Roles

I hold a number of external roles serving the discipline (hopefully!) helping in developing and sharing geographical work. I’ve also held (and continue to hold) a variety of internal administrative roles as a geographer, researcher, and educator. These are documented below:

Editorial Roles

Disseminating academic work is a central tool of knowledge sharing and of making known exciting and important developments in particular empirical fields and in ways of thinking. I remember writing my first article and the supportive experience I had navigating the world of academic publishing. I try to offer the same in the various editorial roles I have, promoting the publishing of critical geographical work:

Political Geography is the flagship journal of this sub-discipline and advances knowledge in all aspects of the geographical and spatial dimensions of politics and the political. The journal brings together leading contributions in the field and promotes interdisciplinary debates in international relations, political science, and other related fields. We encourage contributions drawn from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives, covering all scales of inquiry, and from scholars in all parts of the world. Examples include, but are not limited to, research into:

• critical engagement of the theory and practice of geopolitics;
• geographies of sovereignty and the state;
• peace and conflict studies;
• geographies of policy, institutions, and elections;
• feminist, queer, and postcolonial engagements with the political;
• politics of spatiality, networks, and scale;
• intersections of political economy and political geography;
• territoriality, mobility, and identity within and across borders;
• political ecology, the politics of the environment, and post-human politics.

We encourage the submission of full-length, innovative high-quality papers (11,000 words max), in addition to shorter, responsive, and topical editorials and interventions, as well as book review essays and forums. You can access more information about the journal and how to submit to us, here.

In 2018, together with Routledge Editor Faye Leerink, we launched a new book series focused on ‘Planetary Spaces’. In a world of uncertainty, flux and transformation, the ‘planetary’ is becoming an ever-important framework for making sense of socio-cultural, economic, political and environmental change. As it becomes increasingly challenging to draw neat lines around economic crisis, environmental degradation, the reach of the urban, and geopolitical fall-out, the planetary provides a means of understanding the intersecting role of ‘worldly’, ‘earthly’ and ‘more-than-earthly’ matter and processes in relation to human and more-than-human life.

For the series, we invite proposals for research monographs, edited collections and where fitting, textbooks. We invite books based on rigorous empirical research and in-depth case studies, as well as novel and innovative theoretical developments on the theme. Possible topics include:

  • Socio-cultural, economic and/or political entanglements with earthly environments, from mountains, to deserts, to caves, to forests; non-earthly environments, from seas and oceans, to air, to outer space; and connections between these;
  • Spatial studies of the classic elements – earth, air, wind, fire – and human life;
  • Spatial studies of base elements and compounds – carbon, gold, hydrogen, etc. – and human life;
  • Planetary and extra-planetary urbanisms;
  • Planetary configurations of disaster resilience and relief;
  • Planetary politics and energy crises;
  • Earthly toxicities and contaminations;
  • Climate change and weather extremes;
  • Chemical and biological geographies;
  • Studies of microbial life – on earth and beyond.

You can access more information about the series and how to pitch an idea to us, here.

Since 2019 I have been a Editorial Board member for this superb journal which publishes theoretically consequential empirical research that makes a strong intellectual contribution to critical human geography and its allied fields. The journal confronts topical issues relating to social/cultural problems and issues in geography and fosters scholarly debate about them.

Since 2016 have been a Editorial Board member for this open access journal dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of our ‘world of islands’. ISJ encourages cross-disciplinarity for the sake of providing more comprehensive and holistic assessments of the conditions and issues impacting on islands and island life.

Examining Roles

Helping the geographic community by offering supportive external review – of PhD candidates, to taught academic programmes – is another of my professional roles. Examining, for me at least, is a learning process where the role is not to ‘test’ or critique but to have open dialogue, share ideas and best practices, and offer assistance in a collegiate way. I have held various examining roles in different academic contexts:

  • External Examiner of Taught Undergraduate Programmes:
    • From 2016-2020 acted as External Examiner of the BSc Geography degree at the University of Reading, offering insight into teaching delivery, assessment, innovation in learning, and ensuring crucial benchmarks are met.
  • External Examiner of Taught Postgraduate Programmes:
    • From 2019 I have acted as External Examiner of the MA Geopolitics, Territory and Security degree at Kings College London , engaging with this bespoke programme in terms of how it is assessed, taught and the academic protocols and procedures which underpin its delivery.
  • External Examiner for PhDs:
    • I have examined a variety of PhDs (in Lancaster, London, Belfast, to name a few) focused on marine and maritime geographies. Reading PhD work is an absolute joy in terms of engaging with the most exciting new cutting-edge work that is being conducted!

Internal Administrative Roles

Most academic jobs also involve administration – from teaching admin, to research management, to central university leadership roles. They might not be why we became academics – and we definitely need to take care in how we work within such roles – but they are a staple of much academic life. These are some of my roles (and what I learned from them):

At the University of Liverpool I managed departmental recruitment as Admissions Tutor (2017 – 2020). The post, I have to say, felt like a full-time job on its own sometimes, involving organisation and coordination of Open Days and Applicant Discovery Days (ADDs); management of staff across the department in such activities; Open Day and ADD talks; confirmation of entry results and clearing; managing admissions queries and daily email traffic; reporting back on admissions projections at School and University level, and developing Innovations in new approaches to bolstering recruitment. All of this was tricky in a neoliberalised university setting. I am proud, though, of the job I did on admissions. Whilst there can be an emphasis on student numbers, I think – I hope – I approached admissions, with my colleagues, in a way that always had a prospective student’s best interests at heart. I would never say ‘come to this university’ – but ‘what is your criteria for university and what place might be best for you?’. The best part of the role has been seeing students I have met on a first Open Day, graduate successfully from a programme!

Before I was an Admission Tutor I was Programme Director of MA Masters Degree in Contemporary Human Geographies (2016-2017). This was a strategic teaching role involving academic management of the degree, acting as a point of contact for students; dissemination of policy and protocol to colleagues; liaising with External Examiners at mid-term and final exam boards and ensuring academic integrity and protocols were followed. This built from my experience as Programme Coordinatory for the BA Geography degree schemes (Arts) (2013-2015) at Aberystwyth University. Similar to  the role at Liverpool I was responsible for management of the Human Geography teaching team; academic management of the L700 degree and (9) Joint Honours derivatives; allocation of staff workloads with the Head of Department and Director of Teaching and Learning; chairing Human Geography teaching team meetings; sharing university policy and protocol and, again, liaising with External Examiner at mid-term and final exam boards. My experience at Aberystwyth was my first in managing a team, in how to chair a meeting (badly, and then better, and then well!), in understanding the institutional and national context of teaching and benchmarks, and of juggling this large responsibility with an emerging research career. I learned a lot about how and what to prioritise (which I didn’t always get right, and still don’t) and how to see such roles as means to learn, rather than a burden.

Finally, in the past couple of years I have also acted as Deputy Chair of the Diversity and Equality Committee (DEC) at the University of Liverpool. This has been an important role to me personally, as a way of pushing towards ways and means of creating a fairer, more inclusive work place for all. I worked with the fantastic Professor Kate Parr on successfully obtaining our Silver Athena SWAN award.The award is a national charter recognising commitment to women’s career development in science, engineering and technology. It works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education. More recently, I have been working with Dr James Lea in promoting equality in funding for LGBTQ+ researchers. More soon on this…