I am currently leading the University of Nottingham’s ‘Slavery-Free Communities’ initiative, working with statutory, business and voluntary-sector partners to develop policy and community-centred responses to modern slavery.
This project builds on proposals published in Kevin Bales' (2010) book, 'The Slave Next Door', to create an integrated place-based approach to making localities slavery-free. Core elements include:
The role builds on my prior experience of local policy-making and governance, gained through a career in and around local government. In 2016 I completed a PhD at the University of Nottingham, examining responses to austerity in English local governance between 2010 and 2015. My research found that although surface-level stability had been maintained in local services, local political ‘traditions’ were under coming pressure as a result of spending cuts, and seemingly minor incremental changes had the longer-term potential to transform local governance.
In addition to modern slavery, ongoing research interests include the implications of the Conservatives’ ‘devolution revolution’ for local governance, the use of collaborative and asset-based research methodologies, and exploring connections between institutional and interpretive models of change.
Lowndes, V., & Gardner, A. (2016). Local governance under the Conservatives: super-austerity, devolution and the “smarter state.” Local Government Studies, 42(3), 357–375. doi:10.1080/03003930.2016.1150837
Gardner, A., & Lowndes, V. (2016). Negotiating austerity and local traditions. In M. Bevir & R. A. . Rhodes (Eds.), Rethinking Governance. Ruling, rationalities and resistance (pp. 125–143). London: Routledge.