Prof Kevin Ward

Professor of Human Geography

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Kevin Ward

Educational Background:

  • 1998 PhD in Geography, Governing the city: A regime approach (University of Manchester)(Awarded ESRC Studentship, 1994-1997)
  • 1995 Master of Arts in Social Research Methods (University of Manchester)
  • 1992 Master of Arts in Transport Economics (University of Leeds) (Awarded Rees Jeffreys Full Fellowship, 1991-1992)
  • 1991 BA (Hons) Economics and Geography (Middlesex University)

Employment History:

  • 2007 - Professor of Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2005-2007 - Reader in Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2003-2005 - Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 2000-2003 - Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester
  • 1997-2000 - Research Associate, ICLS and EWERC, University of Manchester
  • 1992-1994 - Research Assistant, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham

Kevin is Professor of Human Geography and is the School of Environment's Director of External Relations and the Faculty's Director of cities@manchester at the University of Manchester. He is a geographical political economist with interests in urban politics and policy on the one hand, and work and employment on the other. His current work explores urban policies to see where they come from, how they travel, where they end up and what these journeys mean for the cities the policies pass through. Theoretically, this involves rethinking what is meant by ‘the urban’ in urban politics, as elements of different places are assembled and reassembled to constitute particular ‘urban’ political realms. Methodologically, this involves doing fieldwork in a range of sites inside and outside of the cities that are the objects of study, literally seeking to reveal the circuits, networks and webs in and through which policies are moved. His co-edited book (with Eugene McCann) Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age (Minnesota University Press) was published in 2011. He is currently exploring the constitution of financial 'models' that have emerged in different areas of the world and that have been circulating as a means of funding infrastructure in the current economic condition.

Social responsibility

Current and completed postgraduates

Amy Barron (2016 - ) Interrogating the 'Age-Friendly City': A Comparative Study of Lived Experience’ (with C Perkins and H F Wilson) (+3 ESRC studentship)

Graeme Moore (2016 - ) ‘Changing perceptions and representations of the UK Evening and Night Time Economy: Last orders at the bar?’ (with S Warren) (University of Manchester scholarship)

Alistair Sheldrick (2016 - ) ‘Negotiating difference in the austere city: Forced migrant and non-migrant responses to austerity in Liverpool and Rochdale’ (with J Darling and K Burrell, University of Liverpool) (+3 ESRC studentship)

Kathleen Stokes (2016 - ) ‘‘Turning livelihoods to rubbish? Responsibility and labour in South African waste management’ (with  E Swyngedouw) (+3 ESRC studentship)

Daniel Evans (2014- ) ‘Multiculturalism in Oldham’ (with H F Wilson) (1+3 ESRC studentship)

Mathew Lane (2012- ) ‘Assembling Lusaka: A Case Study exploring the actors and approaches to urban planning in post-colonial Africa’(with J Faulconbridge, Lancaster University (1+3 ESRC studentship)

Dawn Cole(2009 -2016) Work life balance and urban restructuring (self funded, part time, with M Jayne)

Alan Davies(2008-2013 ) UK migrant connections (BICC funded, with N Coe)

Jennifer Watts(2008- 2012) The institutional context for temporary staffing: a European cross-national comparative study (ESRC funded, with N Coe)

Katharine Jones (2007-2012) The role of temporary staffing agencies in facilitating accession eight migration into the UK (ESRC funded, with N Coe)

Ross Jones (2005-2010) Ethically certified coffee in Vietnam: uneven landscapes of governance in the coffee production network (University of Manchester funded, with N Coe)

Vinny Pattison (2004-2009) Living wage campaigns the North West of England's economy and society (ESRC funded, with N Coe)

Ian Cook (2003-2008) Neoliberalism in action: state restructuring and urban development (ESRC funded, with N Coe)

Katie May (2002-2006) Global production networks and local economic development: the case of retailing (ESRC funded, with N Coe)

Ramon Ribera (2001-2005) Re-scaling urban governance in Europe (University of Manchester funded, with N Castree)

