Academic support

Cittaslow research pays off for academic, Dr Tessa Holland

Dr Tessa Holland (left) with her thesis on Cittaslow, is congratulated by her tutor, Dr Helen Jarvis.

Cittaslow is a worldwide network of small towns, including Mold, that aim to be places where people enjoy living, working and visiting. The membership stretches from Iceland to Australia, making Cittaslow an internationally recognised standard. Cittaslow encourages its member towns to support practical projects that help local people and businesses by maintaining the unique traditions, strengths and character of their town. At the same time, it is a forward thinking movement that aims to promote cutting edge solutions and improve peoples’ lives in a sustainable manner.

To better understand and research Cittaslow, Newcastle University in partnership with Cittaslow UK were successful in attracting PhD student funding from the Arts Humanity Research Council (AHRC) to study what makes Cittaslow towns so special. Tessa Holland was appointed and has just been awarded a PhD at the end of her studies. Tessa visited Mold for several weeks as part of her research and was hosted by families in the town.

The value of academic collaboration is explained by Tessa’s tutor, Dr Helen Jarvis of Newcastle University, “My academic life has always involved collaboration with civil society organisations. It can be hugely rewarding to identify shared concerns and build effective two-way relationships. This takes time, which is why the AHRC Award presented the ideal opportunity – for Tessa to develop her academic career, and for Cittaslow UK to tap into the technical support, funding and impact that University partnership can provide. It’s not enough to produce evidence ‘from an ivory tower’: the real challenge is to communicate and explain real-world situations. Dr Tessa Holland is to be congratulated for sensitively navigating shared concerns to produce a wonderfully original thesis”.

Well done Tessa – and thank you for sharing your thought-provoking ideas, and helping to develop our projects.

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