The Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Dr Ruth McAreavey

General Profile Information
Staff Name Dr Ruth McAreavey
Job Title Lecturer
Location David Keir Building David Keir
Room Number 03.020
School School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Contact Details
Telephone +44 (0)28 9097 5563

To date I have held a range of professional positions and this has provided me with a breadth of career experiences. Over time and prior to my appointment as a Lecturer in Spatial Planning I was a European Funding Officer, a Research Manager and Training and Development Officer. These positions were held within a range of organisations from the voluntary and statutory sectors including a housing association and local government. As a result of this diverse background and in addition to my expertise in research and teaching, I have  particular skills and experience in research development and management, research funding and community development and regeneration



I currently co-ordinate the following modules:

EVP2010 Economy and Space
EVP3011 Independent Research Module
EVP3014 Themes in Spatial Planning


I aim to employ a breadth of approaches to ensure positive engagement with students.  My delivery techniques include: lectures, seminars, project work, small and large group work, case studies and study visits.



My areas of teaching competence include

•·         Governance

•·         Economics and development

•·         Participation and involvement

•·         Introductory economics

•·         Interdisciplinary science - a sociological perspective

•·         Rural Sociology

•·         Research design and Qualitative methods

•·         Community Development/community studies


Member of the School Research Ethics Committee

Careers Liaison Academic for Spatial Planning

Academic Offences Representative for Spatial Planning

Personal Tutor

I am currently supervising the following PhD students: Anne Rice (with Dr. Aileen Stockdale); Lori McVeigh (with Dr. Sally Shortall) and Jonathan Bell (with Dr. Jenny Muir and Dr. Aileen Stockdale).

Authored Book(s)
Migration to Rural and Peripheral Destinations: Transnationalism: Integration, and Acculturation on the Margins Routledge 2013
Rural Development Theory and Practice London and New York: Routledge 2009
TitleBook TitleYear
Rural governance: Participation, Power and Possibilities for Action Rural Transformations & Rural Policies in the UK and US 2011
From conflict to consensus - contesting notions of sustainable rural tourism on the island of Ireland A Living Countryside – The Politics of Sustainable Development in Rural Ireland 2009
TitleJournal NameYear
Sustainable rural tourism: lessons for rural development. Sociologia Ruralis Vol 51(2) (175-194)  DOI   2011
Research ethics committees: values and power in higher education International Journal of Social Research Methodology Vol 14(5) (175 -194)    2011
Book review Journal of Agrarian Change Vol 10(4) (596-601)    2010
Transcending cultural differences: the role of language in social integration Translocations: Migration and Social Change Vol Vol. 6 Issue 2 (596-601)    2010
Community regeneration: an elite or a ‘real’ community space? International Planning Studies Vol 14(3) (311-327)  2009
Researcher and Employee: Reflections on Reflective Practice in Rural Development Research Sociologia Ruralis Vol 48 (4) (389-407)  2008
Rural Development Group Politics. A hidden cost? EuroChoices Vol 6(1) (38-43)  DOI 2007
Sabotage and Science: Navigating Between the Disciplines International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Science Vol 1 (5) (1-13)  2007
Getting Close to the Action: The Micro-Politics of Rural Development Sociologia Ruralis Vol 46(2) (85-103)  DOI 2006
Other Output(s)
TitlePublication TypeYear
Planning Bill (papers 1- 4): Report for external body 2011
Book review Other form of assessable output 2011
Life as a Stranger Report for external body 2010
Towards a Mourne National Park? Scholarly edition 2010
Gemeinschaft und Gessellschaft Scholarly edition 2009

Research Keywords
Rural development and regeneration Community development Rural partnerships Voluntary sector funding Community involvement and participation

Research Statement

My main research interests are rural development theory, policy and practice; participation; governance; community; sustainable development and regeneration; regional and economic development; social networks; research methodologies; interdisciplinary research; and migrant communities.

I am currently conducting research on migrant workers in Northern Ireland. This is a pilot project that has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation and is due to be completed in 2009.

