Nottingham Civic Exchange provides a platform for action on issues that relate to Nottingham and the wider region. Here you’ll find details of news and updates on our work and other related content.
Nottingham Civic Exchange Dissertations launched
Nottingham Civic Exchange will unleash the intellectual power of Political & International Relations students to explorer a range of important issues for a place like Nottingham through their final year dissertations. As Nottingham Trent Univerisity's place-based think tank we believe it is important for our students to engage as we do on the critical topics. We are trialling this proposal which will pitch five dissertation topics for Politics & International Relations students for 2018/19.
These topics will be focused on:
- Economic Insecurity
- Students as civic actors
- Challenging/challenges of local governance systems
- Inquiries, commissions and their impact
- Power and decision making
Nottingham Civic Exchange will be creating a single dissertation question for each of these themes that students can tackle. Alongside academic support, these students will receive encouragement from the Civic Exchange throughout their third year. These dissertation studies will be published on our website, share via social media. The Civic Exchange will also work with the students to develop policy briefings based on their findings and will engage stakeholders to connect with these studies to improve their understanding.
We know our students will provide critical responses to these issues and are excited to share the topics with our students.
The research questions available to all Politics and International Relations students are:
- The Conservative election campaign of 2017 outlined a commitment to improving the lives of Ordinary Working Families. To what extent has government policy reflected this commitment?
- Successive governments have pursued a ‘localism’ agenda. To what extent does this suggest that local government has become more or less powerful?
- Politics is more than turning up to vote. Investigating contemporary examples of student civic activism and political engagement.
- This generation is arguably economically worse off than previous generations, the first time this has happened. What are the perceptions and experience of students on their own economic security/insecurity?
- Did the general election of 2017 inspire a ‘youthquake’?
If you'd like to take part as a student or find out about our research questions please contact Rich Pickford for full details. Please send a 300 word note to Nottingham Civic Exchange by Friday 20 April outlining why this topic matters to you and what you think you would gain from working with Nottingham Civic Exchange by the deadline.
Nottingham Civic Exchange welcomes Parliament to Clifton
Widening Academic Engagement with Parliament was the order of the day on Thursday 28 March on Clifton Campus when Members of Parliament, Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST), Select Committee clerks and academics from across the country joined us to share best practice and learn from the experts. Many thanks to Parliamentary staff and academics from Nottingham Trent and other institutions for making it such a successful day.
The Commons Research Library responds to 30,000 enquiries a year from Parliamentarians
Alongside valuable insights about the structures and work practices from staff within POST and Select Committee teams, we also heard from Lilian Greenwood MP for Nottingham South. She shared her experiences of engaging with research and universities as a Shadow Transport Secretary, current Chair of the Transport Select Committee and an MP, which represents Nottingham Trent University. Lilian highlighted the importance of academic research for her work and shared her top tips for engaging. We also hear from Nottingham Trent University academics Dr Jason Pandya-Wood and Professor Andromachi Tseloni who shared their experiences of providing oral evidence and working with Parliament to share research.
Alongside the opportunity to network with Parliamentary staff, participants also had the chance to practice the skills they had learnt by crafting a written submission and taking part in a mock oral evidence session, some of which were chaired by Lilian Greenwood. The event was a great opportunity to learn about the many ways our research could feed into Parliament. It highlighted the best ways to plan, share, and build on your research and relationships to increase your impact and widen the reach of your valuable work.
Nottingham Civic Exchange proudly supported this event and will look forward to sharing lessons from the day with our colleagues at Nottingham Trent University. We support academics to maximise their impact and engage with Parliament and Governments (national and devolved). To learn more about this aspect of Nottingham Civic Exchange contact Rich Pickford. He can provide further information or to arrange a meeting to talk through how we can help you and your work.
Co-Creating Nottingham Co-Housing
THiNK Nottingham in Cobden Place will become a co-creation hotspot on Wednesday 7 February. Citizens, architects, and other experienced practitioners will build three prototypes of a Nottingham Co-Housing development for judgement by an expert panel.
