Dr Simon Leonard
Head of Department
Buckingham Building, Lion Terrace, Portsmouth, Hants, PO1 3HE
Following my first degree at Portsmouth, I completed my Masters degree (MSc in Geography) at the London School of Economics. My PhD studies were also undertaken and completed within the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics, University of London.
I am currently Head of Department and Principal Lecturer within the Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth. Formerly, following research posts at the Polytechnic of Central London (1979-1982), and the Bartlett School of Architecture and Planning, University College London (1982-1983), I was a policy advisor and later Head of Areas Unit, Economic Policy Group, Greater London Council (1983-1986); Head of Labour Markets Team, London Strategic Policy Unit (1986-1988); Head of Employment and Training Group, London Research Centre (1988-1992).
My PhD research was concerned with 'Geographies of Labour Market Regulation: Industrial Training in Government Training Centres and Skillcentres in Britain and London 1917-93'. This research produced a number of conference papers and publications which have been concerned with issues of marketisation and privatisation and the consequences of neo-liberal government policy upon local and regional labour markets. Labour market regulation and governance remains a central research interest.
More recently I have been involved in research collaboration with colleagues at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) looking at the role of creative and cultural industries in the regeneration of older urban industrial areas. This work involved a comparison between the 22@ district of Barcelona and Shoreditch and Hoxton in East London. The work was funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Anglo-Catalan Society. In particular, my interests here centred upon the linking of work and home within these industries and the implications of this for delivering sustainable urban living.
My teaching at undergraduate level has in recent years centred upon these research interests at all levels of our undergraduate degree pathways. At level one I am a contributor to our ‘Foundations of Human Geography’ unit. I am also unit leader and contributor to the ‘Cities of the World’ unit. At level two I am unit leader and contributor to our ‘Changing Cities’ unit and I am also one of the fieldwork leaders for our Barcelona fieldtrip, which has run successfully for over 10 years, introducing students to this city and serving to establish excellent teaching and research links with the UAB. At level three I offer a specialist option in ‘Workplace Geographies’, looking at the changing nature of work in terms of production, reproduction and regulation.
My postgraduate research supervision includes:
Sarah Hanley: Negotiating work and home: mothers' social networks, child care and employment (PhD awarded).
Victor Morais: Globalisation and economic reforms in Angola 1989-98 (PhD submitted December 2008)
Jayne Rodgers; Industrial homework: the electronics sector in Portsmouth (ESRC studentship from 1999-2000).
In terms of research supervision, I am most interested in supervising postgraduate students in the areas of labour market regulation and governance, particularly in relation to state-funded skills training initiatives; sustainable urban living and development, again particularly in relation to the changing nature of work; and, enterprise embeddedness, particularly issues surrounding the creation of social capital and the local significance of ‘institutional thickness’.
Head of Department
The majority of my time is now given over to my role as Head of the Department of Geography, supporting and facilitating my colleagues teaching and research and development and change within the Department. The Department is in a good position. Our academic staff complement has grown and our recruitment has been particularly strong for this session (2008-9). We have in the last two years made five new and critical academic appointments strengthening our research and teaching capabilities and capacities. Our NSS survey results for 2008 have been excellent, a most rewarding endorsement from our own students. We are in the process of validating a new BA/BSc (Hons) Environmental Geography degree, reflecting undergraduate student interests and curriculum change at school level. We plan to bring on-line other related Masters degrees in the near future. During my time as Head of Department I look forward to continuing these developments.