My PhD is a collaborative project working with the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, the destination marketing agency for NewcastleGateshead. As places increasingly compete for investment, jobs, residents, students and visitors, place branding activities are commonly being used to promote places in this competitive environment.
The aim of the research is to investigate the relationship between place branding, and urban development. NewcastleGateshead is my core case studies and I will be studying four other case study cities to develop a comparative approach and provide learning for my collaborative partner.
I was attracted to study at CURDS due to the possibility of working on a research project with a non-academic partner, meaning that my research will have impact through its use by that organisation. CURDS' outward looking approach and good links to organisations in the region mean that it is successful in providing opportunities for these collaborative projects.
Immediately prior to starting this project I worked as a policy officer in a Town Planning department for a Local Authority. Before that I studied for my undergraduate degree at Durham University and have undertaken postgraduate studies at both Durham and Newcastle University.
I have found both my previous study and my work experience useful as I undertake this project; the adjustment back to a university setting was easy as the nature of PhD research means you are able to make the project your own.
The best thing about studying in CURDS is the expert level of advice and support offered by supervisors which is fantastic and allows you to develop your research project with confidence. Also the links the department has to people working in practice and to academics around the world is great for my work.
I have found the University to be a really friendly place. It supports its postgraduates well in terms of providing office space and other facilities. There is also a training programme for postgraduate researchers which is a good way to meet people in different disciplines in the early stages and there lots of things to get involved in should you want to.
Newcastle is a really attractive city with great shopping, nightlife and culture. It’s a friendly city where there is always something going on, the university is located in the heart of the city meaning you are able to make the most of what it has to offer. I don’t live in Newcastle itself but the transport links are good meaning it is easy to commute in every day.