Kevin J. Morgan MA, DPhil.
Professor of Governance and Development, Cardiff University
Kevin Morgan is Professor of Governance and Development in the School of City and Regional Planning at Cardiff University. He has held this post since 1994.
Kevin was born and bred in Rhigos, six miles to the north west of Aberdare, and lived on The Bryn. He speaks highly of his childhood village, judging Rhigos to be a society second to none in terms of its characters, its compassion and its commitment to socialism. He attended the local primary school1 in Rhigos, where he was noted, at least briefly, as being a particularly resilient pupil when he was the only boy or girl to attend school on one of the days in the ‘Big Freeze’ in the harsh winter of 1962-63. In 1964, he passed the eleven-plus to enter the Boys’ Grammar School in Aberdare. In the sixth form he gained GCE A-levels in Scripture, English and History and left school in 1972. He subsequently entered the University of Leicester graduating BA in Political Science in 1975. An MA, mainly concerned with political theory, followed in 1977 awarded by McMaster University, Ontario, Canada.
He then returned to the UK and did a DPhil at The University of Sussex. The university possessed a very good group of Political Economists, and the department was particularly strong on Urban and Regional Planning. There was a very strong focus on interdisciplinary study, which for Kevin was like a breath of fresh air.
Kevin completed his doctorate in 1981, and in 1982 he won a Research Fellowship at Sussex through the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), which was superseded by the Economic and Social Research Council, (ESRC). He remained at Sussex, but moved from the School of Social Sciences to the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). His research was concerned in particular with distance-shrinking technologies in ICT - a topic which was far ahead of its time.
He stayed in Sussex until 1989, when he was appointed to a lecturing post at Cardiff in what was then the University of Wales College, Cardiff.
On coming back to Wales, he was asked by Ron Davies, at that time the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, to form an advisory group on devolution, and it was through this that he helped to draw up a strategy for devolution and what it could mean for Wales. Subsequently, he was also involved in a project with Gareth Rees, as part of the ESRC’s Devolution programme, which looked at devolution and economic development in Wales.
He was an adviser to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Select Committee whose report, published in 2003, focused on reducing the disparities in prosperity, and the causes and solutions of the North-South divide in England.
Kevin is a founder member of the Regional Technology Plan, (RTP), Steering Committee in Wales. Its basic aim is to raise innovative capacity in less favoured regions. This includes the institutional capacity of the the public, private and third sectors2 of the Welsh economy.
In 2003, he took over the chairmanship of the Penrhys Forum a body which was set up in 1997 to facilitate a dialogue between the residents of the Rhondda Penrhys estate and officers of the Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council. The forum has explored the possibility of the estate residents managing their own affairs in the manner of a type of civic devolution.
More recently together with colleagues at Cardiff, he has completed a comparative study of school food reform in Europe and the US funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the results of which were published as The School Food Revolution: Public Food and the Challenge of Sustainable Development, (Earthscan, 2008). In the same sphere of interest, he is also a member of the Food Ethics Council,3 a body set up with the aim of creating a food system that is fair and healthy for people throughout the world. His mastery of research in this field on an international scale was honoured and recognised in 2009 when he accepted an invitation to present his team’s work on sustainable food systems to the United Nations in New York.
Kevin has also been involved in advisory and consultancy roles with for example: the Regional Policy Directorate of the European Commission; the OECD; the Danish Technology Institute; the DTI in the UK; Education and Learning Wales, (ELWa); the National Assembly of Wales; the WDA; and the US Office of Technology Assessment. He has also acted as an adviser and commentator to a wide range of print and broadcast media including BBC radio and television, and Independent Television including Sky.
At the time of writing, January 2013, you can view a short video of Kevin explaining his professional interests at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/cplan/ by clicking on his photograph in the ‘Meet our Staff’ section.
Kevin now lives in Cardiff and is married to Susan (née Taylor),
a part-time creative writing tutor at Cardiff University. They raised two sons: Louis,
who teaches English as a foreign language in Bilbao, and Robin who is currently a stand-up
comedian and a script writer for radio and TV.
With thanks to Philip V. Rees for the photograph.