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Dr Colin Lorne

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in Geography and Director of the OpenSpace Research Centre at the OU. Before joining the OU in 2020, 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 also 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

First and foremost, I am a geographer — to my mind, the concepts of space, place and power are vital for helping us make sense of the present conjuncture, and what we might do about it.

Whilst I don't like to pin these things down too much, broadly speaking, my research sits at the intersection of social, political and urban geography. Much of my current research relates to what might be termed the spatial politics of health and care. This brings together a range of my interests, such as policy mobilities, the remaking of places and regions, and most recently, examining the tensions and contradictions within ongoing attempts to forge connections between place, health and economy.

In the spirit of collective working at the OU, I have always enjoyed thinking with others and tend to publish both within and beyond the discipline of geography, though this is all driven by a long-standing interest in thinking space relationally, and beyond, and what this might mean for politics and policy in unsettling times. 

It is this combination that has led me towards thinking spatially about crises and conjunctures - the focus of my current work.

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 remaking 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.

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

I am the Director 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 was qualification lead for R44, our new BA (Hons) Geography degree at the OU, and I am fortunate to be involved in teaching at Levels 1, 2 and 3 working closely with colleagues within and beyond geography. This has included being a Block Lead as part of the course team working on D225 'Changing Geographies of the United Kingdom', as well as Block Lead, as part of our level 3 dissertation module 'Researching Everyday Geographies'. I am also part of the course team involved in the production of Geography stream of D113 'Global Challenges: Investigating the social sciences'.

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.


The whereabouts of politics and policy in troubling times (2024-03)
Lorne, Colin; Papanastasiou, Natalie and Griggs, Steven
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 42(2) (pp. 171-178)

Designing a new civic economy? On the emergence and contradictions of participatory experimental urbanism (2023-10-01)
Thompson, Matthew and Lorne, Colin
Antipode, 55(6) (pp. 1919-1942)

Developing architecture of system management in the English NHS: evidence from a qualitative study of three Integrated Care Systems (2023-02-08)
Sanderson, Marie; Allen, Pauline; Osipovic, Dorota; Petsoulas, Christina; Boiko, Olga and Lorne, Colin
BMJ Open, 13, Article e065993(2)

“Attending to Collaboration” in Major System Change in Healthcare in England: A Response; Comment on “Attending to History” in Major System Change in Healthcare in England: Specialist Cancer Surgery Service Reconfiguration (2023)
Fraser, Alec; Jones, Lorelei; Lorne, Colin and Stewart, Ellen
International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 12, Article 7661

‘Protecting the NHS’ - and its limits (2023)
Lorne, Colin and Lambert, Michael
Soundings, 2022(82)

Thinking conjuncturally, looking elsewhere (2023)
Lorne, Colin; Thompson, Matthew and Cochrane, Allan
Dialogues in Human Geography ((early access))

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

Moving policy out of time - commentary to Refstie (2022)
Lorne, Colin
Fennia – International Journal of Geography, 200(1) (pp. 81-85)

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, 46(2) (pp. 314-329)

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

Can we design the future? Civic economics in austerity Britain (2023-01-01)
Thompson, Matthew and Lorne, Colin
Stir to Action

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.