Dr Koen Bartels

Division: Business Studies

Location: Room 2.07, Alun

Tel: 01248 38 8790

Email: k.bartels@bangor.ac.uk


Lecturer in Management Studies

Koen Bartels joined Bangor Business School in September 2012 as Lecturer in Management Studies. He holds a BSc and MPhil in Public Administration from Leiden University (the Netherlands) and a PhD in Politics from the University of Glasgow. His PhD research explored what happens when public professionals and citizens encounter each other in participatory practice. His book on this topic (published with The Policy Press) explains how they communicate, why this is so difficult, and what could lead to more productive conversations.

Koen’s research focuses on relationships between public service professionals and citizens, especially in the context of social innovation in urban governance. He has conducted action research with social innovations in neighbourhood governance in Amsterdam and community organising in Liverpool. He collaborates with local stakeholders in understanding and improving daily practices and institutional reforms that can sustain new ways of enhancing local well-being. This grant-funded research has generated academic publications in leading journals and edited volumes as well as a range of impact activities in the UK and abroad.

His research agenda is aimed at enhancing understanding of relationality in social theory, governance practice and research methodology. This involves developing a relational worldview as an alternative to the current neoliberal political-economic system, analysing multi-actor interdependencies and relational dynamics in governance practice, and employing critical and relational methods of action research. Koen is a leading expert in his field on the latter topic and is currently co-editing a book entitled ‘Action Research in Policy Analysis’.


PhD Politics, University of Glasgow
MPhil Public Administration, Leiden University
BSc Public Administration, Leiden University
PGCertHE (Fellow of the Higher Education Academy)

Research Interests

Public encounters; social and democratic innovation; urban governance; communication; public policy and administration; interpretive and qualitative research; practice theory; relational philosophy; sociology of knowledge and learning.


Working papers

  • Action Research in Policy Analysis: Critical and Relational Approaches to Sustainability Transitions. Edited book to be published with Routledge in 2018. With Dr J.M. Wittmayer.
  • Practice Theory and Action Research: A Relational Theory-Methods Package for Policy-Relevant Research. Under review.
  • A Relational Perspective on Public Administration. With Dr N Turnbull (University of Manchester) Under review.


Undergraduate Teaching

  • ASB-3501 Comparative Public Administration   

Postgraduate Teaching

  • ASB-4516 Management and Innovation of Government and Non-Profit Organisations
  • ASB-4415 Management Research
  • ASB-4932 Foundations in Social Research

Roles within Bangor Business School

  • Second supervisor Ms. Sara Closs-Davies. PhD project title: Tax Credits: The Relationship present Between Government, HMRC and the Individual
  • Second supervisor Ms. Elizabeth Woodcock. PhD project title: Developing Conditions for Regional Public and Third Sector Collaboration
  • First supervisor Mr. Owen Powell. PhD project title: Sensemaking in Worker Cooperatives
  • Convener Research Student Seminar Series
  • Co-convener Qualitative Interdisciplinary Research Group
  • Masters dissertation supervisor
  • Undergraduate dissertation supervisor
  • Personal tutor


Prestigious awards:

  • Best Master thesis 2008-2009. Institute of Public Administration, Leiden University.
  • Sage Prize for best postgraduate paper. Annual Public Administration Committee Conference 2009.


  • ESCR Impact Acceleration Account Knowledge Exchange Fellowship. Project: ‘Cultivating Local Well-being: Struggling for Authentic and Sustainable Social Innovation’. October 2016.
  • ESCR Impact Acceleration Account Small Grant. Project: ‘Cultivating Innovative Encounters in Local Governance: Comparing New Ways of Working in and with Communities’. October 2015.
  • Research project ‘Area-Focused Working in Practice, City District Amsterdam-West, 2013-2014.
  • University of Glasgow Social Sciences Faculty Scholarship, 2008-2011.


  • Community engagement: Doing damage, doing what’s necessary. Presentation at Getting North Wales Moving networking event. 20 Oct 2017
  • Re-Root. Short animated film co-produced with Tree House Liverpool CIC (October 2017) - https://vimeo.com/229281870
  • Evidence on Citizenship and Civic Engagement. Submitted to the House of Lords Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee (September 2017)
  • How to change the world without really trying. Knowledge exchange event organised with Tree House Liverpool CIC (April 2017)
  • Growing authentic and sustainable innovative ways of working. Knowledge exchange visit to Amsterdam-West for Tree House Liverpool CIC (October 2016).
  • Radio interview for BBC Merseyside, Tony Snell in the Morning. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03269nx (2 October 2015)
  • ‘Dutch delegation learn from communities’ Liverpool Express, http://www.liverpoolexpress.co.uk/dutch-delegation-learn-from-communities (2 October 2015)
  • Innovative Encounters in Local Governance: Comparing New Ways of Working in and with Communities. Knowledge exchange visit to Liverpool for 25 Amsterdam-West public professionals (October 2015).
  • ‘Building Connections in Glasgow’, Glasgow City Council. Work plan report to Scottish Government. Work cited in policy document. External consultant for local council officer.
  • Commentary: Toward Deeper Understandings of Volunteering Practice. North East Third Sector Research Group Digest (December 2014).
  • Grip op de Buurt. Gezamenlijke ervaringen met en lessen voor werken met de Buurt Praktijk Team aanpak. [Grip on the neighbourhood. Joint experiences with and lessons about working with the Neighbourhood Practice Team approach]. Reflective report for Stichting Streetcornerwork (October 2014).
  • Aansluiting. Kleine stappen en achterliggende problemen. [Interweaving. Small steps and underlying problems].Intermediate evaluation Neighbourhood Practice Team Landlust for City District Amsterdam-West (March 2014).
  • Een Plek in de Buurt. [A Place in the Neighbourhood]. Study of the needs of youngsters in the Kolenkit en Robert Scott neighbourhoods for Stichting Streetcornerwork & IJdockzz (January 2014)
  •  “The Participation Society in Practice”. Workshop for the Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs (November 2013).

External roles:

  • Co-convener ECPR Standing Group on Theoretical Perspectives on Policy Analysis.
  • Editorial board member of ‘Administrative Theory & Practice
  • Peer reviewer for Oxford University Press, Edward Elgar, Emerald, Century Process Press; Urban Studies, Public Administration, Public Administration Review, American Review of Public Administration, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Politics, Evidence & Policy, Local Government Studies, Voluntary Sector Review, Social Policy & Administration, Administration & Society, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, International Journal of Public Sector Management.