The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Tessa Holland

Research Associate


Current: Research Associate (Sociology)

Working on Impact Case Studies:

"Girl-Kind" (with Sarah Winkler-Reid, Newcastle University; and Sarah Ralph, Northumbria University) ;

"What are the Differences Investing in Children Make to Young People and Practitioners?" (with Janice McLaughlin)

I am also working with Catherine Degnen and Silvia Pasquetti on a project funded by Newcastle Social Justice Fund

"The West End Refugee Service at 20 (1999-2019): Building Sanctuary in Complex Times"


Doctoral Project (Newcastle University 2018)
Navigating Slow, ‘fast’ and crafted knowledges: knowing through Cittaslow

A Collaborative Doctoral Award funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

The project was developed with the UK branch of the international network of Slow towns, called Cittaslow, and involved working on in-depth qualitative case studies with support from my collaborative partners and with diverse stakeholders and residents of member towns.  It explored the capacity of Cittaslow to affect, and be affected; and as a response to sustainability in the 21st century.  The project evolved to draw in my previous experience as a jeweller, and the philosophy of the Slow movement, subsequently re-imagining Slow and crafted thinking as an analytical and methodological approach that can be used to critique power relations produced by dominant ‘fast’ narratives.  


MSc (Durham University 2012)

Development Anthropology

Before entering post-graduate studies I was self-employed as a jeweller and maker working with precioius and non-precious materials.  This experience colours my research perspective and informs my working pracitces.


Future research interest

Currently developing an interdisciplinary research project on ways of knowing - drawing on academic learnings from Geography and Anthropology, and my previous craft as a jeweller.

Previous research roles

2018-present: Visiting Researcher, Newcastle University: working with Girl-Kind NE and local schools on an ESRC funded project linked to UN Day of the Girl.  Role: to co-lead workshops in schools, recruit and co-ordinate acts for the public celebratory event, and provide wide-ranging administrative support across the project.

2017: Research Assistant, Northumbria University, Athena SWAN supportRole: to design, conduct, analyse and report on semi-structured qualitative interviews with staff from grades 5-9; and to design an on-line survey to supplement and enhance the interview data.

2016: Research Assistant, Newcastle: supporting the European Commission project, CUPESSE: Cultural Pathways to Economic Self-Sufficiency and Entrepreneurship.  Role: to conduct in-depth qualitative interviews with families to explore how work values are passed between generations. (European Commission 4 year €5m project FP7 )

2015-16: Co-investigator on a short project funded by Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal: The Slow Cultural Ecosystem of Net-Fishing on the Tweed.  We held pop-up events and created a ‘Story Booth’ to elicit perceptions from residents and visitors to the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed about a local traditional livelihood. (NISR 1 year £4k project)

2014: Invited Delegate/Observer, at the Cittaslow International Assembly in the Netherlands: AHRC Research Training Support Grant

Additional RC funded research partnerships

Research partner on a series of AHRC Connected Community collaborative projects bringing together academic and non-academic interlocutors

2014-15: AHRC Connected Communities workshop series: Studio. Legacy enquiry on the role of artists in Connected Community projects.

2014: AHRC Connected Communities public event: Ways of Knowing in Collaborative and Participatory Research. I led a workshop, working with materials as a distinctive form of embodied knowing.

2013-14: AHRC Connected Communities workshop series: Ways of Knowing. Exploring different registers, values and subjectivities of collaborative research. ‘Zine report at:

2012: AHRC Connected Communities follow-on project: Tackling ethical issues and dilemmas in community-based participatory research: a practical resource

2012: AHRC Connected Communities Summit, Manchester. Attending to co-facilitate a workshop: Tackling ethical issues in community based participatory research

2011: AHRC Connected Communities workshop series: Community Based Participatory Research Group: Ethics and Outcomes. Outcomes include: AHRC report, ‘Community-based Participatory Research: Ethical Challenges’