CCRI Winter School 2023

Introducing the Winter School

The University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) continues its annual Winter School for PhD researchers, guided this year by the theme of strengthening rural-urban linkages. It will take place on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd February 2023, at the University of Gloucestershire’s Park Campus.

The two-day Winter School offers current PhD researchers a chance to present work-in-progress to a group of peers in a conference-type setting. Experienced staff from the CCRI and other departments of the University will attend to offer constructive, friendly and critical responses to the presenters. In addition, two workshop sessions, linked to (i) career development and (ii) applied/transdisciplinary research and creative practice, will be offered to provide participants a chance to discuss these topics with experienced panellists. For an idea of what to expect at the event, take a look at the video from our Winter School in 2014.

Reflections from the 2014 Winter School

Tweets from our most recent Winter School can be found at #CCRIWS22.

Strengthening rural-urban linkages

This year, the Winter School’s emphasis is on strengthening urban and rural linkages. A classic reference point for this theme is Raymond Williams’s (1973) assertion that ‘[t]he country and the city are changing historical realities, both in themselves and their interrelations.’ Williams resonates strongly today, in a world that is – despite the urban flight during COVID-19 – predominantly urbanising.

Rural-urban linkages can be seen in many ways as dynamic, especially when considered as flows (of materials, waste, people and social relations etc., often with varied administrative arrangements). The architect Carolyn Steel indicates in ‘Hungry City’ (2008) that much urban infrastructure has been designed with the distribution of rurally produced food in mind. Meanwhile, ideas of ‘rurbanity’ and relationality have inspired contemporary geographers, planner, sociologists and environmental scientists to consider the symbols, impacts and functions of one space as an element of systemic wholeness mirrored in the other.

We invite applications from PhD researchers especially from the humanities and social sciences whose theses examine the connecting, hybridising, transgressive and dynamic nature of rural-urban linkages and interdependencies which might include (for example):

  • Inter-disciplinary research methods and fieldwork innovations
  • Rural-urban spatial dynamics, links and semantics
  • The interface and/or hybridity of physical and digital worlds
  • Cultural, social, environmental and/or landscape interdependencies at regional or local scales
  • Applied and trans-disciplinary research which informs practice and policy, for example in the matter of catchments, knowledge communities, ecosystems services, ethnic or cultural communities
  • The vertical integration (or disconnection) of rural-urban policy hierarchies
  • Synergies and distinctions in human and non-human agency across the rural-urban divide
  • Representations of the rural and urban and their transgression within the arts and humanities
  • The (re-)construction of rural and urban identities against rapidly changing climatic, social, (trans-)gendered and political backdrops

Any PhD researcher registered with a UK or Irish university is welcome to apply by sending an abstract of no more than 250 words to Aimee Morse ( and Daniel Keech ( by Friday 9th December 2022 at 12.00 noon. Successful presenters will be informed by the end of December. On the abstract submission, please list your name, institution and department, as well as your preferred email and telephone contact details.

There is no charge for the event, although participants will need to pay for their own transport and overnight accommodation in Cheltenham. Accommodation will be available at the University, if required [1]. Refreshments and lunch will be provided on both days (no charge). A social evening meal in the Exmouth Arms in Cheltenham is optional and will also need to be paid for by participants. Please indicate in your submission if you would like to join this social gathering.


Williams, R. (1973/2016) The Country and the City. London, Vintage.

Steel, C. (2008) Hungry City – How Food Shapes Our Lives. London, Chatto & Windus


[1] The organisers are investigating travel bursaries, but these should not be expected at this stage.