An OU academic is leading a €1,000,000 research project to establish the role of marketplaces in creating more inclusive societies.
Sophie Watson, Professor of Sociology at The Open University, is a Principal Investigator for the Public Spaces: Culture and Integration in Europe, which is a joint research programme with Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
The three-year project will investigate the role of merchants in the everyday production of inclusive public spaces in Europe.
“The main objective is to focus on the actors that make markets work: the merchants,” said Professor Watson. “The project promises to create pioneering insights into the undervalued role of merchants and we will translate our findings into concrete guidelines for city planners, market managers, wardens and other place makers regarding the question how we can promote more inclusive societies in Europe through supporting convivial social infrastructures.”
Collaborators on this project are:
Street Markets, as sites of sociality, cultural practices and innovation, has been a long standing area of Professor Watson’s research since her study of Street Markets as Spaces of Social Interaction for the Joseph Rowntree foundation, and her subsequent appointment as special adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Retail Street Markets in London.