Cohousing is an intentional community of private homes clustered around shared space. Each home has traditional amenities, including a private kitchen. Shared spaces typically include a kitchen and dining area, laundry, and recreational spaces. Shared outdoor space may include parking, walkways, open space, and gardens.
Nottingham Co-Housing with support from Nottingham Civic Exchange and the RSA will host this problem-solving workshop from 1pm in the centre of Nottingham to help tackle some of the challenges of building a community and housing development. Recognising the issues of housing across Nottingham and the UK, Nottingham co-housing has set out to develop a local solution that helps everyone from first-time buyers through to retired homeowners to live together in affordable community centred spaces.
Nottingham Civic Exchange will be helping to facilitate the event and is providing evidence on housing affordability. Our research on Ordinary Working Families highlighted the challenge faced by working households to purchase a home across the region. Our interactive map of house affordability paints a stark picture for the average earner. Co-housing is one possible route to developing secure and safe accommodation for a range of potential citizens locally.
If you’d like to hear the proposals from the teams join us from 7pm at THiNK when each team will present to the panel of judges and be available to answer questions from the audience. The Nottingham Co-Housing team will also be on hand to explain their aims and objectives.
The event is free but the organiser does ask you to register your place online here.
If you would like further information about the work we are doing on housing visit our Out of the Ordinary page to view details.
To view the full-screen interactive housing affordability map please click this link.
University Alliance reflects on how universities can be true to their civic mission.
During the launch of our recent report with the RSA on Addressing Economic Insecurity, we welcomed the University Alliance's Policy and Public Affairs Officer Fraser Burt. Following the event, Fraser reflected on our work and the role we play within Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University. As an important anchor institution within Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, NTU aims to be a supportive civic organisation that provides resources and fresh thinking to the region. We see Nottingham Civic Exchange as a central pillar of this work. Find out more by getting in touch with us via email.
You can read Fraser's piece on Nottingham Civic Exchange and NTU's strategic focus in full on the University Alliance blog page.
For further information about our programme of work exploring the lives of Ordinary Working Families head to our dedicated webpage.
Good Work for All launched by Business in the Community
At Nottingham Civic Exchange our research has highlighted a growing concern about precarious work. We are pleased to share Business in the Community’s Good Work for All project and business action plan which highlights how businesses can benefit from providing Good Work for their employees.
We are pleased that the project recognises the need to support households that are Just About Managing and hope local businesses can take the time to explore this new resource to improve work for all. Establishing a good work environment has positive benefits with over a third of BitC member businesses taking action on low pay within their companies.
Please read and share the Business Action Plan launched today and don't forget to contact Nottingham Civic Exchange if you are interested in supporting our research on precarious work.
New blog series launched on economic insecurity
Following the launch of the RSA's report on Economic Insecurity in partnership with Nottingham Civic Exchange, we have created a series of blogs by NTU academics which will examine different aspects of economic insecurity. The first of these pieces will be launched on Friday 12 January from Dr Paula Black the Director of Nottingham Civic Exchange which outlines the importance of this policy issue for Nottingham and the wider region.
To read this first piece follow the link below, as new pieces are published we will link them here and share via @NottsCivicEx.
Addressing Economic Insecurity launched at Nottingham Trent University
Today the RSA launches a report aimed at addressing the economic challenges facing Ordinary Working Families, building on work started in Nottingham.
The report, to be launched in Nottingham by the RSA today (Jan 12), is part of the Out of the Ordinary partnership programme between Nottingham Civic Exchange, based at Nottingham Trent University, and the RSA.
The programme has a focus on Nottingham and Nottinghamshire with a broader objective to influence policy at a national level.
In its report, the RSA argues that economic insecurity has not been properly looked at and as such policymakers have frequently misdiagnosed problems and consequently provided inadequate solutions.
