a bit of biography

I’m Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford, UK, and my university home page is here.  You can find me on Twitter @ProfGillian.

I’ve also worked in departments of geography at Queen Mary, University of London, at Edinburgh University and at The Open University, and I’ve been a visiting professor at the universities of Pretoria, Karlstad and California at Berkeley.

I’m interested in all of the key terms of that the academic discipline of geography focusses on: place, landscape, space. I think all of these notions are fundamental to how people experience their lives in specific locations and times. Particular understandings of place, landscape and place can be implicit or explicit; they can be encoded in cultural texts like paintings or films or songs; they can be articulated through argument or dreams or feelings.

I’ve done some fairly abstract theorising about spatiality in particular, often drawing on Foucauldian and feminist arguments. But I’ve also worked with a lot of particular examples of people’s entanglements with place and space especially, from community arts groups working in Edinburgh in the mid-1990s, to how people visiting the centres of two medium-sized towns in the UK experienced those urban environments, to how family photographs maintain familial networks over space and across time.

screenshot figure 1I have a particular interest in how places, spaces and landscapes are represented in visual form, or through visual objects – in things like landscape paintings or documentary photographs – and in how different places invite different ways of seeing. Most recently I’ve focussed on how digital visualising technologies of many kinds – from smartphone apps to digital animation software – is changing how we experience cities especially.

Finally, I have a longstanding interest in visual research methods. My book Visual Methodologies is published by Sage and has gone through five editions since its first in 2001.

4 thoughts on “a bit of biography

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on performance, performativity and subjectivity | science before breakfast

  2. Dear Prof Gillian

    I’ve recently been given an opportunity to introduce visual communication and design into the mix of behaviour change tools employed by a government department to facilitate change. Can you signpost me to any influential thinkers/publications in this field?

    With thanks


    • Hmm. Interesting question Daniel. I don’t know of any work and though there may be some in business/management literatures. What I do know is that there seems to be a very strong conviction that images do have an effect, particularly that data visualisations can facilitate decision-making – but as far as I know, there’s very little robust research that really explores what kind of images do what sort of work with what sort of audiences. If anyone else reading this does, please let us know!

  3. dear gillian
    My name is Marzieh .I have a master’s degree in rural geography and rural planning and my dissertation was on the rural landscape in the villages of north of Iran. . Now I read your comments and they are very new and great for me. Thank you. I was happy to get to know your blog.

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