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Dr Gordon Morris

Honorary Research Associate

Gordon Morris, originally an engineer, trained and served with the Royal Navy until 1976, when he left to work in industry.  After a spell lecturing in Further and Higher Education he joined the Rural Development Commission as a Business Adviser in 1993.   In 1999, he joined the Countryside Agency, where he worked on various aspects of rural regeneration, including the Market Towns Initiative and Beacon Towns Programme, both of which he helped to design and manage.

Gordon’s interests are in rural policy and community development, mainly in the UK, but also overseas.  In addition to his work in England, he has visited Australia as a member of a joint Canadian, New Zealand and Australian rural development team.  He has also taken part in a North America-UK Countryside Exchange programme, and has visited Gambia and Uganda as part of a team involved in linking between ‘communities of interest’ (eg health, schools) in Commonwealth countries.

A Member of the Institute of Management, Gordon has a Certificate in Education from the University of Greenwich, a Post-graduate Diploma and MSc in Rural Development from the University of Plymouth, Seale Hayne, and a PhD in Politics from the University of Exeter.  He is currently an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Exeter's Centre for Rural Policy Research (CRPR), a Fellow of the RSA, a founder member of Small Towns for Tomorrow, a trustee of BUILD (Building Understanding through International Links for Development) and a member of the Editorial Board of The Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance. 

Research interests

Rural development, local government, governance, England's small towns ("market towns"), community-led development.

Research note

Food banks in England's Small Towns in 2019 (2013 and 2016 surveys revisited)

This note summarizes the results of a survey of town clerks in England’s small (“market”) towns. The survey was designed to find out how many towns have, have had, are intending to have, or have never had, a food bank.

Food banks in England’s Small Towns in 2016 (2013 survey revisited)

This note summarizes the results of a survey designed to find out how many small country towns in England have food banks.  The data gathered suggest that the number of food banks in small towns is growing.  The implications of this for rural areas are not clear, but it is safe to infer that the long standing problems associated with rural disadvantage will be exacerbated by this trend.


Book review

Review – Reclaiming Local Democracy: A progressive future for local government
Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, Issue 19, December 2016.

Journal articles

Morris, G. (2012). Leading Communities: Community-led Development in England’s Small Towns: the Market Towns Initiative. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (11), 33–52.

Morris, G. (2014). What’s left, what’s been done and what next? England ’s 2000 Rural White Paper: Town council activities and a survey of town clerks. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance

Morris, G. (2015). Who will look after England’s rural disadvantaged now? Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (16/17), 31–59.

Morris, G. (2017). Rural policy, rural quangos – searching for clarity in West Dorset, south west England. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (20), 44-70.


With Nichols, C. (2007). Strengthening the Role of Local Councillors: An overview of information, Strengthening the role of rural councillors: An overview of information, policy and debate. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK.

Edited document

Morris, S.T., Davies, G.D.D., and Dunford, W.J. (Morris, G., Ed.). (2011). The Culm Measures Problem Area ("The Holsworthy Study): a report from the 1950s. Exeter.


Visiting Lecturer, Bournemouth University, Social Policy and Criminology


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