Prof Sarah Skerratt

Research Interests

Sarah Skerratt

I am a Reader in Rural Society and Policy, Head of the Land Economy and Environment Research Group and Director of SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre. I also established SRUC’s Rural Society Research Team in 2006. I have 25 years experience in analysing the differences between policy vision and experience-on-the-ground in rural areas and communities. I focus particularly on rural community development policies and strategies, as well as initiatives led by communities themselves. I research issues of resilience, capacity-building and leadership, and carry out this research in the UK and internationally. My primary research background is Geography and Social Anthropology, with Agricultural Economics. I have always enjoyed working in a multi-disciplinary environment.

I head up the Scottish Government’s multi-institutional rural research programme: “Vibrant Communities: Governance and decision-making for community empowerment” (2011-2016). I am an Associate Investigator on dot.rural (Aberdeen University £12M Digital Rural Hub funded by EPSRC, 2010-2015) and Co-PI on DEAR (Digital Engagement and Resilience) Project.

I am Editor of SRUC’s biennial Rural Scotland in Focus Reports, and convenor of the associated Round Table Debate Series which brings together stakeholders from across the private, public and third sectors. I also head up SRUC’s Rural Economic Development internal and external Knowledge Exchange programme.

I am a member of three Scottish Government Working Groups: (i) Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill; (ii) Land Use Strategy Action Plan Objective 3; and (iii) Scotland’s Rural Parliament. From July 2012 to May 2013, I served as Vice-Chair of the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group, and have since been retained as Ministerial Adviser. As Director of SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre, I am also co-Secretariat (with Dr Jane Atterton) of the Cross Party Group on Rural Policy at the Scottish Parliament.

I sit on the Boards of the Rural Housing Service, Care Farming Scotland and the Solway Centre for Environment and Culture. I am a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)’s 12-person Inquiry Committee into spreading the benefits of digital participation.

I enjoy working in partnership with a range of individuals and organisations, and believe that mutual exchange and learning are key to doing research which makes a difference.

