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Rachel Reay

Postgraduate Research Student

Postgraduate Research Student in the Department of Sociology


I am a part-time PhD student in the Department of Sociology, continuing from completing the MA Social Research Methods (Social Policy) at Durham in 2018. I am part of the Communities and Social Research group within the department.

My doctoral research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through the Northern Ireland and North East (NINE) Doctoral Training Partnership. Before returning to study, I worked as a Research Assistant at North Tyneside Council and as a freelance evaluation researcher. Projects I evaluated included: 

  • Tyne Gateway Local Authority Child Poverty Innovation Pilot (Child Poverty Unit)
  • Life Journeys (Dr. Daniel Nettle, Newcastle University; and Maria Cockerill, North Tyneside Council)
  • Supporting Families, North Tyneside (Troubled Families, DCLG)
  • High Impact Families, South Tyneside (Troubled Families, DCLG)
  • Improving Futures, North Tyneside and South Tyneside (Big Lottery Fund)
Research Area

Decline, destruction and divides: beneath the surface of seaside regeneration in Whitley Bay 

My research adopts qualitative methods to explore the regeneration process in seaside resorts. With a focus on the perceived importance of economic regeneration and the shift in policy rhetoric from seaside resorts to coastal communities, the influence of neoliberal ideology is considered. Through a case study of Whitley Bay, themes of decline, destruction and divides are addressed. This is done by applying a lens of ‘what appears to be happening, what is actually happening and what could happen differently?’, developed from David Harvey’s interpretation of the Marxian mode of analysis. 

Research Interests
  • Gentrification
  • Regeneration
  • Seaside resorts and coastal communities
  • Policy, planning and community involvement
  • Widening inequality
  • Marxian mode of analysis
  • Observational, visual, creative and participatory methods