The role of co-creation in rural town centre identities

Project summary

Adopting a sense of place and a distinct town centre identity is increasingly seen as an approach which addresses the challenges associated with town centre decline and high street regeneration. Furthermore, with the move from the service to experience economy, there is a pressing need to address a demand that is increasingly seeking unique and highly personalised experiences.

Hence, high street shops that offer brand-conscious co-created experiences thrive, whilst shops that focus on merchandise become extinct. To regenerate the high street as the heart of destinations, multiple actors need to engage in experience design and co-creation to generate value for all stakeholders involved (including the local community, businesses, tourists and visitors). Current knowledge focuses on urban town centres and high streets, neglecting the particular challenges experienced in rural environments. This project would explore the challenges of town centre identity co-creation in rural settings.

Research cluster

Centre for Business Improvement

Entry requirements

Applicants will need either a first-class or upper-second-class honours degree in relevant subjects including Business with a strong focus on Marketing, Retail or Tourism. Applicants should also have a Masters degree in a similar subject.

International students may also need to meet our English language requirements. Find out more about our entry requirements for international students.

Project-specific requirements must align with the University’s standard requirements

How to apply

Please contact Professor Carley Foster ( in the first instance.

The University has four starting points each year for MPhil/PhD programmes (September, January, March and June). Applications should be made at least three months before you would want to start your programme. Please note that if you require a visa additional time will be required.


Self-funded by the student. There is a range of options that may be available to you to help you fund your PhD.


Eleni Michopoulou
Associate Professor

Eleni is an Associate Professor in Business Management at the University of Derby, Buxton. Eleni teaches on subjects relating to the management and marketing of Tourism, Hospitality, Events and Spa industries.


Foster, C., Brindley, C., Armansdottir, G. and Ghosh, B. Value co-creation in temporary, independent retailing: a study of customer value perceptions of pop-up stores, Academy of Marketing Conference (AM2017), Hull University Business School, 3-6 July 2017