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Dr Colin Lorne

Profile summary

Professional biography

I took up my position as Lecturer in Geography at the Open University in January 2020. Before joining the OU, I worked at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine as a Research Fellow on Department of Health and Social Care-funded research into regions, integrated care and the NHS. Prior to that, I was based as a Research Fellow at the University of Manchester researching Health and Social Care Devolution in Greater Manchester for a project co-funded by the Health Foundation and NIHR. I worked as a Policy Officer at the Academy of Social Sciences, with the University of Bristol/DCLG organising an ESRC Seminar Series on Ways of Neighbourhood Working and Knowing and as a Research Associate on Localism and Connected Neighbourhood Planning at the University of Birmingham. I completed my Geography PhD at the University of Birmingham in 2015.

Research interests

Although I don't like to pin these things down too much, broadly speaking, my research sits somewhere between urban, social and political geography. Much of my recent research has related to what might - or might not - be termed the spatial politics of health and care, spanning devolution, policy mobilities and the connections forged between place, health and economy. I have always enjoyed collaborative research and tend to publish within and beyond the discipline of geography, but have a long-standing interest in the contemporary reconfiguring of relational and territorial geographies and what this might mean for politics and policy.

Since joining the OU, I have picked up the habit of talking a lot about conjunctures and crises. Though it has been a while since I have published directly on the geographies of architecture and the built environment, in the future I hope to connect up my interest in health and wellbeing with the built environment and the possibility for designing cities differently. I have always been intrigued by creative and experimental research methods, from harnessing digital (and not-so-digital) visual technologies in teaching fieldwork through to 'follow the policy' ethnographies, though mostly seem to talk about researching policy failures of late.

My recent published research has broadly focused of three topics:

  • Place, mobile health policy and NHS reform
  • Global city-regions, devolution and urban transformation
  • Social innovation, austerity localism, and the emergence of new 'open' urban economic initatives

A full list of freely accessible publications can be found in the publications list below.

I am also a member of the OpenSpace Research Centre and co-conveynor of the interdisciplinary Political Studies Association specialist group entitled 'Space, Politics and Governance'.

Teaching interests

Teaching at the OU is unlike anywhere I've worked previously. I am fortunate to be involved in teaching at Levels 1, 2 and 3 working closely with colleagues within and beyond geography. I am currently Block Lead as part of the module team working on D225 'Changing Geographies of the United Kingdom'. I am also part of the team involved in the production of independent research module D325 'Researching everyday geographies' as well as the Geography stream of D113 'Global Challenges: Investigating the social sciences'. I am currently the qualification lead for R44, the new BA (Honours) Geography degree.



Impact and engagement

A lot of the research I've been doing over the previous five years or so has been informed by, and attempted to in some ways inform, policy. I have been involved in collaborative research projects following the unfolding of health and social care devolution in Greater Manchester with colleagues at University of Manchester (Devolving Health and Social Care: Learning from Greater Manchester). I have also worked with colleagues at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to produce a particularly weighty literature review on integrated care systems, regions and the English NHS examining the perptual reform of regional authorities in the health service since 1948 until the present day, as part of PRUCOMM and shared with the Department of Health and Social Care.


Repoliticising national policy mobilities: Resisting the Americanization of universal healthcare (2022)
Lorne, Colin
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space ((Early Access))

Struggling with the state I am in: Researching policy failures and the English National Health Service (2021-02)
Lorne, Colin
Emotion, Space and Society, 38, Article 100746

Assembling the Healthopolis: Competitive city‐regionalism and policy boosterism pushing Greater Manchester further, faster (2021)
Lorne, Colin; Coleman, Anna; McDonald, Ruth and Walshe, Kieran
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers ((Early Access))

The limits to openness: Co-working, design and social innovation in the neoliberal city (2020-06-01)
Lorne, Colin
Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 52(4) (pp. 747-765)

Regional assemblage and the spatial reorganisation of health and care: the case of devolution in Greater Manchester, England (2019-09-21)
Lorne, Colin; McDonald, Ruth; Walsh, Kieran and Coleman, Anna
Sociology of Health & Illness, 41(7) (pp. 1236-1250)

