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The workshop as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences will explore how communities are taking action to improve the image of the places where they live.

Date: Tues 7th November 2017, 12:30-4pm (please note this event is now fully booked)

Venue: Central London 

About the event

Negative portrayals of areas can affect communities by causing stigma or stereotyping and by influencing whether people visit or want to live in an area.  There are growing examples of communities and local organisations taking action to tackle this issue.  This includes publicity work to promote good news stories in the media, festivals and cultural events to encourage people to visit or physical improvements to neighbourhoods to increase pride in the area. The workshop will explore how communities can take action to improve the image of local areas.

The event will be an opportunity to:

  • Find out more about how area reputation affects communities
  • Share or learn about examples of action to improve or challenge area reputation
  • Discuss with others what is needed to tackle this issue in the future

Who is this for?

The workshop is open to all and will be of interest to:

  • Residents and workers involved in place based programmes
  • Policy makers and public sector workers
  • Community and voluntary organisations
  • Those with communications/publicity roles

How to register

Thank you for your interest in the event.  Unfortunately it is now fully booked.  If you would like to be added to the reserve/waiting list or are interested in attending future events like this, please contact Emma Halliday: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This event is being organised by researchers at Lancaster University and is funded by the #ESRCFestival.  

Download the event flyer here


 What is area reputation or stigma?

 Living somewhere that has a negative reputation may further disadvantage people who already live in poorer circumstances. Perceptions of areas can be held by people living within or outside an area, including journalists, employers, the public, researchers and practitioners delivering services.  Yet many local people living in places with a poor image often report that negative perceptions held by those living or working outside of it do not match the reality of living there.

There is also some evidence that a poor reputation can impact a community’s health, wellbeing and life opportunities. This may happen as result of postcode stigma affecting job seeking or residents avoiding services as a result of professional attitudes.  It can also affect whether people visit an area and spend money there or a community's sense of belonging and pride in where they live.

How could community action tackle area reputation?

Place based or funding programmes that enable communities gain control over decisions taken about their neighbourhoods can play a role in changing how areas are portrayed. This may happen in different ways:   

  • Promoting positive publicity - Direct action to tackle reputation may include communications activities (e.g. press releases, radio interviews) aimed at the media as well as newsletters or websites to promote the area and what is happening 
  • Festivals, heritage and cultural activities - Community events such as festivals that bring people into the area may change perceptions by increasing the likelihood of people feeling an area is a desirable place to visit. In turn, this could strengthen the local economy with more people using local facilities, services and shops.
  • Physical improvements to neighbourhoods - ‘Facelift’/environmental schemes (e.g. hanging baskets, bulb planting) or investment in streets/shopping areas could improve the image and result in more people thinking the area is attractive. 
  • The influence of ‘collective control’ – when communites have more control, this may promote more positive attitudes of what residents living in a particular area can achieve as well as improving community pride and morale .

What will the workshop cover?

The event is an opportunity for people with an interest in this issue to share experiences and consider what needs to happen to help tackle it in future.  It will cover questions such as:

  • What are the impacts for local people who live and work in areas with a negative reputation? How does this affect communities?
  • Who is responsible for any negative portrayals of areas (e.g. journalists, residents, researchers, politicians, estate agents, professionals, others?)
  • What can residents and practitioners do locally to challenge or improve how areas are portrayed? What is the role of national organisations, politicians and funders?
  • What barriers are likely to be faced in efforts to challenge negative area reputations?


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