New blog post by Dr Kathy Burrell
In my academic research I have focused on Polish migration to the UK. I have done this largely through interviewing Polish migrants directly – in-depth interviews which allow time to talk about key experiences and feelings related to migrating from Poland to the UK. I have interviewed people who were refugees from the Second World…
Reblogged – follow this link to read the full post Understanding Polish Migration to the UK — Kathy Burrell
I don’t know whether it is because I have recently finished co-teaching a postcolonial geographies module for this cycle, or because my daughter, at six, is becoming more conscious of, and interested in, the world, but lately I have felt my academic and personal worlds collide as never before. I have always considered myself at…
Blog post by Dr Kathy Burrell – for the full post follow the link below:
Post by Dr Jennifer Turner
Human Geography at Liverpool has a strong reputation for the study of socio-spatial exclusion, inequality, geographies of the life-course and developing understandings of moving, mobile populations. As a new Lecturer in Human Geography, I’ve been excited to join this vibrant department, bringing to it, a further way of thinking about those themes – through the study of so-called ‘carceral’ life – or, in layman’s terms, thinking about the geographies of places of imprisonment, detainment or confinement and the people who are involved with these spaces.
My research focuses upon spaces and practices of incarceration, past and present. Most recently, I have interrogated prison architecture, design, technology and their potential to impact upon rehabilitation. Other interests include penal tourism, articulations of the prison boundary and conceptualisations of carceral space. My work has been published widely in the fields of carceral geography and criminology. Please see my website for further details.
I’ll be bringing this specialism to Liverpool through a variety of teaching at undergraduate level and postgraduate level, including the modules ENVS385 Issues in Geography and ENVS434 Space, Power and Culture.
Here will be will thinking about a range of themes; some covered in a new book entitled Carceral Mobilities: Interrogating Movement in Incarceration just published with another Liverpool geographer, Dr Kimberley Peters.
The book has been an exciting, cross disciplinary project. At first glance, the words ‘carceral’ and ‘mobilities’ seem to sit uneasily together. Yet, through its introduction and 17 chapters, the book challenges the assumption that carceral life is characterised by a lack of movement; and that mobilities scholars may find no obvious interest in supposed spaces of confinement and stasis – the prison, camp or asylum centre. Identifying and unpicking the manifold mobilities that shape (and are shaped by) carceral regimes, the book brings together contributions that speak to contemporary debates across carceral studies and mobilities research, offering fresh insights to both areas of concern. It features four sections that move the reader through the varying typologies of motion underscoring carceral life: tension; circulation; distribution; and transition. Each mobilities-led section seeks to explore the politics encapsulated in specific regimes of carceral movement.
It is now argued that mobilities research is ‘centre stage’ in the social sciences with wide-ranging work that considers the politics underscoring the movements of people and objects. From studies that examine technologies of motion, to the infrastructures that enable/disable mobility; and from investigations of the subjects made mobile or immobile by regimes of regulation, to the materialities that shape and are shaped by mobilities, what this turn has come to achieve is a critical consideration a world that is ever ‘on the move’. This book, however, offers a fresh perspective on these questions, exploring mobilities through a carceral lens.
Featuring contributions from leading academics working in the field of carceral studies and mobilities research (as well as a strong selection of chapters from emerging scholars, freelance writers and social workers), the book brings together timely discussions in one collection, which will appeal to wide, cross-disciplinary audiences, contributing firmly to current conceptual debates shaping the social sciences. Indeed, drawing on a range of international examples (from the UK, Europe, Australia, South-East Asia, North and South America), the book offers an authoritative, global collection on the theme of carceral mobilities, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including Criminology, Sociology, History, Cultural Theory, Human Geography and Urban Planning. A foreword and afterword will be provided by established figures in carceral geography (Dr Dominique Moran) and mobilities studies (Professor Peter Merriman), also illuminates how understandings of ‘carcerality’ and ‘mobility’ can each inform the other. The book therefore offers a first port of call for those examining spaces of detention, asylum, imprisonment and containment, who are increasingly interested in questions of movement in relation to the management, control, and confinement of populations.