Using three key policy areas as examples – health, housing and welfare, and labour markets – the RSA’s report demonstrates how issues could be viewed through an ‘economic insecurity lens’ to better inform actions and urges policymakers to do so as a matter of urgency.
It draws upon and reinforces the findings of initial work by Nottingham Civic Exchange into Ordinary Working Families, which was released in June 2017.
Economic insecurity as “harmful volatility in people’s economic circumstances. This includes their exposure to objective and perceived risks to their economic well-being, and their capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from shocks or adverse events."
But to help ordinary working families take ownership of their lives, local and national policy-makers must reshape policy around economic security too: we must be more strategic in when we intervene, preventing problems before they happen, and more expansive in who they help, as automation and other challenges affect people across the income spectrum.
Atif Shafique, Senior Researcher at the RSA
This captures both the objective economic context and the subjective, lived experience of the economy, because it relates to households expectations and anxieties about the future. Today’s national report by the RSA supports Nottingham Civic Exchange’s regional research with a further survey of more than 2,000 adults across the country. The survey found that:
- More than 20% of adults in the sample described their current financial position as ‘just about manage to make ends meet each month’.
- 32% of those ‘just about managing’ in the sample had annual gross household incomes above £34,000, including 12% with incomes above £48,000. Thirteen per cent had incomes below £14,000 while the majority (55%) were in the low-middle-income rage of £14,000-£34,000.
The report also analysed government policies from 1997 to present, which have been targeted at people and households on low and middle incomes, including policies relevant to those ‘just about managing’. A number of themes emerged, including the positive impact of the introduction of the minimum wage (and later national living wage), limited impact of skills and programmes designed to get people back into work. It also highlighted significant inter-generational differences in insecurity affecting people who are ‘just about managing’ – with young people worse off than those who have benefitted from pension guarantees, free travel and winter fuel allowances.
The report also criticises ‘low road strategies’ taken by firms who are pursuing short term, cost-minimising strategies which often neglect to invest in up-skilling their workforce, holding back productivity growth and, in low-wage sectors, sustaining a high demand for poor quality jobs. This approach to growth is being facilitated by labour market flexibility and insecurity.
Several recommendations will be made at the report launch today.
Long term recommendations
- Pursuing an economy based on a renewed social contract (stronger relationships between business, policymakers, civic society and works and their representatives)
- Creating a virtuous cycle between economic security, good work and economic competitiveness (better understanding of the links between the economy, job quality and progression and economic security)
- Establishing economic security as a central priority for social policy
Short term recommendations
- Developing more strategic policy design (including intervening in the right way and at the right time, particularly at key moments of change)
- Reducing people’s exposure to the risks associated with economic insecurity (for example through preventative programmes, housing security and new models of welfare provision)
- Helping people, households and communities respond to economic insecurity (for example through increasing the take-up of financial entitlements, maximising the role of key institutions such as universities and healthcare services in improving economic security)
Nottingham Civic Exchange helps NTU criminology research reach new audiences
As part of our remit to support Nottingham Trent University academics and research teams, we have been working to showcase important research to new audiences. This month, an article we co-wrote with Professor Andromachi Tseloni and the Quantitative and Spatial Criminology Research Group featured in Resolve ASB's magazine. The article identifies the victimisation risk differences between housing tenure and builds on a wealth of important research by the research group into crime data. We explore a selection of different issues and highlight recommendations for tackling them as social housing providers.
If you want to know more about this research, please contact Professor Andromachi Tseloni directly. Nottingham Civic Exchange can support academics to help translate research to new audiences. Do get in touch with the Nottingham Civic Exchange team to discuss your ideas. We are also able to broker relationships into Nottingham Trent's research groups if you have a question or need.
Resolve ASB are the UK’s leading housing organisation specialising in delivering effective solutions to antisocial behaviour. Download the complete article Should you accept 40% more risk in social housing? or read a similar piece published online by the British Society of Criminology.
The RSA to launch at new report into economic insecurity in January
RSA will be publishing its first report on economic insecurity at Nottingham Trent University, entitled Addressing Economic Insecurity on Friday 12 January.