Designing for Imprisonment: Architectural Ethics and Prison Design (2019-03)
Moran, Dominique; Jewkes, Yvonne and Lorne, Colin
Architecture Philosophy, 4(1) (pp. 67-81)

Brexit, Race and Migration (2019-02-01)
Burrell, Kathy; Hopkins, Peter; Isakjee, Arshad; Lorne, Colin; Nagel, Caroline; Finlay, Robin; Nayak, Anoop; Benwell, Matthew C; Pande, Raksha; Richardson, Michael; Botterill, Katherine and Rogaly, Ben
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(1) (pp. 3-40)

Instagram photography and the geography field course: snapshots from Berlin (2019)
Davies, Thom; Lorne, Colin and Sealey-Huggins, Leon
Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 43(3) (pp. 362-383)

The spatial politics of place and health policy: Exploring Sustainability and Transformation Plans in the English NHS (2017-10)
Hammond, Jonathan; Lorne, Colin; Coleman, Anna; Allen, Pauline; Mays, Nicholas; Dam, Rinita; Mason, Thomas and Checkland, Kath
Social Science & Medicine, 190 (pp. 217-226)

Urban Landscapes and the Atmosphere of Place: Exploring Subjective Experience in the Study of Urban Form (2017)
Jones, Phil; Isakjee, Arshad; Jam, Chris; Lorne, Colin and Warren, Saskia
Urban Morphology, 21(1) (pp. 29-40)

Spatial agency and practising architecture beyond buildings (2017)
Lorne, Colin
Social & Cultural Geography, 18(2) (pp. 268-287)

United Kingdom: Anatomy of a Public Policy Failure (2021-06)
Humphreys, David and Lorne, Colin
In: Akhtar, Rais ed. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreaks, Environment and Human Behaviour: International Case Studies (pp. 251-268)
ISBN : 978-3-030-68119-7 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Cham, Switzerland

Illusions of Utopia: When Prison Architects (Reluctantly) Play Tetris (2017-01)
Scheer, David and Lorne, Colin
In: Moran, Dominique and Schliehe, Anna eds. Carceral Spatiality: Dialogues between Geography and Criminology. Palgrave Studies in Prisons and Penology (pp. 113-134)
ISBN : 978-1-137-56057-5 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

Using technology to help communities shout louder (2015-11-11)
Jones, Phil; Speed, Chris and Lorne, Colin
In: Richardson, Liz and Durose, Catherine eds. Designing Public Policy for Co-production: Theory, Practice and Change
ISBN : 9781447316954 | Publisher : Policy Press | Published : Bristol

Localism, neighbourhood planning and community control: the MapLocal pilot (2015)
Jones, P.; Layard, A.; Lorne, C. and Speed, C.
In: O’Brien, D. and Matthews, P. eds. After Urban Regeneration: Communities, Policy and Place (pp. 165-179)
Publisher : Policy Press | Published : Bristol, UK

The Developing Architecture of System Management: Integrated Care Systems and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (2021-02-23)
Sanderson, Marie; Allen, Pauline; Osipovic, Dorota; Boiko, Olga and Lorne, Colin
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.

Integrated Care Systems: What can current reforms learn from past research on regional co-ordination of health and care in England? A literature review (2019-11-11)
Lorne, Colin; Allen, Pauline; Checkland, Kath; Osipovic, Dorota; Sanderson, Marie; Hammond, Jonathan and Peckham, Stephen
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London.

Integrated Care Systems: What can current reforms learn from past research on regional co-ordination of health and care in England? A literature review ? Executive summary (2019-11-11)
Lorne, Colin; Allen, Pauline; Checkland, Kath; Osipovic, Dorota; Sanderson, Marie; Hammond, Jonathan and Peckham, Stephen
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, London.

Devolving health and social care: learning from Greater Manchester (2018)
Walshe, Kieran; Lorne, Colin; McDonald, Ruth; Coleman, Anna and Turner, Alex
University of Manchester, Manchester.