Dr Arianna Giovannini

Job: Senior Lecturer in Local Politics (VC2020)

School/department: Department of Politics & Public Policy

Address: Hugh Aston Building, Room HU 2.82

T: +44 (0) 116 257 7093

E: arianna.giovannini@dmu.ac.uk

W: twitter.com/AriannaGi


Personal profile

I am a Senior Lecturer in Local Politics at the Department of Politics and Public Policy, where I am also a member of the Local Governance Research Unit (LGRU) and the Centre for Urban Research and Austerity (CURA), and the Associate Director of the Jean Monnet Centre for European Governance. Before joining DMU in August 2016, I was a Researcher at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI), University of Sheffield. I previously worked at the University of Leeds (POLIS) as a research assistant for the White Rose Consortium for the North of England project. I also held academic positions at the University of Huddersfield, and at Leeds Metropolitan University, where I was awarded a PhD in Political Sociology in 2014. My doctoral thesis critically analysed the case of England’s exclusion from the process of political devolution initiated by New Labour in 1997, using the failed attempt to set up directly elected regional assemblies in the North East, North West and Yorkshire & Humberside in 2004 as a lens through which to read the idiosyncrasies of the ‘English Question’. Drawing on my PhD research, I have published articles in international journals, given invited lectures and talks at universities in the UK and Italy, organised public engagement events, and supported the work of civil society groups. Before moving to the UK, I worked as a researcher for regional governments and for several academic institutions in Italy.

Currently, my research focuses on territorial politics and devolution in the UK, with a particular emphasis on the ‘English Question’ and the case of the North of England. My work in this area concentrates on the tensions between technocratic and democratic approaches to devolution in the context of the recent ‘Devo Deals’ and ‘Northern Powerhouse’ agenda, as well as on the link between territorial identity and devolution in the North, especially in the aftermath of Brexit and within the current austerity regime. I am also interested in issues of territorial politics, decentralisation and regional governance across Europe; regionalist and independentist parties and party politics in Italy and in comparative perspective; and, more broadly, in EU politics and policy.

I have written extensively on these topics, publishing in academic journals. Currently I am working on a book entitled ‘The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse’ (co-edited with Dr Craig Berry, SPERI), which will be published by Palgrave in 2017.

I am a Trustee of the UK Political Studies Association (PSA), and the co-convenor of the PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group and Local Politics Specialist Group, and I actively contribute to the work of the PSA Britishness Specialist Group. I am an Honorary Research Fellow at SPERI (University of Sheffield), and an Associate Fellow of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics (University of Sheffield). 

Research group affiliations

Local Governance Research Unit (LGRU)

Centre on Urban Research and Austerity (CURA)

Research interests/expertise

Territorial Politics, Local Politics, Devolution, Constitutional Change, multi-level governance, Regionalism, Nationalism, the ‘English Question’, ‘Devolution Deals’, the North of England, the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the politics of territorial identity, Democracy, Political Parties (especially regionalist and nationalist parties), EU Politics & Policy, Italian Politics.

Areas of teaching

British politics, local government and politics, territorial politics, comparative politics


PhD, Leeds Metropolitan University

Masters Degree, Territorial and Urban Politics & Policy, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Italy

MA/BA Hons, Sociology with a specialisation in Politics, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”, Italy

Courses taught

POPP1407 – British Government and Politics (Module Leader)

POPP2011 – Comparative Local Government

Membership of external committees

Truestee of the UK Political Studies Association

Co-convenor, PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group

Co-convenor, PSA Local Politics Specialist Group

Member of the advisory board for IPPR North ‘The Future of Civil Society in the North’ project

Supporting Member of the programme of research on “England and Labour” led by John Denham (Professor at the Centre for English Identity and Politics at the University of Winchester, and former Labour MP)

Membership of professional associations and societies

Political Studies Association (PSA)

Regional Studies Association (RSA)

European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) – Member of the Standing Groups on European Union and on Comparative Territorial Politics & Policy

Forthcoming events

13-14 January 2107: European Democracy Under Stress – one-day conference organised at the University of Turin (Italy) on behalf of the PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group, with the support of the PSA ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ scheme.

