (Lena Prouchet).

In early 2020, I led a UKRI-funded project on public engagement in nature-based solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss. Working with partners in Cornwall Council and the voluntary sector, we organised co-production workshops with residents in Helston, Launceston and Newquay to explore their uses of local green spaces, documenting their ideas for improvements. A full report and short film about the 'Growing community through nature' project can be found on this website: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/research/communitiesthroughnature/

The arrival of Covid-19 has had dramatic and far-reaching consequences for the economy and community in Cornwall. As a trustee of Cornwall's Voluntary Sector Forum, I worked with Nigel Sainsbury to survey community and voluntary sector organisations in Cornwall, asking respondents about the impact of lock-down on services, funding and their plans for the future. A full report and press release can be found here: http://www.cornwallvsf.org/less-than-a-quarter-of-cornwalls-voluntary-sector-operating-as-usual-amid-covid-19-crisis/

For more information about previous research into the living wage campaign, including papers and data, please visit the website located at my old employer, Queen Mary, University of London: www.geog.qmul.ac.uk/livingwage/

In pre-COVID times, I was the administrator for the Penryn campus choir - Kana Tremough!  We hope to restart when it proves possible to sing again, and all staff are welcome, sign up here.

Qualifications

BA(Hons) Geography Cambridge 1986

PhD Open University 1995

Career

Jane Wills joined the University of Exeter in October 2017, moving from Queen Mary, University of London. Prior to that she worked at the University of Southampton, University of Cambridge and in local government.

Links

Research group links

Research

Research interests

My 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 my wider interests in devolution and localism, community organizing, civic innovation and sustainability.

A new report (2020) on the Growing communities through nature project, funded by UKRI as part of the Enhancing Partnerships for Place-Based Public Engagement programme, can be found, along with a short film, here: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/research/communitiesthroughnature/

In 2019, I published a report entitled: A new geography of local government: The changing role of town and parish councils in Cornwall . 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 access the report here - associated publications are listed later on: https://researchpubs.exeter.ac.uk/viewobject.html?cid=1&id=755576

The crisis caused by Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy and community and a research survey and report documenting the experiences of the voluntary sector, written for Cornwall's Voluntary Sector Forum, is available here: http://www.cornwallvsf.org/

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Books

Wills J (eds)(2020). The Power of Pragmatism Knowledge Production and Social Research. Manchester, Manchester University Press. Abstract.
Wills J (2016). Locating Localism Statecraft, Citizenship and Democracy., Policy Press. Abstract.

Journal articles

Kinsley S, Layton J, Davis J, Wills J, Featherstone D, Temenos C, Barnett C (2020). Reading Clive Barnett's the Priority of Injustice. Political Geography, 78, 102065-102065.
Greenhough B, Read CJ, Lorimer J, Lezaun J, McLeod C, Benezra A, Bloomfield S, Brown T, Clinch M, D’Acquisto F, et al (2020). Setting the agenda for social science research on the human microbiome. Palgrave Communications, 6(1). Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (2020). The geo-constitution and responses to austerity: Institutional entrepreneurship, switching, and re-scaling in the United Kingdom. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (2019). The geo-constitution: Understanding the intersection of geography and political institutions. Progress in Human Geography, 43(3), 416-435. Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J, Scott J (2017). The geography of the political party: Lessons from the British Labour Party’s experiment with community organising, 2010 to 2015. Political Geography, 60, 121-131. Full text.
Wills J (2016). (Re)Locating community in relationships: questions for public policy. Sociological Review, 64, 639-656. Full text.
Harney L, McCurry J, Scott J, Wills J (2016). Developing ‘process pragmatism’ to underpin engaged research in human geography. Progress in Human Geography, 40(3), 316-333. Full text.
Wills J (2016). Emerging geographies of English localism: the case of neighbourhood planning. Political Geography, 53, 43-53. Full text.
Linneker B, Wills J (2016). The London living wage and in-work poverty reduction: Impacts on employers and workers. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 34(5), 759-776. Full text.
Wills J (2015). Populism, localism and the geography of democracy. Geoforum, 62, 188-189. Full text.
Wills J, Linneker B (2013). In-work poverty and the living wage in the United Kingdom: a geographical perspective. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39(2), 182-194. Full text.
Flint E, Cummins S, Wills J (2013). Investigating the effect of the London living wage on the psychological wellbeing of low-wage service sector employees: a feasibility study. Journal of Public Health, 36(2), 187-193. Full text.

