Dr Fiona Williams

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

My background is in the social sciences with a specialist interest in rural geography and corresponding research experience in the socio-economic dimensions of rural change – perspectives relating to the digital economy, health and wellbeing, farm household adjustment, and rural tourism. I have had Principal Investigator and Co-investigator involvement in EU projects and RCUK funded studies. I also have experience of initiating, designing and developing research commissions for Welsh and Scottish Governments, the private sector and the third sector.  Prior to joining the University of Chester, I worked at the University of Aberdeen. 

Qualifications

PhD (Aberdeen); MPhil (Open University); BA (University of Wales)

Professional affiliations

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) with IBG

Committee Member of the RGS-IBG Rural Geography Research Group

Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Aberdeen

Teaching

I am Programme Leader for Single Honours Geography based at the University Centre Shrewsbury and I am involved in the delivery of Human Geography modules at the University of Chester (across all three years) and at the University Centre Shrewsbury, namely:

  • GE4002: Introduction to Human Geography (UCS Module Lead)
  • GE4004: Tutorials (Tutor)
  • GE4008: Border Regions, Landscape and Identity (co-delivery)
  • GE5002: Exploring Human Geography (UCS Module Lead)
  • GE5006: Tutorials (UCS Module Lead)
  • GE5013: Researcher Development with Geomatics (UCS Module Lead)
  • GE5017: Applied Geographies (UCS Module Lead)
  • GE6001: Dissertations (Supervisor)
  • GE6013: City and Countryside (co-delivery)

Research

Completed PhD Student: Stephanie Best (2014). Practitioners’ Perceptions of the Process of Innovating in Health and Social Care in Rural Wales. PhD Thesis

My current research builds on my recent involvement with the Dot.rural Digital Economy Research Hub (RCUK Programme, 2010 - 2015) and continues to explore and consider the implications of the Digital Society for the future of rural areas and those who dwell therein; addressing perspectives on the digital divide and digital exclusion, inter-generational digital behaviours, and the necessary but sometimes uneasy engagement of rural businesses with technology.  This predominantly ethnographic research activity ‘in the wild’ has catalysed my further interest in everyday lives in the rural, incorporating more-than-human geographies, in particular ‘sheep cultures’. 

Prior to joining the University of Chester, I had Principal Investigator and Co-investigator involvement in EU projects and RCUK funded studies and I also have experience of initiating, designing and developing research commissions for Welsh and Scottish Governments, the private sector and the third sector.  

Published work

Selected Publications and Commissioned Reports:

Philip L, Cottrill C, Farrington J, Williams F, Ashmore F. In press. The digital divide: patterns, policy and options for connecting the final few in rural communities across Great Britain. Journal of Rural Studies. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2016.12.002

Williams F, Philip L, Fairhurst G, Farrington J. 2016. ‘Digital by Default’ and ‘the hard to reach’: exploring solutions to digital exclusion in remote rural areas. Local Economy 31(7): 757-777. DOI: 10.1177/0269094216670938

Williams F. Vignettes author in Farrington J, Philip L, Abbot P, Blank G, Dutton W. 2015. Two-Speed Britain: Rural Internet Use - Oxford Internet Survey Report. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. 

Williams F, Fairhurst G. 2015. We need better broadband but the politicians can’t agree how to deliver it. The Conversation 17 April. Available at: https://theconversation.com/we-need-better-broadband-but-the-politicians-cant-agree-how-to-deliver-it-40269

Corbett S, Williams F. 2014. Striking a professional balance: interactions between nurses and their older rural patients. British Journal of Community Nursing 19 (4): 130-135. DOI: 10.12968/bjcn.2014.19.4.162

Pritchard K, Lewis L, Williams F. 2014. Keele University Medical School Rural Campus: an Evaluation. Commissioned report for Keele University

Jarrett C, Williams F, Lewis L. 2013. The Provision of Integrated Care in a Rural Community – an Evaluation of the Rhayader Home Support Scheme. Commissioned Report for Welsh Government

Milne C, Williams F, Dalton G, Thomson S, Ringrose S. 2013. Evaluation of the Young Entrants Support Scheme (YESS) Final Report. Commissioned Report for Welsh Government

Jarrett C, Williams F. 2012. Rural Proofing for Health Toolkit and Good Practice. Commission for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Williams, F, Randall-Smith J. 2011. Delivering Care in the Countryside: Taking Care Farming Forward in Wales, Rural Health Innovation Fund project for Welsh Government

Revoredo C, Renwick A, Williams F, Lamprinopoulou C. 2010. How resilient is the rural economy to the current economic crisis? In SAC Rural Policy Centre, Rural Scotland in Focus 2010, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, SAC, 118-29

Midgley A, Williams F, Slee B, Renwick A. 2008. Primary Land Based Business Study, for Scottish Enterprise

Cook P, Grieve J, Slee B, Williams F. 2008. Barriers to New Entrants to Scottish Farming – an Industry Consultation for the Tenant Farming Forum

Williams F, Thomson S. 2008. The consequences for rural communities. In SAC Rural Policy Centre, Farming’s Retreat from the Hills. Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, SAC, 36-43

Williams F, Skerratt S. 2007. Scoping Retirement and Succession Planning of Household Farms, Special Study Report to Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department

Williams F. 2006. The future of farming? Factors influencing the decisions of the next generation, Core Project for Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department.

