Gillian Youngs appointed inaugural John Urry Fellow

6th December 2017

Gillian Youngs, Professor of Creative and Digital Economy and Head of Innovation and Impact, Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, has been awarded the first ever John Urry Fellowship.

The Fellowship has been launched in the Sociology Department at the University of Lancaster where Professor John Urry who died in 2016 spent the whole of his academic life.

The Fellowship is hosted by the Centre for Mobilities Research (Cemore) which was founded by John Urry and which reflects recent trajectories in his own research and academic leadership.

The aim of the Fellowship, awarded to a scholar whose work is ‘in dialogue’ with John Urry, is to support his purpose to pursue truth to make the world a better place through collegiality and argument with respect.

Gillian Youngs, inaugural John Urry Fellow

‘I met John and encountered his work in my early academic life and his intellectual encouragement and generous engagement with my developing research made a profound difference to me,’ explained Gillian.

‘It was vital for me that the strength of the inspiration his academic influence provided was mirrored by the depth of his kind and deep attention to the work of other scholars including those like me who were aspiring to an academic career.

‘From then on he stood out for me as an academic role model combining in distinctive ways intellectual and human commitment which I admired and wished to emulate.

‘I followed his work over the years and encountered him occasionally and linked other early career academics to his work and to him always with positive results.

‘These are some of the reasons why it is both a great professional and personal honour for me to be awarded the first ever John Urry fellowship. His work has impacted on me as a globalization scholar as well as in my more recent work on digital economy.

‘The title of the focus of the fellowship is: Time as a missing element in social analysis: John Urry’s provocations and signposts. The aim is to engage creatively with John Urry’s consistent recognition of the significance of time as integral to contemporary social analysis through from the early days of globalization studies to the more recent establishment of the new academic movement focused on mobilities.

‘The fellowship provides an opportunity to share how this work has impacted on my own scholarship and to explore with students and colleagues at the University of Lancaster their own research engagements with this challenging and abstract dimension of social dynamics.

‘The form of the fellowship will be co-creative and involve an experimental pop-up ‘time lab’ at Lancaster in March 2018 to explore time and its meanings in social science and wider disciplinary contexts. Creative methodologies (such as drawing, short film, making) will be used to facilitate shared understanding of the multidimensional nature of time in social analysis.

‘A follow-up open presentation with photos/film clips will present some of the results of the lab work and the ways in which it will be informing my own thinking and approaches to time in future research trajectories.

‘The fellowship work will inform the book I am currently preparing on Virtual Globalization for publication by Routledge and transfers into the research environment learning from the AHRC-funded Brighton Fuse ‘Fusebox’ Knowledge Exchange project ( which I led in 2014- 2015. This project focused on the development of, and research on, a radical new start-up support programme for innovators, integrating creative arts and design approaches alongside lean business and digital techniques.’

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