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Profile: Joanna Lane

Joanna Lane

Through the ‘Making a World of Difference Campaign’, Joanna was awarded an MA Scholarship at the Bauman Institute thanks to a philanthropic gift from Mr David de Haas. This generosity has allowed Joanna to obtain a very high class Masters Degree.

Joanna continues her interests in economic alternatives and sustainability by now working for Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (Ltd), a renewable energy development also led by a former Leeds Alumni, Mr Mark Shorrock.

Background

Having grown up in Cardiff, I moved to Leeds in 2008 to study for a BA (Hons) in Politics and Geography with the Joint Honors Department at the University of Leeds. I chose this course with the aim of studying humanities and social science in an inter-disciplinary manner and I gained a varied academic perspective from different departments. This lead to my choice to go straight into an MA in Social and Political Thought within the Bauman Institute in the Sociology and Social Policy Department.

Why I chose the University of Leeds

As I had already studied at the University of Leeds at an undergraduate level, I had no qualms about choosing to study here for my MA. Since starting at Leeds, the opportunities presented to me by both the academic and social community which make up the University have enabled me to explore my interests, ideas and convictions. The University has offered me the opportunity to critically engage with society through my studies as well as social events, groups and voluntary activity.

Area of study

At present my academic interests are focused on UK policy and Critical Theory in relation to contemporary issues from an inter-disciplinary perspective. I am particularly interested in feminist thought, environmental issues and sustainability as well as education and ‘consumerism’. Insofar as these are broad areas of study, I plan to explore potential areas of study while studying within the Bauman Institute.

Research interests

My undergraduate dissertation greatly reinforced my interest in independent research. It was a study of the government’s changing role in promoting and supporting third sector organisations in the UK, which has contemporary significance in the context of the ‘Big Society’ rhetoric and New Labour’s ‘Third Way’ as well as issues of consumption and institutional and social economics. It highlighted how the government might promote and support the sector better and why it should do so, crucially, recommending that it frames the definition and aims of the sector more clearly by taking into account the political nature of its organisations.

This piece of work was an attempt to tie together a theoretical, political, policy and legislative analysis. I hope to do further research into how local, national and regional policy of this kind might lead to more ethical economic alternatives to neo-liberal models in line with contemporary debates centred on equality and sustainability.

The School of Sociology and Social Policy

Although new to the School of Sociology and Social Policy at Leeds, I have close friends who have studied here and I feel certain that I have made the right decision in staying at the University of Leeds and becoming part of this highly esteemed department. In particular, I think the Bauman Institute is an inspired and thoroughly necessary project for the advancement of the department and of the exploration into Social Theory which, at present, is inspiring so many people to question the society which we live in and imagine alternatives.

Outside of study

I have been involved with environmental and political groups whilst studying at the University of Leeds such as Greenaction, a group working towards practical environmentalism, and Split Peaches, a radical Women’s Health group. I intend to continue to be involved with these groups

City life

I enjoy seeing live music and art in Leeds and I love spending time out of doors, especially on the university allotment and in Meanwood park. I feel part of a close-knit and diverse community. The enormous student community in the city can be overwhelming but being part of it has given me the opportunity to create and enjoy an amazing range of different events and activities and to meet people from all over the world.

The future

My long term plans are open. In the current economic and political climate it is difficult to imagine a predictable career path and primarily I would like to work in the field in which I feel most able to participate in discussion, create alternatives and affect positive social change, be it in research, education, community development or something completely different.

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