Conference attendance


Sept. 2017: ‘Devolution and territorial reform in England: An analysis through the case of Yorkshire’, paper presented within the panel ‘The Consequences of Territorial Local Government Reforms’, sponsored by the ECPR Standing Group on Local Government and Politics, at the ECPR General Conference, University of Oslo.

April 2017: ‘Devolution in England: Revolution or Chaos?’ paper presented with Dr Andy Mycock (Huddersfield) as part of the panel ‘Devolution, twenty years on: Assessing the changing structures of territorial governance across the UK’ which I co-organised with Dr Andy Mycock, with the support of the PSA Britishness Specialist Group, at the PSA Annual Conference, Glasgow.

Jan 2017: ‘European Democracy Under Stress’, conference organised with Dr Antonella Seddone, Dr Giuliano Bobba (University of Turin) with the support of the PSA ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ fund, and sponsored by the PSA Italian Politics and Anti-Politics Specialist Groups, University of Turin.

June 2016: ‘Yorkshire First? The European Dimension of Regionalist Mobilization in the North of England’, paper presented within the panel ‘After the ‘Europe of the Regions’: Explaining Current Trends in the Relationship between Regionalism and European Integration’ as part of the ECPR 8th Pan-European Conference on the European Union, University of Trento

March 2016: ‘Devolution across the UK: Conundrums Old and New’, roundtable speaker, Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Brighton

March 2016: ‘New Regional Voices? Devolution discourses in Cornwall and Yorkshire’ (with J. Willett), paper presented as part of the panel ‘Demystifying Discourses of Devolution in the UK’, sponsored by the Britishness Specialist Group, at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Brighton

Jan. 2016:Power to the North? Prospects and Challenges to Devolution & City Deals’, organiser (with Dr. Richard Hayton, POLIS) of this one-day conference as part of the White Rose Consortium for the North of England project, and chair of the panel ‘Devolution & City Deals: the view from the grassroots’, University of Leeds

Nov. 2015:The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse’, organiser (with Dr. Craig Berry, SPERI) of this workshop as part of the White Rose Consortium for the North of England project; presentation of the paper ‘Devolution and the politicisation of territorial identity in the North of England: an analysis of Yorkshire’ (with Dr. Andy Mycock, Huddersfield) within the panel ‘The Role of Political Parties and Civil Society in the Northern Powerhouse Agenda’. SPERI, University of Sheffield

Sept. 2015: ‘The perils and promises of devolution. What lessons can be drawn for the case of Northern England devolution?’, roundtable panellist at the conference ‘The Promises and Perils of English Devolution – Lessons from Scotland and Beyond’, organised by Prof. Martin Smith and Dr. Sandra Leon (University of York), sponsored by the White Rose Consortium for the North of England, University of York

March 2015: ‘Yorkshire First: a membership survey of the first regionalist party in the North of England’, paper presented within the panel ‘English Devolution in the Wake of the Scottish Independence Referendum’, sponsored by the Britishness Group, at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Sheffield

Feb. 2015: ‘What’s wrong with Regional Assemblies? Lessons from the experience of the 2004 North East referendum’, paper presented at the Symposium ‘Devolution and the Future of Yorkshire’, University of Huddersfield



Invited Talks & Keynotes:


‘The “evolution” of devolution: assessing Labour’s legacy in England’, invited speaker at the conference ‘Twenty Years On: Assessing the State and Legacy of New Labour’s Constitution’, supported by the BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants, University of Liverpool, 13-14 July 2017

‘The Politics of England’, invited to deliver a lecture to the Constitution School (Cabinet Office), with Dr. Andy Mycock (University of Huddersfield), 6 July 2017

