Clare Devaney is the Founder and Director of Citizen-i-Ltd - a platform for citizen-led innovation, impact and participatory research based in Manchester. Clare is also a Research Associate and Marie Curie H2020 PhD Scholar with MAPS-LED International Research Partnership, based at the University of Salford. The partnership brings together colleagues from the UK, US, Italy and Finland in a collaborative exploration of innovation ecosystems, with a focus on place-based innovation, sustainability, social impact and new methods of evaluation in these areas. Clare’s research explores the role of cultural heritage in catalysing and embedding civic innovation and recently completed a six-month secondment in the Boston, USA.
As a Research Fellow and Associate of the RSA, Clare is leading and contributing to its portfolio of research and strategic development projects in the North of England, with a particular focus on heritage, place and citizenship. She is also working with a team of co-founders in the development and delivery of an Impact Hub for Greater Manchester, and is driving the M4 movement as a platform for civic action and positive change. Clare is a Trustee of Manchester Histories and Chair of the Advisory Board for PLACED - a social enterprise that works with young people, schools, housing associations, developers and community groups across the North West to inspire inter-generational interest in architecture, urban design and the built environment.
"For me, it is not the physical distance that makes the difference. Good and bad decisions can be made at any proximity. It is the quality of democracy that counts. And there’s the rub. Devolution simply cannot work without democracy. Employing an exclusively top-down approach, devolution can only possibly transfer power to a different seat or seats of power. There appears to be a working assumption that that top-level transfer is enough – that devolved power to city hubs would mean fair distribution across the regions – because of course in the sharing, caring golden-glow of provincial Manchester, we’re still popping over the cobbles to borrow sugar from Ena Sharples. Liverpool had a wonderful community spirit, of which I am very proud, but Little House on the Prairie it is not. In practice, even the northern cities have at best established and at worst engrained power structures, cliques and networks at play. There are some big fish in small ponds. And devolution, as it stands, offers a swim without the hook of scrutiny. Even if it is Eric Pickles holding the rod"