You’ll be able to access this in the library soon!
Post by Kimberley Peters
Breaking chains: the threat of piracy
Just a few years ago the threat of piracy – the seizure of huge cargo ships and the holding hostage of their crews – loomed large off of the coast of Somalia. This illicit maritime activity, which is many centuries old and can be traced back to the earliest seafaring (see Hasty 2014), was a cause for global concern. Ships are the technologies that link spaces together for the majority of trade (96% to be exact). Moreover, much of that trade travels through piracy ‘hotspots’ – voyaging through the Suez Canal linking Europe with the Middle East and South-East Asia.
As was depicted in the Hollywood film Captain Phillips (based on the events experienced by the real Captain Phillips) piracy has costs. There are, for shipping companies, large economic costs of training crews, installing water cannons and locking systems onto vessels, and, of course, rising insurance premiums. At the height of the piracy crisis (which coincided with a fall in oil prices) it was cheaper for vessels to travel around the African continent, following 18th and 19th century colonial trade routes, than to journey via Suez and the Somali coast. Higher costs for shipping translate, ultimately, into higher costs for us as consumers. But there are also other costs – the costs to lives, of those victim to piracy, but also those in war-torn countries who commit such offshore acts.
The spate of piratical acts over the last decade has alerted the world to the often invisible world that exists offshore (Urry 2014). It has also alerted us to the fact that the chains that keep things moving A to B, are not unbreakable. When we go shopping – for food, clothes, a new mobile phone – almost all of these things will have travelled on a ship across the oceans, connecting us to the world beyond dry land and to the lives of those offshore who are making (and breaking) those commodity chains (see Peters 2010).
Today, we hear less of piracy in the news. This is partly due to better oceanic governance to prevent it, and efforts onshore to assist the rebuilding of communities who often have little option but to turn to crime at sea (see the excellent work of Gilmer on piracy in the recent issue of Geoforum, 2016). But just because piracy is not as visible as it has been, doesn’t mean that it is all plain sailing for those who facilitate the supply chains that keep our shop shelves stacked.
Stuck in limbo: when shipping companies go bust
In the past few months we’ve seen a new crisis emerge as global shipping firm Hanjin went bust. As geographers Stephen Graham and Nigel Thrift have argued (2007), we often fail to recognise the infrastructural systems that keep our world functioning: the pipes, cables, roads, cars, planes and even ships – that are part of networks which keep things moving A to B. It is only when things fail we notice these invisible systems (piracy for example, made the closed world of shipping suddenly very visible). The Hanjin crisis did the same.
When the company was declared insolvent, ships and their crews were stuck out at sea with nowhere to go (see this BBC report). Ports refused them entry knowing the bankrupt company would not be able to pay the port fees. Captains and workers were stranded on board. The thousands of container boxes carried by the ships were undelivered – trapped in an oceanic limbo. Supply chains were severed. Cars failed to arrive in showrooms. Electrical goods failed to reach their destination. Personal items shipped overseas were left bobbing about offshore. Again, this instance alerts us to the fundamental but fragile role of shipping in everyday life.
Keeping things moving: new developments
In recent months we have been confronted with the global world of shipping in new ways here in Liverpool. The opening of the new Liverpool2 docks in November 2016 will enable the world’s largest ships – of 400 meters and above – to enter the port. Liverpool, it is anticipated, will become a new hub of global trade in the North of England – a key site for enabling those vital connections that move things from A to B (see this BBC report).
The difference this will make for Liverpool, the north-west region, and to the world of commerce and trade is, as yet, unclear. It is argued it will bring more jobs and greater prosperity to the area. It may also create new global links between Liverpool and the rest of the world. As such, what happens at sea, on ships, and in ports matters to us here on land (as myself and colleagues have argued elsewhere, see Anderson and Peters 2014). Developments like Liverpool2 are part of the network of infrastructures that keep things moving and enable us to access the goods and resources essential to our daily lives (see also this recent article on the Geographical Magazine website).