This report launches an investigation into economic insecurity, which has been developed in partnership with Nottingham Civic Exchange. The report will be launched during a morning policy briefing hosted by Matthew Taylor, CEO of the RSA and Visiting Professor of Sociology, School of Social Sciences. This work will build on our programme of work exploring Ordinary Working Families across the region and it strengthens the need to undertake this work.
If you would like to find out more and join us for the briefing please book your place online.
Support provided to Education Select Committee
Nottingham Civic Exchange supported Polly Tyler, a third year Sociology undergraduate, to provide oral evidence to the Education Select Committee during their inquiry into the value of higher education. Polly highlighted the great work done by Nottingham Trent University to support her through her studies. She singled out the Service Learning provision which has helped her put her theoretical knowledge into action, and her lecturers and the employability team as positive value added elements of her studies at NTU. This submission by Polly links to our institutional submission to the inquiry, which will be available on our Publications page when it is made available by the committee.
To watch the full committee meeting visit Parliament TV.
An ordinary working budget?
Nottingham Civic Exchange brought NTU academics, local citizens and NTU students together to watch the Governments' first autumn Budget for 20 years.
During this live streaming event, we discussed and explored the implications of the Budget announcement to the people of Nottingham City, as well as Nottinghamshire as a whole. Alongside creating a space for healthy debate for our participants, we provided critical comment to media throughout the day leading to input to print, television and radio pieces across the region.
Dr Paula Black presents Nottingham Civic Exchange to Civic Mission Wales Summit
Following an invitation from Kirsty Williams Assembly Member and Cabinet Secretary for Education, our Director Dr Paula Black hosted the seminar In the University DNA: Engagement and Nottingham Civic Exchange at the Civic Mission Wales: Connecting campus, community and the world at Cardiff University.
What is Nottingham Civic Exchange?
MA in Documentary Journalism students worked with Nottingham Civic Exchange to showcase the work we do by documenting our launch earlier in the year. Take a look at their short film online and don’t forget to share it.
Nottingham Civic Exchange partners with the RSA Engage in Nottingham
Join us from 6pm on Wednesday 28 November for an exciting ideas and network event hosted at Nottingham Contemporary, where we will be hearing from projects exploring economic security and insecurity. Full details of the event and speakers are available via the RSA website. The event is free to attend but we do ask you register your place here.
Inclusive Growth report for D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership released
Over the Autumn D2N2 has been consulting on the new strategic economic plan. To help develop this plan Nottingham Civic Exchange, in partnership with Economic Strategy Research Bureau, Nottingham Business School and the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), explored how the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) could be developed within an inclusive growth model. The report and board presentation have been our contribution to the debate about helping the region build a more inclusive economy that works for everyone. Let us know what you think and please do contact the Local Enterprise Partnership to share your views about the SEP.
Nottingham Civic Exchange travels to Lisbon
Alongside our cross border work in Wales, we have been invited to participate in a conference exploring the importance of Social Innovation in Europe. This conference hosted over two days November will bring together world-class scientists in the area of social innovation, innovators, social entrepreneurs, civil society representatives, national and regional policy makers, municipal and city level actors, social innovation funders, philanthropists, venture capitalists, business angels, students, and politicians to explore how to boost social innovation. To keep up to date on activity from #SocialinnovEU follow @NottsCivicEx on Twitter.
The technicalities of Out of the Ordinary income and earnings data
Following the publication of our first report from Out of the Ordinary, we are publishing a technical paper which showcases the detail behind our first reports work on income and earnings. This publication wraps up the first phase of Nottingham Civic Exchange’s programme of work on Ordinary Working Families.
As we develop this programme of work we will be building on this technical paper and developing work on the lived experience of Ordinary Working Families, issues affecting their housing, and some new research into the precarious nature of some types of work across the region.
To support our work understanding the lives of Ordinary Working Families across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, contact us at Notts.CivicEx@ntu.ac.uk.
