I am an urban geographer whose research conceptualises contemporary poverty and inequality in the UK using immersive ethnographic methods. Prior to joining Nottingham, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Homerton College, lectureships at Durham University and Queen Mary University of London, and teaching and research positions at Cambridge University. I also hold an Associate Fellowship at Homerton College.
I regularly tweet and write about my current research on my website. Recently, I co-convened (with Prof. Simon Reid-Henry) 'London Inequality Studies,' an interdisciplinary network of scholars working on issues of in/equality - and 'Social Power & Mental Health' (with Dr. Ed Kiely), a partnership fostering better dialogue between researchers and those with expertise by experience.
I teach on the following modules:
GEOG1018 Globalisation: Economy, Space and Power
GEOG2016 Economic Geography
GEOG2004/GEOG2012 Techniques in Human Geography
GEOG2030 Research Tutorial
GEOG4084 Project in Environmental Leadership and Management
I am currently working in four broad areas:
We live in times and spaces of intense inequalities. My current research project, 'Unequal Lives,' seeks to understand inequality as an embodied experience that intimately shapes the politics of everyday life. Whilst statistical renderings of inequality abound, we are yet to consider unequal lives from a grounded, qualitative perspective. Through immersive and extended ethnographic methods, this project interrogates the politics of difference in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London - one of the most unequal places in the country. The project experiments with new ways of mapping, narrating and understanding inequalities-for instance, a recent article in The Sociological Review examines how heightened inequalities operate in and through our love stories. A range of future outputs, both academic and for a popular audience, are in preparation.
Contesting Poverty in the Age of Austerity
Previous research has focused on the people and places marginalised from the political, cultural and economic mainstream of Britain by exploring what happens to those left marooned by the 'spatial fixes' of contemporary neoliberal capitalism. My work seeks to construct a 'people's geography of poverty', engaging with the vernacular forms of resistance, agency and organisation in Britain's most precarious communities. This draws on fifteen months of immersive ethnographic fieldwork in the Valleys of south Wales, where deindustrialisation, austerity and a narrative of a 'Broken Britain' have shattered lives, communities and places. I am at present preparing this work as a future monograph.
The Politics of Hunger in Food Bank Britain
A strand of research that emerged from (and extended beyond) this project is concerned with the politics of food banking in the UK. I worked as both a volunteer and researcher at a food bank in the Valleys of south Wales for over a year, collecting the testimonies of staff, donors, users and local partners in order to theorise their everyday geographical experiences. Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between food insecurity and austerity, the role of food banks as institutions tasked with regulating and surveilling hungry populations, and the emotional and affective geographies that unfold in food bank spaces. Academic publications in this area are forthcoming, many of which can be accessed below.
People's Geography, Feminist Methodologies and Radical Praxis
Given the empirical and theoretical thrust of my research, I am particularly concerned with thinking through the role of the discipline of geography in making space for equality. In surveying previous work on feminist, radical and people's geographies, I am interested in the ways in which the production of geographical knowledge often ignores and conceals the vernacular language, experiences and testimonies of marginalised people and places. In theorising the notion of a people's geography as methodology, I am interested in thinking about the unique role geographers can play not simply in studying the world but also intervening in it.
STRONG, SAMUEL, 2022. Facing hunger, framing food banks, imaging austerity Social & Cultural Geography. 23(9), 1333-1350