Professional Qualifications

I am involved in a number of international research networks including the European Society for Rural Sociology, QUCAN International Rural Research Network and the Scottish Academy of Rural Policy. At a more local level I have held the position of vice-chair of the NI Rural Development Council and I was a member of NISRAs Steering Group to oversee the Review of Measures of Spatial Deprivation. I represent the European Standing Committee on Social Sciences at research seminars.I am also an expert evaluator for different European bodies including the European Commission, the European Science Foundation and Formas, the Swedish Research Council. These latter activity is normally only open to individuals in more senior academic positions, but my research experience and funding expertise are such that I was selected.  I am regularly contacted to peer review articles for leading journals.

Membership Of Other Societies / Professional Activities


The relevance of my work to society is evident in my outreach activities. I continue to receive invitations locally and internationally to participate in research networks and projects; to evaluate research projects; and to contribute to policy development. In Spring 2013 I was invited to convene the NI component of the UK Research Policy Netowrk and to present my research to the group - members comprise a mix of researchers, policymakers and practitioners from across the UK.  My profile is such that I am successful in inviting international scholars to lead on ISEP seminars and I co-ordinated a seminar by Professor Dan Lichter, Cornell University in Belfast in March 2013.

Awards And Honours/major Prizes

In  2013 I was awarded £25,200 from the QUB Internationalisation fund for work on a Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network (TARRN). It is a multi-disciplinary, international scholarly collaboration that builds on a smaller network (QUCAN) that was established six years ago. The award is to allow the network to identify highest priority areas for future research and international collaboration; to develop a major proposal for submission in 2014/15 and to advance collaborative work with a particular focus on what the fiscal crisis means for rural places but also including multi-scalar layers of governance, and notions of accountability, social justice, and social inclusion. My central role in these activities will contribute to the University's internationalisation agenda.

Other Information

Papers and presentations

By Invitation:

  • 2008  Development of Programme ‘Kosovo: Rebuilding civil society. Lessons from Northern Ireland'. A programme for Municipal representatives from Kosovo, in partnership with Tipperary Institute.
  • 2006 Invited to present ‘Sexism and Science: A gendered analysis of interdisciplinary research'. Gender Research Forum Workshop, QUB.
  • 2006 Invited to participate in European Science Foundation Forward Look Workshops on Food Security, Versailles (June 2006) and Wageningen (October, 2006).
  • 2006 Invited to present ‘Local Food and the Standing Committee for Social Sciences' and to act as rapporteur to Standing Committee.  European Science Foundation Local Food in Europe, Bordeaux.
  • 2006 Invited to participate in stakeholder meeting ‘Sustainable Food Chains and Rural and Regional Development in N. Ireland'. Rural Economy and Land Use Programme, Birmingham.
  • 2006 Invited to present ‘Community based initiatives in rural England'.  ESRC Seminar Series, Cardiff.
  • 2005 Invited to present ‘The relationship between State and community sectors'. European Union's LEADER Programme Annual Conference, Dublin.
  • 2003 Invited to present ‘Sustaining Rural Communities'. Countryside Agency/Hastoe Housing Association, Launch of Good Practice Guide, Westminster.
  • 2002 Invited to present ‘Participating in rural community development' National Council for Voluntary Organisations Seminar, London.
  • 2001 Invited to present ‘The experience of the Communities First-Suffolk project' Countryside Agency Seminar, Taunton.



  • 2010 (with Swindal, M.) Presented paper ‘Rural governance: Participation, Power and Possibilities for Action' QUCAN Annual Meeting, Newcastle on Tyne, UK
  • 2009 Presented paperSustainable rural tourism: connecting local needs?' European Rural Sociology Association, Biennial Conference, Finland.
  • 2008 Presented paper ‘Sustainable Tourism: a paradigm for sustainable rural communities'. Irish Social Sciences Platform Annual Conference, Dublin City University.
  • 2008 Presented paper ‘Regeneration communities or community regeneration. A critique of the power dynamics in contemporary regeneration practice'. UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference, Belfast.
  • 2008 Presented paper ‘The experiences, aspirations and expectations of migrant workers'. QUCAN Annual Meeting, Ithaca. NY.
  • 2006 Presented paper ‘Sabotage, Sexism and Science: Navigating Between the Disciplines'. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, University of the Aegean, Rhodes
  • 2006 Presented paper (With Shortall) ‘Who Said Interdisciplinary Research was Fun? Revisiting the Differences Between the Two Cultures'. International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, University of the Aegean, Rhodes
  • 2005 Presented paper ‘Rural governance and governmentality'. European Rural Sociology Association, Biennial Conference, Hungary