Research Assistants



Billy Southern

Billy Southern is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University where his research centers on the theme of social inequalities and uneven structures of space.  He is broadly interested in spatial context and exploring the ongoing relationship between people and place.

More specifically, his research focuses on how spatial characteristics influence the social conditions of the wider area.  He is interested in the context of space and exploring how structural forces make and remake spatial formations across urban landscapes.  His research examines socioeconomic conditions such as poverty and deprivation, social demographics, and cultural separations to explore how and why specific areas are subject to social change.

Before joining The Pennsylvania State University, he earned his Master of Civic Design in Town and Regional Planning at the University of Liverpool.  During this time, he worked as a research assistant on a project focused on the spatial structure of the social economy in the Liverpool City Region.  This activity involved the spatial analysis of SSE organisations and indices of deprivation throughout the region.  Prior to this, Billy earned his B.Sc. in Geography from the Manchester Metropolitan University.







Carl Hughes

Carl is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool Management School, studying the effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the balance of power between capital and labour. This PhD project is looking at the effect that technological change within workplaces and the associated organisation of work is having on the balance of power between capital and labour, through phenomena such as platforms, automation, increased tracking and surveillance. The research seeks to develop an understanding of the power imbalances that result from this and to explore ways in which they can be addressed. In addition to this, he has assisted on the delivery of undergraduate modules, and research projects relating to, the social and solidarity economy







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Emily Kostanecki

Emily Kostaneckii s a recent graduate from the University of York where she earned her master’s degree in historic building conservation. She previously received her bachelor’s degree in classics from Georgetown University, where she developed an interest in the impact of the built environment on people and communities. Her research interests include the use and reuse of built heritage to contribute to sustainable practices, preserve physical history, and retain urban diversity and character. Her master’s dissertation focused on the avenues of adaptive reuse of the historic York Bars in the present day to best serve their community, which received the 2021 York Conservation Trust Award for best dissertation on a York building.






Natalie Taylor

Natalie Taylor is a first-year PhD student at the University of Liverpool Management School. She completed her MSc Public Health Nutrition at the University of Chester, going on to work within a Research Assistant role at the university, exploring the lived experiences of food poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic. She is conducting her PhD research in collaboration with a local social enterprise, investigating the potential of social enterprise responses as an alternative to charity-based approaches to food insecurity, which place emphasis on community health, commercial sustainability, and social purpose