Anthony Vigor (1999-2003) Resurgent regions? Rethinking regional development within a neoliberal economy (University of Manchester funded)


Further information

Administrative experience

At the University of Manchester

  • Director, Manchester Urban Institute (2016 - )
  • Director of External Relations (2012-2015)
  • Director, cities@manchester (2010-2016 )
  • Research Director, School of Environment and Development (2005-6, 2008)
  • Dissertation Director, Undergraduate Degree Programme (2007-2011)
  • Programme Director, MA Economy and Space (2000-2005)
  • Programme Director, MA Human Geography (2002-2005)
  • Undergraduate admissions Tutor (2002-2005)
  • Personal Tutor of first, second and third year students (2000-2005)
  • Mentor for a number of recently appointed faculty (2007-)

Professional memberships / fellowships

  • Chair, Urban Geography Speciality Group committee, AAG (2012-2014 )
  • Honorary Fellow, Research Institute in Cosmopolitan Cultures (RICC), University of Manchester (2007-2012 )
  • Honorary Fellow, Brooks World Poverty Institute (BWPI), University of Manchester (2008-2011 )
  • Affiliate, Sloan Industry Studies Program (October 2007- )
  • Honorary Research Fellow, European Work and Employment Research Centre, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester (2000-2006)
  • Member of ESRC Research College (2004-2008)
  • Honorary Research Fellow, ESRC Centre for Innovation and Competition, University of Manchester (2000-2004)
  • Member of the Association of American Geographers (2003- )
  • Member of the Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British Geographers (1998- )

Editorships: Journals / books

  • Editor. Urban Geography (2015 - )
  • Editor, Area (2010-2014 )
  • Member of Antipode editorial board (2004- )
  • Member of Spaces & Flows advisory board (2011-)
  • Editor (Urban Section), Geography Compass (2009-2012
  • Editor (Human Geography) RGS-IBG Book Series (Wiley Blackwell) (2005-2010)
  • Member of Local Economy editorial board (2004-2005)
  • Member of Work, Employment and Society editorial board (2001-2004)

Recent presentations

2011: 'The post-political urban condition and the mobility of policies: some thoughts', Open University, June

2011: 'Assembling urbanism: Following policies and 'studying through' the sites and situations of policy-making' Association of American Geographers annual conference, Seattle, April

2010: Relational comparisons, Open Space Seminar, Open University, October

2009: Comparative urbanism RGS-IBG annual conference, Manchester, August

2009: Delivering the sanitised downtown: the case of Milwaukee, Construction and consumption of placeless space conference, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Work Studies, University of Liverpool, April

2009: Comparing cities under neo-liberal conditions, Plenary at Redefinition of public space with the privatization of cities: 5th international conference of the research network of private urban governance and gated communities, University of Santiago, March

2009: Making the new urban politics possible? Topological geographies of urban expertise and knowledge, Association of American Geographers annual conference, Las Vegas, March

2008: Variegated temporary staffing markets, Metropolis, Bonn, October

2008: Variegated temporary staffing markets, Globalisation and service workplaces, Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, October

2008: Varieties of temporary staffing: evidence from five countries, Transforming work: a multi-disciplinary conference on new forms of employment and their regulation, University of Oxford, September

2008: Varieties of temporary staffing: evidence from five countries, ESRC Cultures of Competitiveness seminar, Manchester, July (with N Coe)

2008: 'Flexibility in action: the temporary staffing industry and labour market restructuring in the Czech Republic and Poland, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, June

2008: Post-socialist varieties of temporary staffing: evidence from the Czech Republic and Poland, Alfred P Sloan Foundation Industry Studies Annual Conference, Boston, May

2008: Mainstreaming public geographies, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, March

2008: Towards a conceptualization of cities in the world, Policy transfer session, Association of American Geographers annual conference, Boston, March (with E McCann)

External positions

Editor, Urban Geo

Areas of expertise

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