Posted by: James Kennell | August 16, 2010

Research day trips – help welcomed!

Over the next month or so, I’ll be spending some time in Whitstable, Margate and Folkestone for the final stages of my research.   I’m carrying out a mix of interviews and observation-style research, which means I’ll be floating about in Margate’s Old Town, the area around Whitstable’s harbour street and Folkestone’s Creative Quarter , making observations, talking to people I meet and trying to put together a picture of how these places are being used on a day-to-day basis.

If you’d like to talk to me about my research, or think there is someone else I should be speaking to, or somewhere I should be visiting, please let me know.  Drop me a line via the contact page of this blog or on twitter, where you can find me via @socialseaside .  I’ll use the twitter feed quite a lot as I’m doing my research I’d imagine, so it’s a good way to get in touch with me  while I’m in your area or to find out where I’m going to be and when.

My research is concerned with getting behind the ‘official’ versions of these three regenerating seaside towns and investigating the impacts that cultural activity is having at street level.  My findings will be more interesting and more useful if as many people as possible get involved in representing the places where they live, work and create, so please do get in touch if you can help, and be prepared for occasional polite interruptions by a man with a notebook over the next few weeks!

Posted by: James Kennell | August 12, 2010

The historical development of British seaside towns

I’ve noticed that lots of the visitors to this blog arrive after google searches for topics related to the historical development of seaside towns.  Because of this, I’ve posted a link (click on the image below) to a table I’ve put together that provides a summary of how seaside towns have developed in different historical periods.  It is only brief, but may well be a useful resource for students, in particular.  You’ll notice it stops in 2000.  When my research is finished off, I’ll update the table to bring it up to date.


Posted by: James Kennell | July 13, 2010

Cultural Journeys, Folkestone, 10th September 2010

I’ll be speaking at this event in September….

Cultural Journeys: The Arts, Higher Education and great expectations?

University Centre Folkestone Friday 10 September 2010 9.30am – 4.00pm

FREE event but booking essential

University Centre Folkestone is hosting this free conference for creative and performing arts practitioners, academics, tutors from schools and Further and Higher Education, and those interested in issues around regeneration, entrepreneurship, the arts and education. Topics for discussion and debate include why and how the arts can regenerate communities, how art changes lives, the X Factor Generation and expectation management and the arts practitioner as entrepreneur. Speakers, all experts in their field, are drawn from the arts, business and academic community. More details will be sent soon – but places are limited so BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment.

For more details and to book a place, please contact or ring 01227 782196.

Posted by: James Kennell | June 17, 2010

A slight delay….

Things have been quite on this blog for a couple of months.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly, the perennial administrative and marking logjam that always impacts on research and creative work after the Easter break.  We’re coming towards the end of this at Greenwich over the next couple of weeks, which should open up a bit more space for this project.  The other thing that caused me to put the brakes on for a few weeks was the general election in the UK which has led to a transitionary period of regime change and a lot of ambiguities for regeneration policy.  In the South-East, it is likely that SEEDA, the regional development agency, will be broken up.  Some of the RDA’s powers will most likely be taken over by local authorities while others will be exercised by the new Local Enterprise Partnerships that will operate at sub-regional levels and will be made up of local authorities and the private sector.  The Regional Spatial Strategy is also likely to go, and the new secretary of state for Communities and Local Government has already begun writing to local authorities to tell them to ignore key aspects of their RSSs, such as housing delivery targets.

What this will mean for cultural regeneration and seaside regeneration is not at all clear.  The rhetoric and aims of cultural regeneration, with its emphasis on the knowledge economy and high-spending cultural tourists as the drivers of renewal, are closely linked to New Labour policy and it remains to be seen whether the rhetoric or the mechanisms of cultural regeneration will survive under a Conservative administration.  Whether the new government will recognise seaside towns as particular kinds of urban areas, with their own specific issues and opportunities is also not clear.  All government spending since January 2010 is under review, which could have implications for recently awarded Sea Change grants and  monies recently released for seaside regeneration in the dying days of the New Labour project.  Hastings, which I have blogged about elsewhere, has already lost £300,000 of funding that it expected to direct to renewal projects this year.

Taking all of this into account, the research that I’ll be completing over the Summer should provide an interesting bookend to a period in seaside regeneration in which seaside towns first followed, then began to lead, a New Labour / Neoliberal approach to regeneration and economic development.

Posted by: James Kennell | March 18, 2010

Draft regional policy hierarchy

This is a very early draft model of the regional policy hierarchy for regeneration in so far as it affects my three case studies.  It is selective, excluding transport and health for example, and concentrating on community / social regeneration on one side of the model and the planning and economic development aspects of regeneration on the other side.

What is immediately apparent is the complexity of the policy structure for regeneration, even in this limited view of the overarching policy frameworks.  When the institutions attached to or responsible for each policy are added into the model, along with the funding streams that flow through the model, it becomes impossible to represent in a 2D manner in a way that is easy to navigate.  As I continue to post my data onto this blog, I’ll hopefully develop more sophisticated ways of presenting 3D models of these relationships.  As always comments and suggestions most welcome!

(you can view any of these policy documents by clicking the links in this blog’s seaside regeneration archive)

Posted by: James Kennell | February 19, 2010

Regeneration governance relationships

I’m working at the moment on a set of documents that I’m calling the ‘seaside regeneration archive’*. These are, at the moment, 84 policy documents relating to seaside regeneration.  The reason that I’m working with them as an archive is because it is impossible to pick up a single document and say that THIS is regeneration policy.  Regeneration is multi-disciplinary, both in terms of the range of government agencies and other stakeholders involved in policy and in the way it is funded and delivered. Because of this, it is only possible to arrive at a view on regeneration policy as a whole by analysing a wide range of policy sources.

To do this, I’m using Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software which allows me to code and search through large amounts of textual information. One of the things it helps with is in constructing visual representations of written data. I’ve just finished coding and analysing one set of documents for this project and the first visual model I’ve constructed is below. It aims to show the complexity of governance and delivery relationships for regeneration schemes. Of course, like any model, it is an over-simplification. The next models I post on here will add layers of detail, focusing in first on the south east and then on each of the three seaside towns that I’m studying.


HMT = Treasury

DCLG = Department for Communities and Local Government

DCMS  = Department for Culture, Media and Sport

CITYR = City Regions (their role still unclear)

HCA = Homes and Communities Agency

LGOV = Local government

GOS = Government Office

RDA = Regional Development Agency

DVs = Delivery Vehicles

Third S / Private S = Third / Private Sector

*This is a conscious reference to the work of Derek McGhee, who discusses the ‘community cohesion archive’ in a similarly diverse field of public policy

Posted by: James Kennell | February 11, 2010


This blog has been set up to make public the process and findings of a PhD research project which investigates the social impacts of cultural regeneration in seaside towns.

I will update the blog regularly with the progress of the research and, as time goes on, with its findings.

This project began in 2007.  Since then I have written an extensive literature review on this subject and developed a methodology for the primary data collection necessary to evaluate the social aspects of cultural regeneration in three Kentish seaside towns.  In getting to this stage I’ve published some early findings and a review of the field and made some presentations at conferences on this subject.  As well as this I’ve been interviewed by mainstream media and contributed to specialist non-academic publications in regeneration and tourism.  As I develop this blog I will post up this material.

As  a start, here is a video of me from the ATLAS annual conference in 2008, where I was presenting a paper based on the pilot study for this research.  In the video I explain what this project is about and why I began to look at the field of cultural regeneration in the first place:

« Newer Posts