Wanyun Ying

Why did you choose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds?

The first reason was the great academic reputation of the University of Leeds especially the school of geography which is the top academic institution in geography study worldwide accommodating some brilliant scholars in critical human geography within cutting-edge academic clusters. I thought it would provide me with strong supports matching with my research interest on urban and regional geography especially from the critical perspective. Besides, the works of my main supervisor- Dr Paul Waley- are also highly related to my research interest and inspired me to propose my PhD project. His abundant knowledge on East-Asian and European cities also would help me to rethink, locate and fit my research into a broader context.

Tell us about your research

The overarching aim of my research is to explore the nature of region-building in China, in terms of regional disparities, territorial politics and complexity of institutionalization. My research will contribute to ongoing debates about the nature and effectiveness of region-building strategies in China by highlighting the role of provincial government, which has generally been neglected in the scholarly literature. It will explore the policy context behind the creation of regions designed to overcome regional disparities, the territorial arrangements and politics that construct and are reconstructed by region-building process, and it will investigate the intended and actual outcomes of region-building projects. In doing so, my research will reach back to a more general literature, and insert its conclusions into discussions on the nature of region, on the politics of scale and on the unintended consequences of polices.

What is your favourite part of studying at Leeds?

Leeds gives me the chance to communicate with and study from many knowledgeable, excellent and interesting scholars and students through meeting with supervisors, research support group and transfer panels, sitting in modules and courses in different schools and institutions, attending PRG conference and some lectures organised in the university and many other channels for academic communication.

What activities do you take part in outside of your studies?

In the daily time, I like to play some sports with friends such as hiking and badminton, take part in some social activities such as seminars and reading groups on China’s development, feminism and other interesting topics. Besides, I also like travelling around UK and Europe when I’m in the holiday.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I hope that I can pursue academic research in the university or other academic institutions when I graduate with the PhD degree in the future. But I won’t make my study stop in the academic debates and discussion but will push it have some real policy and social impacts on optimizing institution related to reducing poverty and inequality.

Any advice for prospective students?

Leeds is a great university with a lot of excellent scholars, staffs and students, abundant and well-qualitied modules, workshops and other academic resources, great student union, advanced gyms and libraries as well as relaxing schoolyard environment- all of these will give you a strong support to find and pursue what you really like and want. Hope you can enjoy your life here with an open-minded and positive attitude to communicate with others and explore the university together.