‘English devolution: advances and limits of city and metro mayors’, invited panellist as part of the conference ‘Devolution in England: International Perspectives, Politics and Policy Ideas’, Centre for Federal Studies at the University of Kent, 19-21 June 2017

‘Devolution Deals in Yorkshire’, invited speaker at the North East Devolution Conference, Sunderland Civic Centre, 16 June 2017

‘The territorial dimension of English identity: the view from the North of England’, invited speaker at the seminar ‘An Englishness Open to All’, organised by Prof. John Denham at the Centre for English Identity and Politics, University of Winchester, 31 March 2017

‘Devolution Deals in Yorkshire: opportunities, challenges and local (di)visions’, invited speaker at the Seminar ‘Devolution to Yorkshire and its cities’, organised by the British Academy (Governing England Programme), Sheffield, 16 March 2017

‘Devolution in the North of England: revolution or chaos?’, invited talk at the ESRC Festival of Social Science event ‘Where’s East in the North-South Divide?’, University of Cambridge, November 2016

‘Devolution and the Changing Nature of Centre-Local Relations’, Key-note speaker (with Prof. Colin Copus, DMU) at the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons’ ‘West Midlands Devolution Conference’, in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, hosted by the City of Wolverhampton Council, 21 October 2016

‘Powerhouse or Poorhouse? A critique of the current government’s approach to devolution in Northern England’, Keynote for the Unlock Democracy Greater Manchester AGM, Manchester, January 2016

‘The Sheffield Devolution Deal – prospects and challenges’, invited talk at the ESRC Festival of Social Science event ‘Devolution Deals and other Conversations about the Constitution’, University of Sheffield, November 2015

 ‘Leadership, Charisma and Identity. The Case of the Scottish National Party and Alex Salmond’, Invited talk as part of the Seminar ‘Governability, Personalisation and Charisma’, University of Turin, Department of Culture, Politics and Society, June 2015

‘Devolution and regionalism in England: lessons from Scotland and Europe’, Keynote for the Hannah Mitchell Foundation AGM, Huddersfield, March 2015

‘Devolution in the UK and the ‘English Question’ – an analysis through the case of Northern England’, Invited talk, University of Strathclyde, School of Government and Public Policy, European Policies Research Centre (EPRC), October 2013

‘English Regionalism: the dark side of devolution? The case of the 2004 North East referendum’, invited lecture as part of the Public Lecture series Talk About the North, organised by the Institute of Northern Studies, School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, November 2009

‘Devolution and territorial governance in the UK. The North of England: political scenarios of a ‘region on the margins’’, Invited Lecture, University of Urbino, Faculty of Political Science, October 2009


Recent research outputs

Edited Books:

Developing England's North: The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse, Palgrave: Basingstoke, under contract, forthcoming in 2017 (with C. Berry)

The Politics of the North: Governance, Territory and Identity in Northern England, Leeds: University of Leeds, 2016 (with R. Hayton and C. Berry). E-book available at this link: http://ow.ly/TTGA304WLrv

Book Chapters:

‘The Idea and the Identity of the North’ (editors’ introduction, with R. Hayton and C. Berry), in C. Berry, A. Giovannini, R. Hayton (eds) The Politics of the North: Governance, Territory and Identity in Northern England, Leeds: University of Leeds, 2016.

‘The Uneven Governance of Devolution Deals in Yorkshire: opportunities, challenges and local (di)visions’ (working title), in C. Berry and A. Giovannini (eds), Developing England's North: The Political Economy of the Northern Powerhouse, Palgrave: Basingstoke, under contract, forthcoming in 2017

Journal Articles (selected):

'Citizen Participation and Changing Governance: Cases of Devolution in England', Policy & Politics, 2017, 45(2), pp.251-69 (with B.Prosser, A.Renwick, M.Sandford, M.Flinders, W.Jennings, G.Smith, G.Stoker, K.Ghose)

