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  Gypsies and Travellers and the harms of planning: counter-mapping, oral histories and housing justice


   Department of Urban Studies & Planning

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  Prof Ryan Powell, Prof Stephen hincks  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This exciting research opportunity will contribute to the reframing and re-historicizing of the UK’s contemporary “Traveller problem”. This project is a collaboration between the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Sheffield and Leeds GATE (Gypsy and Traveller Exchange), a community members organisation aimed at improving the quality of life of Gypsies and Travellers in West Yorkshire. Working with the Gypsy and Traveller community, you will harness the tools, techniques and practices of counter-mapping, oral histories and housing justice to challenge racist narratives on accommodating Gypsy and Traveller nomadism. The project will invert established approaches to mapping and oral history to expose the impacts that limiting nomadic practices is having on Gypsy and Traveller communities over time. It will document the decline of official sites, accepted "stopping places," and the gradual criminalisation of nomadism, including the recent criminalisation of trespass. Through a novel lens that centres Gypsies and Travellers in contemporary debates on social exclusion and housing justice, it will challenge their long-standing marginalisation.

The research poses three key questions:

1. How has the provision of Gypsy and Traveller sites and “stopping places” evolved since the 1960s, and what are the key trends in planning applications and outcomes?

2. What is the long-term impact of the planning system and outcomes on the quality of life of nomadic Gypsies and Travellers?

3. How can hard-to-reach planning data and counter-mapping techniques challenge prevailing narratives and prejudices related to Gypsy and Traveller site provision?

We are looking for outstanding candidates committed to community-led change, methodological pluralism, housing and racial justice. Experience and expertise within Gypsy and Traveller communities, community engagement, GIS, urban planning and sociology are all desirable, but not essential to the candidate. A bespoke training programme would be developed in collaboration with Leeds GATE. We particularly welcome applicants from Gypsy and Traveller communities.

The successful applicant will be Supervised by Professor Ryan Powell, Professor Ste Hincks (University of Sheffield) and Ellie Faro (Leeds GATE). Erin McElroy (University of Washington; and co-founder of the anti-eviction mapping project) will act as an Adviser to the project.

To ensure all students acquire the core research skills necessary to undertake a doctoral project, the structure and duration of the WRDTP’s awards depend on the applicant’s previous academic experience, and any social science research training or experience already undertaken. Award types are:

+3.5 programme: funding for a 3.5-year PhD. Typically, applicants with a social science masters degree and with 60 or more credits of M-level social science research training are suited to this route

+3.75 programme: funding for an integrated PGCert/PhD. Typically, applicants with a social science masters degree, but who have not undertaken core research training are those most likely to benefit from this option.

1+3.5 programme: funding for a 1 year Masters programme, followed by the 3.5 year PhD. Typically for applicants without a social sciences masters degree.

Entry requirements and application details are listed here. 

Citing the title of the studentship, applicants should also upload the following:

A one-page personal statement explaining how your skills, experiences, interests and career plans make you a suitable candidate.

A 500-word statement explaining why this research is important. 

Interviews will take place in Leeds on Monday 25th March 2024.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Geography (17) History & Archaeology (19) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

WRDTP collaborative award - Full Fees and Stipend for the funded duration.

Where will I study?

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