Williams F, MacLeod M. 2006. Tourism Development: Hard Core or Soft Touch? In Prideaux, B., Moscardo G. and Laws E. (eds) Managing Tourism and Hospitality Services Theory and International Applications, CABI, Wallingford

Williams F, MacLeod, M. 2005. The Peripherality, Tourism and Competitiveness Mix: Contradictory or Confirmed? In Jones E. and Haven C. (eds) Competitiveness and Quality in a Tourism SME Economy, CABI Publishing, 39-57

Williams F, Copus, A. 2005. Business Development, Rural Tourism and the Implications of Milieu. In Mitchell M. and Hall D. (eds.) Rural Tourism and Sustainable Business, Channel View Publications, 305-322

Boyne S, Hall D, Williams F. 2003. Policy, Support and Promotion for Food Related Tourism Initiatives: A Marketing Approach to Regional Development. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing (14) 3-4: 131-154

Selected Conference Papers and Impact Activity:

Williams F, Philip L. In preparation. ‘Something terrible has happened!’ - Critiquing the disordered relationship between the hill farmer and information technology. For XXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress 2017, Krakow, 18-21 July

Philip L, Williams F. In preparation. ‘Remote rural’ home-based businesses and digital exclusion:  understanding needs and expectations in a digitally underserved community. For Trans-Atlantic Rural Research Network (TARRN) 2017 Meeting

Halfacree K, Williams F. In preparation. Sheepwrecking or Sheepshaping?: the Contested Role and Place of Sheep in  the 21st Century Uplands. For XXVII European Society for Rural Sociology Congress 2017, Krakow, 18-21 July

Williams F, Philips L. 2016. Including the excluded in a digital age? Towards understanding the digital implications of ‘remote rural’ for home-based businesses. Invited presentation - ESRC seminar ‘Microenterprise, technology and big data: new forms of digital enterprise and work and ways to research them’, Southampton 10-11 October

Halfacree K, Williams F. 2016. Sheep Cultures: Everyday Lives through the Ovine More-than-Human. RGRG sponsored session at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 31 Aug – 2 Sept

Williams F, Philip L, Farrington J. 2015. ‘It’s revolutionised how we do things’: then and now – a case study of Internet behaviours in a remote rural community. XXVI European Society for Rural Sociology Congress 2015, Aberdeen 18-21 July

Williams F, Philip L, Farrington J, Fairhurst G. 2015. Untangling the rhetoric and realities of rural digital connectivity: regulatory requirements, satellite solutions and sheep farmers. 8th Quadrennial UK-US-Canadian Rural Geography Conference 2015 Global Challenges and Rural Responses, Wales 6-12 July

Williams F, Fairhurst G, Farrington J, Mohideen A. 2015. Rural Public Access WiFi Service: Satellite Broadband for Remote Rural Areas. Invited ‘rural evidence’ presentation to the Scottish Government’s Digital Directorate Broadband Policy Team, 19 May

Williams F, Townsend L. 2015. Reaching the Hard to Reach: Satellite Broadband Solutions for Remote Rural Areas. Invited ‘rural evidence’ presentation to Rural Communities Policy Unit, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 28 April

Williams F, Philip LJ, Farrington J, Fairhurst G. 2014. University of Aberdeen, dot.rural written evidence to the Commons Select Committee Rural Broadband and Digital-only Services Inquiry for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA), 19 November

Hamdoun H, Williams F, Mohideen A, Philip L Fairhurst G, Farrington J. 2014. Reaching the Hard to Reach? The Public Access WiFi Service Delivery Model – Role, Potential and Pitfalls. All Hands Conference DE 2014, 3-5 December, London

Williams F, Fairhurst G, Farrington J. 2014. Exploring the Potential of the Rural Public Access WiFi Service Delivery Model – the Story So Far, presentation to the Internet Society ‘Global Access to the Internet for All’ 2nd GAIA meeting, 20-21 October, University of Cambridge. Available: https://sites.google.com/site/irtfgaia/home/gaia-2

Best S, Myers J, Williams F. 2014. Rural engagement: practitioner experience of rural innovation projects and co-production of services in Wales. RGRG sponsored session (Coproduction, Capacity & Change: Challenges & Opportunities for Rural Communities) at the RGS-IBG Annual Conference              

Williams F. 2011. An Ageing Rural Population – Implications for Primary Care? Invited speaker at the Annual Rural Primary Care Conference, Gregynog 22-23 September

Williams F, Slee B. 2008. Barriers to New Entrants to Scottish Farming - A New Perspective on an Old Problem, paper presented at the 6th Rural Entrepreneurship Conference, Crichton Dumfries, 22-23 May

Williams F. 2006. ‘Barriers Facing New Entrants to Farming – an Emphasis on Policy’ RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 30 August- 1 September