Selected Publications

  • Skerratt, S. (2013), “Enhancing the analysis of rural community resilience: evidence from community land ownership”, Journal of Rural Studies. Vol 31: 36–46
  • Skerratt, S. and Steiner, A. (2013), “Working with communities who do not engage: complexities of empowerment”, in Special Issue of Local Economy: Localism: Debunking the Myths, Vol 28(3))
  • Sjoblom, S., Andersson, K., Marsden, T. and Skerratt, S. (2012), Sustainability and Short-term Policies: Improving Governance in Spatial Policy Interventions, Farnham, England: Ashgate Publishing
  • Skerratt, S. (2012), “Developing rural social enterprise: the relevance of context”. In Farmer, J., Hill, C. and Muñoz, S-A (Eds), Community Co-Production: Social Enterprise in Remote and Rural Communities. Cheltenham, England: Edward Elgar Publishing; pp.24-46
  • Skerratt, S., Farrington, J. and Heesen, F. (2012), Next generation broadband in rural Scotland: mobilising, meeting and anticipating demand”, IN Skerratt, S., Atterton, J., Hall, C., McCracken, D., Renwick, A., Revoredo-Giha, C., Steinerowski, A., Thomson, S., Woolvin, M., Farrington, J, and Heesen, F., Rural Scotland in Focus 2012, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College; pp. 70-85
  • Woolvin, M., Atterton, J. and Skerratt, S. (2012), Rural Parliaments in Europe. Report produced for Scottish Government. Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College
  • Skerratt, S., Atterton, J., Hall, C., McCracken, D., Renwick, A., Revoredo-Giha, C., Steinerowski, A., Thomson, S., Woolvin, M., Farrington, J, and Heesen, F. (2012), Rural Scotland in Focus 2012, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College
  • Skerratt, S., Atterton, J. and Woolvin, M. (2012), Scotland’s Rural Parliament: Identifying Next Steps. A Report for the Scottish Government. Edinburgh, Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College
  • Skerratt, S. (2012), "The need to shift rural community development from projects towards resilience: international implications of findings in Scotland", Chapter 7 IN Sjoblom, S., Andersson, K., Marsden, T. and Skerratt, S., Sustainability and Short-term Policies: Improving Governance in Spatial Policy Interventions, Ashgate Publishing, pp.127-152
  • Woolvin, M. and Skerratt, S. (2012), “The third sector and civil society in rural Scotland: present and future”, IN Skerratt, S., Atterton, J., Hall, C., McCracken, D., Renwick, A., Revoredo-Giha, C., Steinerowski, A., Thomson, S., Woolvin, M., Farrington, J, and Heesen, F. (2012), Rural Scotland in Focus 2012, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College; pp. 56-69
  • Skerratt, S. (2011), “A critical analysis of rural community leadership: towards systematised understanding and dialogue across leadership domains”, invited submission to The Journal of Contemporary Issues in Business and Government. 2011 Volume 17, Number 1, pp.87-107
  • Skerratt, S. & Hall, C. (2011), “Management of community-owned facilities post acquisition: brokerage for shared learning”, Local Economy, Vol 26(8) pp.661-676
  • Skerratt, S. and Hall, C. (2011), “Community ownership of physical assets: challenges, complexities and implications”. Local Economy Vol 26(3) pp.170–181
  • Skerratt, S. (2011), Community land ownership and community resilience, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College
  • Skerratt, S. (2010), "Hot Spots and Not Spots: addressing infrastructure and service provision through combined approaches in rural Scotland", invited paper to special edition of Journal Sustainability: Human populations in remote areas, Vol 2(6), 1719-1741 Full Text
  • Skerratt, S. (2010), "How are Scotland’s rural communities taking ownership of their own future?", IN Skerratt, S., Hall, C., Lamprinopoulou, C., McCracken, D., Midgley, A., Price, M., Renwick, A., Revoredo, C., Thomson, S., Williams, F. and Wreford, A., Rural Scotland in Focus 2010, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College, pp.42-51. Full Text
  • Skerratt, S. (2010), "Regional and regionalised approaches to changing ruralities: Orkney Islands and Scottish Borders", IN Wiggering, H., Ende, H-P., Knierim, A. and Pintar, M. (2010), Innovations in European Rural Landscapes, Berlin: Springer, pp.137-149
  • Skerratt, S., Hall, C., Lamprinopoulou, C., McCracken, D., Midgley, A., Price, M., Renwick, A., Revoredo, C., Thomson, S., Williams, F. and Wreford, A. (2010), Rural Scotland in Focus 2010, Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, Scottish Agricultural College. Full Text
  • Farrington, F., Edwards, P. and S. Skerratt (2009), "Technology in a Cold Climate: Interconnected Society", Paper written for the Royal Society of Arts Conference and Proceedings on Digital Society. Full Text
  • Skerratt, S. (2008), "Doing small scale qualitative research on educational innovation", Chapter 10 in Murray, R. (Ed), The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Skerratt, S. (2008), "Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches: mixed-methods in small-scale research", Chapter 8 in Murray, R. (Ed), The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • Skerratt, S (2008), Community Facilities In Rural Scotland: A Study Of Their Use, Provision And Condition. Scottish Government. Full Text
  • Skerratt, S. (2008), "The persistence of place: the importance of shared participation environments when deploying ICTs in rural areas", IN Information & Communication Technologies in rural society: Being rural in a digital age, Edited Research Monograph, Routledge
  • Rusten, G. & Skerratt, S. (2008), Information & Communication Technologies in rural society: Being rural in a digital age, Edited Research Monograph. Routledge
  • Skerratt, S (2007), Rural Community Gateway Evaluation: Final report. Scottish Executive. Full Text
  • Skerratt, S. (2006), "SME behaviour and ICTs: building culture into evaluation and intervention", IN Matilainen, A (ed) (2006), ICTs: providing information, advice and services to rural SMEs? Helsinki: Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki; pp. 57-73. ISBN 952-10-2575-1
  • Skerratt, S. (2005), "Our digital futures: policies for broadband connectivity in remote and rural communities of Ireland and Scotland", in Scottish Affairs Journal, Issue No. 53, Autumn 2005. Full Text

Prof Sarah Skerratt

Head of Land Economy, Environment & Society Research Group and Director of SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre

Address: Land Economy, Environment & Society, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Peter Wilson Building, Kings Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG.

Telephone: 0131 535 4335

E-mail: Sarah.Skerratt@sruc.ac.uk