So next time you go shopping, spare a thought for the oceanic connections interwoven with the things you buy, and the geographic processes, and infrastructural maintenance that has enabled them to reach our shores. And if this has sparked your interest, we explore some of these themes in the new ENVS339 Maritime Geographies module in the Department of Geography and Planning in Spring 2017, taught by myself, Prof. Andy Plater and Dr. Andy Davies.
By Mark Green
I have just joined the department to take up a Lectureship in Health Geography here at the University of Liverpool.
My research interests lie in two interconnected areas. Firstly, I am interested in how body weight and physical activity vary within the UK population, as well as their association to various health outcomes. Secondly, I am interested in examining how neighbourhoods influence health outcomes and behaviours. I also have a broad interest in social inequalities in health and in understanding the processes through which they persist.
I joined the department having previously been based at ScHARR (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield), where I was a Research Associate in Public Health (2013-2015). I was attached to two large research projects during this post:
- The Yorkshire Health Study: A survey of residents of Yorkshire collected every three years which began in 2010-2012. The aim of the survey is to better understand the health needs of the population of Yorkshire, as well as investigate the associations between a variety of personal, social and behavioural factors to long term health conditions. The study was funded by the NIHR CLAHRC for Yorkshire and the Humber.
- An analysis of the associations between the density of different types of shops which sell alcohol and alcohol-related admissions to hospitals at a small geographical scale (2002/03 to 2013/14). The study was funded by Alcohol Research UK.
Despite having a Public Health background, I am a Geographer by trade. I completed my PhD in Geography at the University of Sheffield (2010-2013), entitled ‘Death in England and Wales: Using a classificatory approach for researching mortality’ (supervised by Dr Daniel Vickers and Prof. Danny Dorling). My PhD explored the clustering of mortality patterns at a small scale for England and Wales through the creation of an area classification. I also have a MSc and BA(Hons) in geographical-related disciplines both from the University of Sheffield.
‘Mad about maps and all things associated with social difference’
Post by Dr Lucy Jackson
About me: I’ve just started as a lecturer in Human Geography in the department of geography and planning, having moved from a post-doc position at the University of Sheffield. I’d describe myself as a critical social geographer with specialist interest in feminist geopolitics (more about my research interests below). I’m currently enjoying getting to know Liverpool a little better and am feeling super welcomed by all of my colleagues in the department (thank you!) I love maps (obviously!) and was recently introduced to the undergrads (by Paul Williamson) as the new ‘resident Singapore expert’ (I will try to live up to that title). I also have a travelling Welsh Dragon, called Norbert, who attends all of my overseas research trips (look out for him below). If you are interested in any of my research then feel free to drop me an email/ find me for a chat (Lucy.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Biography: I completed my doctoral research in the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2012 having also studied for my BA (2006) and MA (2008) at the same institution. My doctoral research, titled ‘Alternative sites of citizenship: emotions, performance and belonging for female migrants’, focused upon ideas of citizenship as a relational practice recognising it’s ever more social and cultural nature.
After leaving Aberystwyth, I moved to the University of Sheffield to work on the ERC funded LIVEDIFFERENCE project, led by P.I Professor Gill Valentine. This project involved five inter-linked projects to explore the extent and nature of everyday encounters with ‘difference’. Each of these projects involved collecting original data in the UK and Poland. My research with LIVEDIFFERENCE was conducted within Project C ‘Contested Spaces: Group Identities and Competing Rights in the City’. Here, I specifically focused on the spaces of conflict and interaction between pro-life and pro-choice groups, and between faith and secular groups in the UK.
After this, I continued working with Professor Valentine on an AHRC project on Intergenerational Justice. This project involved work in Uganda, the UK and China to look at issues around resource use, consumption, and attitudes towards the environment across different generations, involving research with families, communities, and NGOs in each context.
