James Todd
James is a second year PhD student in Human Geography. James’ current research explores the everyday life experiences of trans young people through their activities, emotions and embodied interactions. His project draws on participatory methodologies to explore the lived and everyday realities of having a young gender variant body in differing spaces, places and times. James collaborates with Gendered Intelligence, a community interest group supporting trans young people, and hopes to encourage an increase in the presence and voice of trans youth in social science research.

James is also interested in exploring the geographies of mental health and anxiety outside of this PhD work. James holds an MArts degree in Human Geography from Durham University. He can be found on Twitter at @jmstdd and occasionally blogs at:

Clair Cooper
Clair Cooper is a first year PhD with the EU Horizon 2020 Naturvation programme, an interdisciplinary partnership, led by the Department of Geography at Durham University involving 14 institutions from across Europe. Clair’s role is to investigate how the characteristics of nature-based solutions are distributed within the urban realm and how they relate to social, urban and public health inequalities. Clair’s research builds on her experience in the UK water industry where she was responsible for delivery of water conservation programs. Where Clair developed an interest in the relationship between greenspace, inequality and health, and how reconnection with nature can bring about sustainability transitions. Clair holds a degree in physical geography and environmental science and an MSc in Catchment Dynamics and Management. You can find her on Twitter at @cooper_clair.

Yu-Shan Tseng

Yu-Shan Tseng is a second-year PhD student in Human Geography. Her research investigates the possibilities and implications of Open Source Software (OSS) enabled public participation platforms, specifically Decide Madrid and vTaiwan, located respectively in Madrid and Taiwan. Her research takes a comparative and participatory approach, working with Citizen Participation, Transparency and Open Government Department in Madrid City Hall and PDIS (Public Design Innovation Space) in Executive Yuan (Taiwan).

She holds an MSc in Urban Regeneration (University College London) and a BSc in Geography (National Taiwan University).

Christoph Doppelhofer
Christoph Doppelhofer is a first year PhD student in Visual Culture and based in the Department of Geography and the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture at Durham University. His research ‘Travels from Winterfell to King’s Landing’ focuses on imaginary geographies created by the global pop-cultural phenomenon Game of Thrones. Thereby, he investigates the real-life impact of this fantasy television series on cultural landscapes, their changing meanings, identities and spatial relations. The focus is on archaeological and historical heritage sites which have been altered on screen through visual effects and narrative.

Christoph holds a degree in classical archaeology which brought him to excavations in Austria, Italy, England, Turkey and Egypt. Being fascinated by the meanings and uses of cultural heritage in the present, he obtained his MA in International Cultural Heritage Management at Durham University.

He blogs about his research on and you can find him on Twitter @c_doppelhofer.

Juliet Sefton
Juliet is a second-year PhD student in Physical Geography. She is interested in understanding past sea-level changes in many different environments and timescales. Presently, she is studying how mangrove sediments can be used to reconstruct past sea-level changes, focussing on mangroves in the Seychelles. She employs multiple techniques to solve these geological problems – micropalaeontology, sedimentology and geochemistry.

She holds a BSc and MSc in Geology and Geography from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She first became interested in sea-level science and palaeoclimate while studying Pliocene sedimentary sequences in the North Island of New Zealand for her MSc research.

You can find her on Twitter here: @SeftonGeo.

Sophie Tindale
UntitledSophie Tindale is a PhD geographer studying water resource management in the UK. Her research uses social science methods to better understand the practices, complexities and systems of decision-making and action in river catchments, where various threats to the environment and contesting interests of multiple stakeholders often form challenges for sustainable management. The research covers topics such as complex systems, governance, pollution, data into evidence, collaboration, networks, social modelling, connectivity, nature, power, knowledge and environmental change. Her work is based on stakeholder knowledge and experiences from the River Wear catchment in County Durham.

You can find Sophie on Twitter here: @SJTindale.

Ruth Raynor
Ruth Raynor headshotRuth Raynor has worked and trained in theatre and community arts and has drawn from this experience to develop methodologies at the intersection of theatre and geography. Her PhD research engaged closely with a group of women in the North East of England and together they explore multiple and dissonant qualities the new austerity genre. This work gives focus to forms of insecurity that are mobilised in austerity in a context of already unequal distributions of hierarchy and associated othering. Such modes of insecurity are set against evocations to fiscal security through political and cultural discourse including austerity nostalgia. As part of this process participants developed a fictional play with Ruth which was staged in three local theatres and which sought to express some of the complex dynamics of austerity, including forms of tension between security and insecurity, holding things together and what falls apart.

You can find Ruth on Twitter here: @RaynorRuth.

Sarah Hughes
Sarah HughesSarah completed her PhD in 2017 and is now a Teaching Fellow in the department. Her research brings into conversation literatures on creativity with debates on resistance within the interstitial spaces of the UK asylum regime. It focuses on the ‘in-between’, interstitial spaces where asylum-seekers are held waiting under suspended rules of freedom for a decision on their entry to the political life of the state. Sarah’s project draws upon the creative practices of asylum-seekers in three interstitial spaces: Immigration Removal Centres, the Tyneside Community and the refugee camp as the spatial manifestations of this vulnerability. She works with the charities Music in Detention, Crossings and the Good Chance Calais to investigate what happens in creative art spaces in the asylum regime and what they might be able to tell us about resistance. She holds an MA. in Research Methods and a BA Human Geography (Durham University).

