Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I'm happy to discuss potential projects in the following areas: Geographies of Children and Young People; Play, Space and Society; Material Culture and Materiality; Social and Cultural Geography

Personal profile


My expertise lie at the intersection of human geography and childhood studies. My work interrogates the production, exhibition and consumption of toys in both historical and contemporary contexts. The use of ethnographic and video-based research methods to examine children’s attachments to and engagements with toys is central to this work. I theorise relations between materialities, bodies and space in play. This concern extends beyond children’s cultural worlds to consider the fundamental role of play to human experience across the lifecourse.

I lead research across disciplinary borders with colleagues in geopolitics, childhood studies, social care and education in order to develop thinking on pressing social and political issues relating to children and family life. My work informs academic and public debates on contemporary cultures of childhood and their relation to commodity forms, social domains (family, education, technology) and (geo)political climates. To date, my research has been funded through a series of ESRC awards. Intellectually, I have lead initiatives on enchanting and ludic geographies, playability, and ludic and domesticating geopolitics in UK and US based academic and practitioner forums.

As a geographer, I have brought my cross-disciplinary research on play to bear in work with Hilary Geoghegan on re-enchanting geography by rethinking academic modes of critique, as well as Ian Cook on rethinking forms of commodity activism. Whilst the former was initially targeted at human geography, this approach has been adopted by physical geographers interested in new ways of working in the Anthropocene. This work forms part of a broader, on-going commitment to re-imagining the role of the academic in the neoliberal academy, particularly in relation to issues surrounding mental wellbeing.

Internationally, I have given invited talks at interdisciplinary research institutes in Germany and USA, and I have held a Visiting Scholar positions in the USA and Finland. I have also been invited to chair sessions and talk at interdisciplinary conferences spanning concerns with childhood, play and war in the USA, Canada, Brazil and UK. My published work has been cited beyond geography, in areas including childhood studies, playwork practice, early childhood education, age and intergenerational studies, cultural studies, and sociology.

My collaborative networks include Exeter, Royal Holloway, Reading and the V&A Museum of Childhood. I am an active participant of the Royal Geographical Society’s research community, serving as Chair of the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group and Workshop Officer for the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group. I also serve on the advisory board of the Hampshire Geographical Association. In addition to reviewing papers for key geographical journals, I regularly review papers for journals targeted at audiences beyond my disciplinary home of geography, including Childhood: a journal of global childhood research and Children: open access paediatrics journal.

I currently supervise 5 postgraduate students in the areas of social and cultural geography, social care and education, including intergenerational care, family transitions, sport and gender, outdoor activity and risk, and creative working. Within my institution, I lead the human geography research cluster, which spans our Risk, Resilience and Citizenship and Historical Geography and Spatial Analysis research groups.

Pedagogically, I have acted as external examiner for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes spanning Geography, Global Development and Sustainability, and Playwork. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., PhD in Human Geography, University of London

Award Date: 1 Feb 2010

PG Cert, Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning, University of London

Award Date: 31 Jul 2006

MA, MA Cultural Geography (Research), University of London

Award Date: 1 Sept 2004

BSc (Hons), University of London

Award Date: 31 Jul 2003

External positions

Fellow , Higher Education Authority

2019 → …

Chair, Social and Cultural Geography Research Group, Royal Geographical Society

2019 → …

External Examiner - Play and Playwork Programmes, University of Gloucestershire

Jan 2017Dec 2020

Academic Mentor (Early Career Researchers via Social and Cultural Geography Research Group), Royal Geographical Society

2016 → …

Workshop Officer, Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group, Royal Geographical Society

2016 → …

External Examiner - Geography and Development Programmes, Bath Spa University


Peer Review College Member, Economic and Social Research Council, UK


Advisory Board, Hampshire Geographical Association

2015 → …

Social & Cultural Geography Research Group Committee Member, Royal Geographical Society


Associate Fellow, Higher Education Authority

2006 → …


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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