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About us

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The OU's Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Area is rethinking the changing relationships between governance, institutions and citizens.

The multidisciplinary group was built on longstanding research strengths in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Business and Law at The Open University.

Find out about our Research Streams

Governance is about a pattern or ordered rule encompassing policy, law, and practice; it is the process of steering societies through collective actions and the embedding of socio-cultural norms and practices. Citizens are central to governance; they are simultaneously recipients of regulatory regimes and also shape these social environments. Governing contemporary societies is more complex now than perhaps ever before.

Relationships between states and citizens are being radically re-configured as the boundaries of citizenship and who counts as a citizen are consolidated and contested. Governance is becoming more polycentric, particularly in the digital era, with implications for how governments, businesses, voluntary organisations, community groups and individual citizens organise, make decisions, and take actions. The OU's Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Area explores and investigates these developments.

For internal staff

Find out more about the funding support provided by the OU's Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Area.


Dr Alessandro Sancino smiling

Dr Alessandro Sancino

Dr Alessandro Sancino is a Senior Lecturer in Management at the Department of Public Leadership and Social Enterprise in the OU Business School, where he brings extensive academic experience from posts held in Italy, Switzerland, Peru and the UK. His research is focused on cities, democracy, government-citizens relations, public value and social innovation. Prior to joining the OU, Dr Sancino held political leadership positions in Italy, including as councillor for the Milan metropolitan area. 


Professor Jacqui gabb

Professor Jacqui Gabb

Jacqui Gabb is an award-winning Professor of Sociology and Intimacy based in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Jacqui explores interdisciplinary approaches for researching and theorizing intimacy and personal relationships. She has completed a number of UK Research and Innovation-funded projects on couple relationships, lesbian parenthood, intimacy and sexuality in families, and post-divorce fatherhood. Jacqui is also the Chief Relationships Officer at Paired, a new app for couples that her research helped to develop. 

Research Development Manager

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Dr Joanna Bhatti

Dr Joanna Bhatti supports bidding activities and research development for the Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Area, including horizon scanning for funding opportunities, bid development and project budgets. She is also responsible for cross-faculty collaborations and external partnerships. She brings together academics from various research fields to facilitate interdisciplinary initiatives and collaborations with non-academic partners. Her portfolio includes enterprise, impact and knowledge exchange activities.


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Michelle Stevens

Michelle Stevens is the Secretary for The Open University's Citizenship and Governance Strategic Research Area. She is responsible for administrative duties within the network. She supports the organisation of events including bookings and expenditure. She manages the network's mailing lists, events calendar, supports communications and liaises with internal and external stakeholders. Michelle has had previous PA and administrative roles both in the public and private sectors.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact the Citizenship and Governance team

Citizenship and Governance SRA 
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Email the team