Chapters

Wills J, Lake RW (2020). Introduction: the power of pragmatism. In  (Ed) The power of pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 3-54.  Abstract.  Full text.
Harney L, Wills J (2020). Reflections on an Experiment in Pragmatic Social Research and Knowledge Production. In  (Ed) The power of pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 176-194.  Abstract.
Wills J (2019). Organising. In the Antipode Editorial Collective (Ed) Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 202-206.  Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (2018). Faith in action: Lessons from Citizens UK’s work in east London. In Pemberton C (Ed) Theology and civil society, Routledge, 19-44.
Wills J, Horton A (2018). Impacts of the living wage on in-work poverty. In Lohmann H, Marx I (Eds.) Handbook of research on in-work poverty, Edward Elgar.
Wills J (2014). Engaging. In Lee R (Ed) Sage handbook of progress in human geography, 367-384.

Reports

Wills J, Shaw R, Muir M (2020). Growing Communities Through Nature: Research report. UKRI,  Penryn, Cornwall, University of Exeter. 0 pages.  Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (2019). A new geography of local government: the changing role of town and parish councils in Cornwall, UK. Locality,  Penryn, University of Exeter. 30 pages.  Abstract.  Full text.

Publications by year


2020

Wills J, Shaw R, Muir M (2020). Growing Communities Through Nature: Research report. UKRI,  Penryn, Cornwall, University of Exeter. 0 pages.  Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J, Lake RW (2020). Introduction: the power of pragmatism. In  (Ed) The power of pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 3-54.  Abstract.  Full text.
Kinsley S, Layton J, Davis J, Wills J, Featherstone D, Temenos C, Barnett C (2020). Reading Clive Barnett's the Priority of Injustice. Political Geography, 78, 102065-102065.
Harney L, Wills J (2020). Reflections on an Experiment in Pragmatic Social Research and Knowledge Production. In  (Ed) The power of pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry, Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 176-194.  Abstract.
Greenhough B, Read CJ, Lorimer J, Lezaun J, McLeod C, Benezra A, Bloomfield S, Brown T, Clinch M, D’Acquisto F, et al (2020). Setting the agenda for social science research on the human microbiome. Palgrave Communications, 6(1). Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (eds)(2020). The Power of Pragmatism Knowledge Production and Social Research. Manchester, Manchester University Press. Abstract.
Wills J (2020). The geo-constitution and responses to austerity: Institutional entrepreneurship, switching, and re-scaling in the United Kingdom. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Abstract.  Full text.

2019

Wills J (2019). A new geography of local government: the changing role of town and parish councils in Cornwall, UK. Locality,  Penryn, University of Exeter. 30 pages.  Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (2019). Organising. In the Antipode Editorial Collective (Ed) Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 202-206.  Abstract.  Full text.
Wills J (2019). The geo-constitution: Understanding the intersection of geography and political institutions. Progress in Human Geography, 43(3), 416-435. Abstract.  Full text.

2018

Wills J (2018). Faith in action: Lessons from Citizens UK’s work in east London. In Pemberton C (Ed) Theology and civil society, Routledge, 19-44.
Wills J, Horton A (2018). Impacts of the living wage on in-work poverty. In Lohmann H, Marx I (Eds.) Handbook of research on in-work poverty, Edward Elgar.

2017

Wills J, Scott J (2017). The geography of the political party: Lessons from the British Labour Party’s experiment with community organising, 2010 to 2015. Political Geography, 60, 121-131. Full text.

2016

Wills J (2016). (Re)Locating community in relationships: questions for public policy. Sociological Review, 64, 639-656. Full text.
Harney L, McCurry J, Scott J, Wills J (2016). Developing ‘process pragmatism’ to underpin engaged research in human geography. Progress in Human Geography, 40(3), 316-333. Full text.
Wills J (2016). Emerging geographies of English localism: the case of neighbourhood planning. Political Geography, 53, 43-53. Full text.
Wills J (2016). Locating Localism Statecraft, Citizenship and Democracy., Policy Press. Abstract.
Linneker B, Wills J (2016). The London living wage and in-work poverty reduction: Impacts on employers and workers. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 34(5), 759-776. Full text.

2015

Wills J (2015). Populism, localism and the geography of democracy. Geoforum, 62, 188-189. Full text.

2014

Wills J (2014). Engaging. In Lee R (Ed) Sage handbook of progress in human geography, 367-384.

2013

Wills J, Linneker B (2013). In-work poverty and the living wage in the United Kingdom: a geographical perspective. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 39(2), 182-194. Full text.
Flint E, Cummins S, Wills J (2013). Investigating the effect of the London living wage on the psychological wellbeing of low-wage service sector employees: a feasibility study. Journal of Public Health, 36(2), 187-193. Full text.

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