Through this research I’ve developed a broad interest in the field of critical social geographies, though the research I conduct connects across the social sciences. Through my research I aim to re-address questions of ‘the social’, not just in terms of social justice, but in terms of socio-spatial politics and the performative politics of everyday life within different societies. Working with theories around everyday practice such as de-certeau and Lebevre I look to bring political philosophy into human geography. I’ve recently come back from a research trip in Singapore looking at ‘claiming citizenship in a constrained public sphere’ with Dr Dan Hammett at Sheffield. This research was part funded by the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID), with a blogpost to arrive shortly on their website.
Specifically, my research interests centre on these core principles (links to recent articles you might find interesting associated with each theme).
Feminist geopolitics, gender and everyday practice
G Valentine, L Jackson, L Mayblin (2014). Ways of Seeing: Sexism the Forgotten Prejudice? Gender, Place & Culture 21 (4), 401-414. DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2014.913007
Winiarska, A, Jackson, L, Mayblin, L and Valentine, G (2015). ‘They kick you because they are not able to kick the ball’: normative conceptions of sex difference and the politics of exclusion in mixed-sex football. Available online: DOI:10.1080/17430437.2015.1067778
Jackson, L and Valentine, G (2014). Emotion and politics in a mediated public sphere: Questioning democracy, responsibility and ethics in a computer mediated world. Geoforum, 52, 193-202. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2014.01.008
*Just out* Jackson, L (2015). Intimate citizenship? Rethinking the politics and experience of citizenship as emotional in Wales and Singapore. Gender, Place & Culture, available online: DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2015.1073695
Jackson, L (2015). Experiencing exclusion and reacting to stereotypes? Navigating borders of the migrant body. Area, available online: DOI: 10.1111/area.12146
Home, belonging, emotions
Jackson, L (2014). The multiple voices of belonging: migrant identities and community practice in South Wales. Environment and Planning A, 46, pages 1666–1681. doi:10.1068/a46248
Harris, C, Jackson, L, Mayblin, L, Piekut, A and Valentine, G (2014). ‘Big Brother welcomes you’: exploring innovative methods for research with children and young people outside of the home and school environments. Qualitative Research, available online: 10.1177/1468794114548947
Post by Dr Paul Williamson
Congratulations to this year’s Edinburgh field class photograph competition winners. Here are the winning entries for the category ‘Views of Edinburgh’:
And here are the winning entries in the category ‘Students in action’:
The field class took place in late-April and saw 43 Year 2 BA Geographers and 3 staff heading north, enjoying the warmest and sunniest Edinburgh-based week on record as they to put into practice a variety of research skills acquired over the last year and a half of study.
These included interviewing Members of the Scottish Parliament; surveying any member of the public unable to run away fast enough; interviews with local activists; and participant observation of the local nightlife.
This year students researched topics as diverse as perceptions of the newly launched tram network, factors explaining Scottish political allegiance, tourist perceptions of Edinburgh and a comparison of the Liverpool and Edinburgh students’ sense of place.
The final part of the field class focussed on data analysis, ranging from traditional graphs and tables of survey results through to the deconstruction of interview responses.
The Edinburgh Field Class is just part of our wider three-year field class programme, which includes trips to Mid Wales, the Lake District, Spain, California and Singapore. All of these trips are designed an ethos of ‘learning by doing’. Or, in Edinburgh’s Case, ‘learning by doing whilst getting a suntan’. Happy Days!
By Catherine Wilkinson
On Wednesday 25th March, I took up my Researcher in Residence placement at Hunt & Darton Café in Manchester. Hunt & Darton Café is an award-winning pop-up café which unites art with the everyday. Despite being an installation, presented by artists Jenny Hunt and Holly Darton, the café is fully-functioning with a range of food and drink. Through performance, Hunt and Darton showcase the ‘behind the scenes’ of the business; for instance, displaying their profits for the day on a blackboard for customers to see. It was my task to explore methods of documenting and archiving the live art and performance. During my ethnography of the café, I participated as a customer yet made audio recordings; took photographs; and made field diary entries. Because it was the 25th of the month (March), Hunt & Darton café naturally celebrated Christmas Day. In attempting to capture my observations from the day, in a way which does justice to the performativity of the café, I present to you a poem.
As I approached Hunt & Darton Café I could tell I was in for a treat,
Before I knew it I was greeted with “Happy Christmas, take a seat!”