Towards a ‘New English Regionalism’ in the North? The Case of Yorkshire First’, the Political Quarterly, 2016, 87(4), pp.590-600

Visions of Europe: emerging challenges for the European project in the aftermath of the 2014 European Parliament elections’, Italian Political Science Review, 2016, 46(4), pp.115-130 (with L. Polverari and A. Seddone)

‘Leadership, Carisma e Identità: il caso dello SNP sotto la guida di Alex Salmond’ (Leadership, Charisma and Identity: The SNP under the lead of Alex Salmond), Ragion Pratica, 2016, 1, pp. 84-114

 ‘Northern Voices.How Far Can a Bottom-up ‘New Regionalism’ Go Towards Answering the English Question?’, Juncture, 2015, 22(1), pp. 53-59 (with E. Cox)

Surviving the Perfect Storm: Italy after the 2013 General Election’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 2015, Special Issue, 20(4), pp. 427-437 (editors’ introduction, with D. Albertazzi)

‘The Uneven Path of English Devolution. Top Down vs. Bottom Up Regionalism in England – Cornwall and the North East Compared’, Political Studies, 2014, 62(2), pp.343-360 (with J. Willett)

‘Italy and the UK: Politics, Citizens’ Engagement and the State of Democracy in Comparative Perspective’, Polis, 2013, Special Issue, 27(2), pp. 197-206 (editors’ introduction, with J. L. Newell)


Blogs and Op-Ed Pieces:

‘The Northern Powerhouse needs to be more than a slogan’ (with A. Mycock), The Conversation, 10 May 2016 (http://ow.ly/ZIhL304WJAz)

‘The uneven path of Devolution Deals in the North of England. The view from Yorkshire reveals growing tension and rising pressures from below’, SPERI Blog, 28 January 2016  (http://ow.ly/z1UJ304WJpX)

‘Behold the 'Manchester Withington question’ (with A. Mycock), Open Democracy, 19 November 2015 (http://ow.ly/WHG6U)

‘The Scottish Indyref, one year on. Devolution in England ignores the key lessons from Scotland’s referendum’, SPERI Blog, 22 September 2015 (http://ow.ly/WHGxD)

‘All for devolution in England – but what about democracy?’ (with A. Mycock), The Conversation, 4 May 2015 (http://ow.ly/MpKrL)

‘Devolution in the North of England: time to bring the people into the debate?’, Open Democracy, 26 March 2015 (http://ow.ly/LGg5F)

‘Scotland’s independence referendum is spurring the desire for political devolution in England’ (with J. Willett), LSE’s British Politics and Policy Blog, 17 June 2014 (http://ow.ly/yccNf)

‘The uneven path of English devolution – Will the dog finally bark?’ (with J. Willett), PSA‘s Political Insights Blog, 11 June 2014  (http://ow.ly/yccWY)

‘Arrivederci, Veneto? The independence referendum in Veneto as a test for the Italian democracy and its institutions’, Open Democracy, 7 April 2014 (http://ow.ly/wEFk2)

‘The election of Matteo Renzi as the leader of the PD might herald a ‘New Labour’ style revolution in Italy’s centre-left’ (with J. Newel), LSE’s EUROPP Blog, 19 December 2013 (http://bit.ly/1bQ44VJ)

‘The PD’s leadership election might signal the first step in the re-legitimation of the Italian political system’ (with J. Newell), LSE’s EUROPP Blog, 8 November 2013(http://bit.ly/1hQYmcN)

Current research students

I am interested in supervising research students who wish to develop studies on: British politics; territorial politics; constitutional change; the process of devolution in the UK (especially on issues related to the ‘English Question’); territorial politics and identity; multilevel governance; local politics.

Internally funded research project information

Devolution, Brexit and Austerity: Links Challenges and Future Perspectives (with Dr. Davide Vampa, Jan-July 2017). Pilot Study supported by CURA seedcorn fund.


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