Dr Diana Martin
I graduated from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) in 2005 with a Laurea degree in Oriental Languages and Cultures where my major was Arabic language and Middle Eastern studies. In 2007 I obtained an MA in Cultural Geography (Research) from the Royal Holloway University of London and in 2012 a PhD in Human Geography from Durham University.
Before relocating to Portsmouth and taking up a research associate position in 2014, I was based in South Africa where I worked as an independent researcher on issues of right to and access to housing and geographies of disability.
My research interests coalesce around geographies of exclusion and inclusion particularly manifested in the condition of refugees.
My doctoral research investigated geographies of exception as materialised in the status and spaces of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. On the one hand, by disenfranchising the concept of sovereign power from statehood I uncovered the complex networks of sovereigns and decisions impacting upon the Palestinian life. On the other hand, by critically engaging with state-centric and law-centric perspectives, the thesis investigated the micropolitics on the ground by capturing the multiple sovereigns within camps and refugees’ resilience and ongoing struggles for survival and recognition. Furthermore, looking at the relationship between the refugee camp, the city and informal settlements I interrogated and problematized the uncritical assimilation of refugee camps to spaces of exception.
Building on this work, I’m broadly interested in exploring the relationship between temporariness and permanency in relation to migration and forced displacement. In particular, my present research agenda includes the investigation of different refugee spaces by looking at European states’ responses to migration and the kind of geographies (formal and informal) these responses produce. As humanitarian assistance are coupled with and complemented by carceral regimes, erection of fences and rejection of asylum applications, my research aims to examine the relationship between formal reception and carceral spaces (set up by European and national authorities), and more informal geographies produced by refugees themselves.
Beyond forced displacement and states’ responses to migration flows, I am interested in disability and the crucial role of accessibility for a more inclusive society.
I also worked as RA for the ESRC project ‘Ludic Geopolitics: Children’s play, war toys and re-enchantment with the British military’ which examined how contemporary geopolitics is understood and produced through play.