Dr Matt Thompson of The Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice & Place Awarded Leverhulme Fellowship

Posted on: 13 June 2018 by Nick Jones in 2018 Posts

Matt Thompson
Dr Matt Thompson

The Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice & Place is pleased to announce that Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Matt Thompson has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship to develop his project: Reimagining the City: New Municipalism and the Future of Economic Democracy.

The project aims to critically investigate the emergence of a global urban social movement known as ‘new municipalism’. This sees urban activists and social innovators forging alliances with city mayors and municipal managers – from Hong Kong to Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town to Montreal – to create progressive coalitions for experimental and radically egalitarian policy agendas, in resistance to rising inequalities, austerity, financialisation and urban-economic crisis.

Specifically, it will focus on the exemplar cities of Barcelona, Cleveland (USA) and Preston (UK) – examining how the so-called ‘Preston model’, currently celebrated by the British Labour Party amongst others, has evolved out of ideas travelling from elsewhere and from historical antecedents. The aim is to construct a renewed history of municipal socialism to understand what the ‘new municipalism’ might mean for the future of the city, the future of economic democracy, and for the changing nature of the state. 

Dr Matt Thompson completed his PhD at the University of Manchester in 2015 on Liverpool’s history of collective alternatives to public housing, focusing on the city’s 1970s co-operative movement and contemporary Community Land Trust (CLT) activism. This is due to be published by Liverpool University Press. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and of University College London, where he completed a Masters degree in Spatial Planning whilst working part-time in the planning department of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Recently, he has conducted a number of politically influential research projects, such as a scoping study of the social economy, and an alternative industrial strategy, both for the Liverpool City Region, and has presented his research to various academic, policymaker and practitioner audiences, nationally and internationally. Matt has previously worked for the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, on the formulation of urban policy, and currently volunteers for Homebaked CLT, where he contributes to vision-making for community-led housing and regenerating the local high street.

Mark Boyle said "We are delighted that Dr Matt Thompson has been awarded a coveted Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship to study the new municipalism here at the Heseltine Institute. This prestigious award will fortify the institute's concern to recast thinking on the relationship between states, markets and citizens after a lost decade of neoliberalism redux and austerity. This award encourages innovative thinking and thought leadership - defining features of the Heseltine Institute - so we are particularly pleased that Matt's proposal has been selected for funding."

Keywords: Heseltine Institute.