School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Ruth Raynor

Lecturer in Urban Planning


   Research interests and practice

-       -      Performance, performativity and the performing arts

        -       Creative and participatory practice, specifically theatre-making, for social research

        -       Studies of affect (hope and grief, precarity and precaritisation) 

        -       Time (futures and presents, endings and loss) 

        -       Interdisciplinarity and collaboration

        -       Everyday Life and Austerity


PhD University of Durham - Human geography 

MA University of Durham - Social research methods

BA University of Bristol - Drama: Theatre, film and television studies


I am an interdisciplinary researcher and creative-practicioner based in urban planning. My current scholarship has three key areas, 1. Everyday politics of hope and precarity in the context of UK austerity, 2. Collective events which are extended, non-linear, and diffuse 3. Creative practice (specifically performing arts) based research in urban studies: I am currently developing a devised theatre project that examines the different forms that endings can take in Urban life and working with artists to develop subversive place-making practices that make space for 'Alternative Futures'. Developing from work that ‘dramatised austerity’ with women in the North East of England, I am currently involved in two further ESRC funded projects, both examine the complex spaces of hope in uncertain times, and amidst decline. The first, with Dr David Webb, is an open chair that explores the re-working of relationships between third sector, private sector and public sector organisations amidst austertity and the other explores the relationship between alternative futures and northern imaginaries with song-writer Jennie Brewis. In different ways these projects explore how local residents and key stake-holders relate to (feel, imagine and seek to intervene in) the effects of a changing (withdrawing) local state. This will form the basis of a broader investigation into endings, withdrawals and genres of 'Urban recovery.' 


Funded research projects: 

ESRC Open Chair: From doom to hope? Exploring the renegotiation of public services in challenging times with David Webb 

ESRC IAA: Alternative Futures: Sunderland and Gateshead 

Book chapters: 

Raynor, R (2018) 'Making theatre that matters: Troubling subtext, motive and intuition' in Non Representational Theory and the Creative Arts  ed  Boyd, C  and Edwardes, C Palgrave Macmillan


Changing the Question from 'the end of austerity? to 'what ends in austerity?' Antipode, 2018

Pain, R and Raynor, R (2016) A soup of different inspirations: Co-produced research and recognising impact as a process not an outcome: LSE Blog 


Raynor, R (2018) Speaking, feeling, mattering: theatre as method and model for collaborative research Progress in Human Geography [online first] 

Raynor, R (2017) Dramatising Austerity: Holding a Story Together (and Why it Falls Apart...) Cultural Geographies Vol 2 (2) 193-212

Raynor, R (2017) (De)Composing Habit in Theatre As Method Geohumanities vol 3 (1) 108-121

Davoudi, S; Crawford, J; Raynor, R; Reid, B; Sykes, O; Shaw, D (2017) Policy and Practice Spatial Imaginaries: Tyrannies or Transformations?  Town Planning Review [Online First] 

Raynor, R (2016) Holding Things Together (and Why they Fall Apart...) Encountering and Dramatising Austerity with Women in the North East of England  (ethises)


As convenor and lecturer

Urban Poverty (L2 Planning) 

Understanding Place (L1 Planning) 

Dissertations (L3 Planning and Geography) 

Previous Teaching in Human Geography University of Durham: 

People, Participation, and Place (L3) 

Using Geographical Skills and Techniques (L2) 

Research Frontiers (L3 and 4) 

Social Research in Human Geography (L4) 

Geographies of Everyday Life (L3) 

Cities (L2) 

Environment and Society (L1) 

Space and Place in a Changing World (L1) 

Introduction to Geographical Research (L1)