For full details of our programme of work Out of the Ordinary please visit our dedicated web page.
Nottingham Civic Exchange will discuss Out of the Ordinary research with Nottingham’s new voluntary sector policy forum
As part of NCVS’ recently launched policy forum, Nottingham Civic Exchange will be sharing research findings and seeking views and policy recommendations from Nottingham community and voluntary groups. Following the publication of Out of the Ordinary, we are now planning to engage ordinary working families as collaborators in research and social change. Research on this group of people has been done to them rather than with them and these voices are missing from the policy debate. We aim to change this and are seeking the views and thoughts from organisations working with those who are just about managing across Nottingham to ensure we reach a broad and diverse group.
The Voluntary Sector Policy Forum will provide an informed and supportive space to debate and discuss key issues, and we look forward to participating at this event.
NCVS Voluntary Sector Policy Forum has been set up to inform ways to develop a stronger voice for the sector in influencing local and national policy-making. The forum will identify local priorities and agree on collaborative action to improve our work and the lives of local communities. There will be space for open discussion and networking, and you are encouraged to share your experiences and challenges. The event is open and free to attend.
To join the event on Friday 15 September from 10 am book here.
Find out about our developing programme of work with Ordinary Working Families visit our web page.
What does an inclusive and sustainable food and farming system look like in the UK?
Nottingham Civic Exchange is supporting the RSA as it develops an exciting new two year Commission exploring farming, food and the countryside. We will be supporting one of their scoping workshops on Thursday 20 September that will help to formulate the details of Commission when it launches later in the autumn. For further details please read the pre-launch briefing and contact the RSA for workshop details if you’d like to contribute.
Request a workshop place by emailing the RSA with your name and expertise.
Nottingham Civic Exchange recognised for its innovative focus on citizens and inclusive growth
The RSA and JRF have published a report exploring how citizens fit within the current debates about inclusive growth. The report interrogates what citizenship means and how it corresponds to inclusive growth, examined participatory models, reviewed citizen engagement methods and mechanisms and recommended supporting inclusive, innovative and impactful approaches to citizen participation and inclusive growth.
The RSA’s research team interviewed Nottingham Civic Exchange and shared our work as an example of innovation. Read all about our work and the report from the RSA by downloading their report. To find out more about our work on inclusive growth contact the team at Notts.CivicEx@ntu.ac.uk.
Nottingham Civic Exchange response to Modern Employment Review
Nottingham Trent University’s Honorary Professor Matthew Taylor publishes his findings from a nine-month review exploring issues affecting workers across the UK.
Matthew Taylor CEO of the RSA, a partner of the University, visited Nottingham earlier in the year to hear from a range of residents, workers and employers as part of his Review, and has come to seven principles for the government to consider. The Taylor Review is published today and its report is available on the Government website.
Nottingham Civic Exchange, based at NTU, has analysed work and occupations from a regional perspective whilst exploring the lives of Ordinary Working Families across the region. The Review’s findings chime with Nottingham Civic Exchange and NTU academics’ understanding of insecure and precarious work locally.
Nottingham Civic Exchange’s analysis of income and occupations recognises the volume of low paid jobs across the region, and has highlighted that average household income was 20% below the UK average in Nottingham City. While Nottingham as a whole continues to enjoy considerable growth, moving all workers into stable and high wage jobs is a challenge society continually strives for, however, good work across all sectors also needs to be developed, to ensure people undertake meaningful and well supported jobs.
The seven principles set out in the Taylor Review are highly relevant to policy makers across the East Midlands and Nottingham, and Nottingham Civic Exchange is urging policy makers and the business community to consider how they can help implement these principles. It will be considering how these principles are reflected in further research it is undertaking, exploring households’ lived experiences.
Dr Paula Black, Director of Nottingham Civic Exchange, said: “These principles challenge us all to consider how we develop good work for all those working in the UK and will help to shape a more inclusive and supportive society.