There was a Christmas tree in the window, mulled wine, and mince pies,
I thought “It’s March, not December”, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Perhaps more strangely, I saw two ladies in broccoli dresses,
It was Hunt and Darton – they even had broccoli branches in their tresses.
The artists approached me, asking “would you like coffee or tea?”
“I’d love a cuppa thank you, with milk, but no sugar for me”.
As I sipped on my brew I marvelled at the crockery,
Then they commenced the quiz and I soon was made a mockery.
“How many sides does a snowflake have?” they asked.
“I know this, I thought…12” – “No, it’s six” – my knowledge was surpassed.
Question number 5 and my score was still zero,
Then a stranger sat down next to me – John – he fast became my hero.
John was getting questions correct left, right, and centre,
I mean – he even knew the name of the mince pie inventor!
The quiz was terminated momentarily as Hunt and Darton took their break,
John got up to leave “back to work for me” he said “I’ve got money to make”,
The quiz was resumed and without John’s presence I felt defeated,
I have to confess that (with use of good old Google) on at least one occasion I cheated.
It was somewhat a relief when the quiz came to an end,
My performance had been poor, there was nothing to commend.
“20 minutes until unhappy hour” Hunt and Darton declared,
“Unhappy hour, what’s this?” I admit it – I was scared.
I was told “the mood gets very sombre and you’re not allowed to laugh”,
At first I thought “forget this, get me out this caff”.
But as the clock struck 6.30pm I soon realised it was nothing malicious,
Hunt and Darton simply wanted to know “what has been your worst Christmas?”
As they walked around the café evoking stories of great sadness,
I couldn’t help but think “what on earth is all this madness”.
It was soon time for me to leave in my getaway car,
But truthfully I loved every second, no matter how strange, how bizarre.
Moving forward with the project, I have a few aims to keep me busy:
- I will use the audio recordings, in the form of vox pops and soundbites, to produce an audio documentary which captures the atmosphere at the café.
- I will create an ‘uncomic strip’, continuing the theme of ‘unhappy hour’, to document my ethnographic findings and the ‘characters’ I met.
- I will be visiting Hunt & Darton café in Folkestone 9th-10 May to continue my ethnographic observations.
I look forward to working with creative methods to document the performativity of Hunt & Darton Café.
Post by Catherine Wilkinson, ESRC NWDTC PhD student
KCC Live is a community youth-led radio station situated in Knowsley, just outside of Liverpool. The station targets listeners between the ages of 10-24 and has a cohort of volunteers aged 16 and upwards, assisting with roles such as presenting, programming and fundraising. The overarching aim of my doctoral research is to explore how KCC Live creates social capital among these young people in the current time of political, social and economic uncertainty. Within my project I draw on a range of creative qualitative methods, namely: participant observation; interviews and focus groups with young volunteers; interviews with key stakeholders; a listener survey and follow-up interviews; and listener diaries and follow-up interviews. Within my research I adopt a participatory approach.
As part of my research, I am particularly interested in understanding what ‘community’ means to the young people, and the different meanings they attach to the word. To this end, as part of my participatory methodology, the young people and I co-created an audio documentary. The documentary was participatory to the extent that: the young people highlighted key topics relating to community which they would like to discuss; the young people and I recorded discussions about community to be used as content; the young people provided me with advice as to how to edit the documentary; they chose the music and sound effects to be included; after a ‘first draft’ was complete, the young people were involved in snoops (listening sessions where critique and feedback is provided), which instructed me on how to improve the documentary.
In accordance with the desires of the young people, the documentary explores: what community means to them; the different community groups they are involved in; different scales of community, from geographic to virtual; the role of social media in the construction of community; whether they perceive community as positive or negative; the Scouse sense of community; and the community of KCC Live. The audio documentary is around 30 minutes in length and was played out on KCC Live during a show that I present. It is now available as a resource for young people to use as broadcasting content on the station whenever they desire. To listen to the documentary, please follow this link: https://soundcloud.com/catherinewilkinson