Dr Steven Jakes: research into Social Exclusion, Resort Decline and the English Seaside

After completing a BA (Hons) Geography and Tourism Studies and MSc Tourism, Development and Policy at Exeter University, Steve went on to do his PhD in the School of Tourism and Hospitality at Plymouth University, where he currently works as a Lecturer in Tourism Management.

Steve’s PhD research and experience

My undergraduate and postgraduate studies led me to develop interests in the broad field of issues of economic change, spatial development and social disadvantage in the developed world, and qualified me to study towards a PhD, which involved specific work on relationships between resort decline and social exclusion and on dynamics and processes of change within the economies of English seaside resorts and deprived neighbourhoods. The University of Plymouth has a good reputation for economic and social spatial analysis/research and is also my home town so it was an easy choice. Prior to applying I contacted Professor Sheela Agarwal and Dr Martin Mowforth to discuss my research proposal. They were incredibly supportive from initial email contact to informal meetings, resourceful, and they gave me a lot of confidence, and they also encouraged me to apply for a PhD research scholarship. It was a competitive process, so I was thrilled to learn of the University decision to provide me with a full research scholarship to undertake my PhD research.

Since day one in the PhD journey, I have felt completely supported by my supervisors - Professor Sheela Agarwal (School of Tourism and Hospitality), Dr Martin Mowforth (School of Geography) and Dr Stephen Essex (School of Geography). I could not have wished for a better team. They are deeply invested in the professional development of their students, and I really can’t thank them enough for all the inspiration and motivation they have given me. Their endless encouragement and ideas outside the box have brought me the educational experience that I was always looking for. Their level of attention and care, especially their care during hard times, is second to none. Special thanks to Sheela, who helped me to overcome some unique challenges and obstacles.

Although I consider the academic staff to be the best part about the University, Plymouth also boasts many extra-curricular activities, resources, and opportunities for graduate students - there is something for everyone. I've had the opportunity to attend international conferences, research seminars relevant to my field as well as postgraduate taught classes. The opportunities and skillset I have gained at Plymouth  are, for me, beyond value. Not only have I nurtured my research skills in relation to my academic interests, but also, I’ve been able to gain valuable experience in developing other skills, such as in presenting, teaching, and even experience in supervising projects. This combination of skills, conference funding, and training opportunities, for me, have dramatically increased my confidence as a researcher and have been invaluable for my future career as an academic.

My choice to attend University of Plymouth School of Tourism and Hospitality was one of the best decisions I could have made. If you are looking for a PhD in Tourism that provides you with strong academic and personal support, together with a plethora of opportunities for professional development, then the University of Plymouth School of Tourism and Hospitality is for you.

Follow in Steve's footsteps at Plymouth

The University of Plymouth offers a range of postgraduate research degrees across all areas of our world leading research.

As a postgraduate research student, you will join a vibrant, supportive and forward-thinking community, that is committed to meeting global challenges in creative and imaginative ways.
 

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