You can find Sarah on Twitter here: @Sarah_hughes90 or at:

Olivia Mason
LIVOlivia is in the third year of her PhD . Her research focuses on intersections between tourism and the everyday in Palestine. Exploring how Palestinians can speak and share their narratives in a tourist industry which frequently silences them. Palestine provides a context in which tourism’s focus on politics or religion erases everyday understandings of Palestine – Palestine becomes perceived only as a place of conflict or a storied bible land. Her research explores Palestinian tourist practices which promote a relationship with the everyday; particularly sport tourism, home stays, olive picking, and cooking classes. Showing how these practices can offer alternative geopolitical understandings of Palestine. She has just started her year of fieldwork in Palestine, and is currently focusing on learning Arabic.

Olivia blogs here: You can find her on Twitter here: @olivia_r_mason.

Andrew Telford
AndrewAndrew completed his PhD in 2017 and is now working as a lecturer at Exeter University. His research investigates the intersections of national and racial identities in US and EU climate security discourses. Climate security debates explore the potential security implications of climate change impacts, for example conflict over scarce resources, climate change induced-migration, or territorial loss from sea-level rise. Using discourse analysis and semi-structured interviews with NGO, think tank and government representatives, Andrew’s project looks at how particular populations – particularly Muslim and African migrant communities – are naturalised in climate security, and how images of American national identity are constructed in these debates.

Sam Slatcher
Sam SlatcherSam completed his PhD in 2018. His research explores the multiple and dynamic encounters that take place across ethnic and religious diversity in local inter-faith projects across northern England. The research focuses on projects that have been funded by the Near Neighbours – a partnership between the Church Urban Fund and the Department for Communities and Local Government – in Bradford, Dewsbury and Leeds. In particular, the research focuses on projects that utilise the potential of creative arts to bring people together to open up new ways of thinking about faith and living in diverse communities. Sam has recently completed his second year carrying out research in West Yorkshire through participating in a number of projects, leadership training and engaging in a project funded by the N8 Partnership (8 most research intensive northern universities) to explore the potential for coproduction research among early career researchers and community practitioners.

Sam blogs here: and you can find him on Twitter here.

Ingrid Medby
Ingrid MedbyIngrid completed her PhD in 2016 and is now a Lecturer in Political Geography at Oxford Brookes University. Ingrid’s research focused on the ways in which (national) identity features in political-territorial legitimisation processes in the Arctic – comparing how Norway, Iceland, and Canada are understood and articulated as “Arctic states”. This was done through interviews with state officials from each of the three countries, aiming to gain an understanding of how (Arctic) statehood is perceived from within the state administration itself and linked to notions of identity. As such, her research fitted into the field of Critical Political Geography, while also drawing on an interdisciplinary theoretical body of work on, for example, spatial identity and state theory. She holds an MSc. in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh, a BA in International Studies from RMIT University (Melbourne), and has publications in Polar Geography and Geography Compass.

You can find Ingrid on Twitter at: @IngridAgnete or at:

Hanna Ruszczyk
Hannah RuszczykHanna Ruszczyk completed her PhD in 2017 and is now a Postdoctoral researcher in the Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience (IHHR) at Durham University. She has spent most of her career living and working in countries that are rapidly changing and urbanising. Her international development work (ILO, UNDP, USAID) focusing on livelihoods has taken her to ten countries in which she has lived in several of them. The IHHR funded her PhD at Durham with a grant from an alumnus. For Hanna her PhD was a tremendous experience to explore and engage critically with a wide range of subjects including resilience, community, urbanization, urban, risk, power, natural hazards, linking research to practice, India and Nepal.

Johanne M. Bruun
Johanne M. Bruun is a PhD student of political geography focusing on the politics of Danish and US scientific endeavours in 1950s Greenland. Her research explores the relationships between technical science (including, but not limited to cartography), spatial legibility, and the production of territory.

Madhumita Dutta
Madhu completed her PhD in Labour geography and did her fieldwork in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu where she spent time doing ethnographic and participatory research work with workers in an electronics factory assembling mobile phones. She attempted to understand the arrangement of production and labour in a Special Economic Zone and how labour negotiates spaces of work-life.

Lara Bezzina
Lara Bezzina Lara Bezzina’s research looks at disabled people in development, taking the West African country of Burkina Faso as a case study. The study seeks to understand the lives of disabled people, including people with physical, sensorial and intellectual disabilities, in Burkina Faso; as well as to explore the functioning of grassroots and umbrella disabled people’s organisations, and the interventions that international development NGOs and local authorities carry out with disabled people and how this corresponds to actual needs. The research also seeks to explore ways in which the voice of disabled people can be heard, through research methods such as participatory diagramming and participatory video.

She blogs at:

Julia Heslop
Julia Heslop Julia is an artist and a writer and completed her PhD in 2017. Her research aims to translate knowledge across borders, mobilising methodologies and approaches of self-build house construction from Albania to the UK to examine whether participation in housing offers a progressive stance on the shaping of homes and the urban environment. Through a critical examination of self-build housing and upgrading processes in one informal community in Albania, knowledge will be translated from this settlement into a self-build housing model in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. In Newcastle Julia worked in collaboration with the homeless charity Crisis and their members to create a self-build housing model called Protohome that was temporarily sited in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle from May-August 2016.

Julia has a BA in Fine Art: Painting and Printmaking from The Glasgow School of Art and a Master of Fine Art from Newcastle University.

She blogs at: and her artwork can be viewed at: