Reinterpreting community: the social ecology of community-led housing and its wider community benefits

The studentship will be jointly funded by UWE Bristol and Power 2 Change.

  • Studentship start date: 1 October 2019
  • Closing date for applications: Friday 31 May 2019
  • Interview date: TBC

About the studentship

‘Community-led housing’ (CLH) has gained popularity in the UK within the last ten years. It describes various housing models whose common element is design, decision-making, ownership and/or management by a ‘community’. This community is usually represented by a locally-rooted, democratically-controlled organisation (often a community business), or the [future] residents of the homes - or a combination of the two.  

The interpretation of ‘community’ within projects, and how they aim to deliver ‘community benefit’, often influence access to external support such as grant funding, finance, neighbourhood support, local authority support and planning approvals. However, pressure to conform to externally imposed definitions of ‘benefit’ may act to restrict the creative and innovative potential of CLH projects in fulfilling diverse social, economic and environmental goals.

Identifying, quantifying and evaluating the roles and benefits which set CLH aside from conventional development and housing association projects will be essential in harnessing the political and institutional support needed to grow the sector. As will evidencing the role and value of intermediaries such as enabling hubs in catalysing projects and sharing resources and best practice.

This studentship will engage with definitions of ‘community’ and ‘benefit’ in relation to CLH, to challenge the limitations of accepted understandings in contemporary policy and practice. To do this, it will use principles of social ecology to examine how benefit from CLH projects can flow between different participants in the CLH ‘ecosystem’, by analysing and mapping the flow of resources/benefits/impacts.

The project will assist in developing policies and grant funding guidelines, supporting further development of CLH hubs across England, guiding the role of community businesses, understanding how benefits can be distributed most effectively (particularly to under-represented groups), and supporting practical implementation of projects in order to optimise community benefit.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please contact Dr Katie McClymont on

Funding details

The studentship is available from 1 October 2019 for a period of three (3) years, subject to satisfactory progress. It includes a tax-exempt stipend which is currently £14,777 per annum. In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years at Home/EU rates, along with reasonable transport costs for visiting project partners.

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants must have a good honours degree (2:1 or equivalent)
  • Knowledge and experience of working in the Community-Led housing sector
  • Understanding of social ecology
  • UK/EU applicants only are eligible for this studentship.

How to apply

Please complete and return the following forms:

Please consult the Graduate School studentship application guidance notes when completing the above forms. The Guidance Notes also detail the supporting documentation that must be provided with the application form. 

Your application form and supporting documentation should be submitted to the UWE Bristol Graduate School at by midnight on the closing date for applications.   

Each of your referees must complete and return the following reference form to the Graduate School in support of your application:

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Friday 31 May 2019.

Further information

Interviews will take place in the week commencing 17 June 2019. If you have not heard from us by 20 June 2019, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.

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