Nottingham Civic Exchange will reflect on these principles in our ongoing work on Ordinary Working Families.”
As part of this ongoing research, Nottingham Civic Exchange is asking people to consider submitting their thoughts to its open call for evidence. More information is available on the website.
Share your ideas to support Ordinary Working Families
We are launching a call for evidence to gather views on households that are just about managing. Much has been made politically on those who are just about managing and we aim to develop practical solutions that help these people and to help better understand their lived experiences. Our initial research into this group locally highlights a number of interesting findings. On Thursday 15 June, we published our analysis of the local view of those who are just about managing in and around Nottingham to stimulate debate and to launch a programme of work to research and implement practical policy recommendations that ensure these households manage better in the times ahead.
As part of our programme, we invite all interested parties to share with us relevant information, ideas and comments about this group and their situation. This evidence call will gather material in one place to help develop a more nuanced and detailed view that will lead to better policy recommendations.
This call for evidence will help us to map the current activity designed to support this group and enable us to connect our resources and skills to pertinent areas of interest you identify.
We are specifically interested in:
- Evidence based on households lived experiences
- Practical examples of programmes that are working to support people who fit within these groups
- Methods to map where Ordinary Working Families and those who are just about managing live
- The difference between the objective and subjective views of citizens who are just about managing.
We recommend you consider reading our initial report released on Thursday 15 June to help frame your response.
Please email your Evidence Submission, no more than 3000 words, if you would be interested in developing your ideas in partnership with NTU academics please get in touch. The deadline for submissions has been set for Sunday 13 August to ensure that all the material can be synthesised so that it feeds into our practical research phase that will begin over the summer.
Nottingham Civic Exchange Launch event
On Thursday 15 June the Nottingham Civic Exchange was launched with an event an Nottingham Trent University. The Nottingham Civic Exchange is a new think tank, and will explore a range of policy areas of importance to the people, communities and institutions of Nottingham.
The think tank’s Out of the Ordinary: Exploring the lives of ordinary working families report was shared at its launch event.
The report revealed the average income level of “Ordinary Working Families” – those just about coping economically – is slightly less than £25,000 once housing and tax costs have been taken into account, while 11.5% of households in Nottingham (higher than the national average of 9%) are employed in caring and leisure services with average annual salaries of just £17,000 a year. Nottingham also has far fewer residents employed in higher paying professional occupations – 16% compared to the UK average of 20%. Combined, those factors mean Nottingham City households are more likely to fall within the “Ordinary Working Families” category than other areas.
To read the report in full visit our webpage.
RSA WATCH: Inclusive Growth Commission Final Report Launch
On Tuesday 7 March the RSA launched its final report on inclusive growth. This launch was live streamed and Nottingham Civic Exchange held an event to create a social watching experience. We brought together RSA fellows with NTU academics and business people from the city to hear about the commission findings and discuss how these are relevant for the region.
We think the role of inclusive growth is important to a place like Nottingham and supported the evidence gathering session of the Commission when it visited Nottingham in 2016.
Inclusive and safe places workshop
NCE hosted an informal workshop session to explore the idea of developing more inclusive and safe places. This session brought together NTU staff and partners to identify the opportunities and barriers to creating a more inclusive and safe vision of place. Over 40 people joined us to share their thoughts, hear from others and begin discussing ideas to build on.
Following the event, we have a set of areas which we would like to continue to develop together; for example, we are beginning further work around developing a map of people’s perceptions of safety which will take a multi-disciplinary approach using community design approaches and social media analysis.
If you’d like to know about the follow up from this event please contact Rich Pickford who will be supporting the development of an initial project around community perceptions of safe places. A summary of the workshop outputs is also available here.
Nottingham Civic Exchange submits evidence to the RSA’s Inclusive Growth Commission
Following the Royal Society of Art’s (RSA) visit to Nottingham in November, members of staff at Nottingham Trent have contributed to an official submission. The Inclusive Growth Commission has also published a reflection of their visit which can be viewed on their website.