Inspiring People - Sarah Hall
Exploring how finance shapes our world
Sarah Hall is Professor of Economic Geography in the School of Geography, Senior Fellow at the think tank the UK in a Changing Europe and an editor of leading human geography journal Geoforum.
Global finance is in a period of unprecedented change with developments including Brexit, Eurozone stability and the changing balance of power between the USA and China.
How would you explain your research? What inspired you to pursue this area?
My research focuses on the geographies of finance. I am particularly interested in explaining how changes in global finance impact our everyday lives. Changes like the growing importance of China and the role of Brexit in London’s future are central in shaping economic development and globalisation.
How will your research affect the average person?
We are all tied into the international financial system through our bank accounts, credit cards and household finances. I think it is really important that geographical research shows how these local everyday financial practices are shaped by global events, like the growing international power of Chinese banks globally or the ongoing discussions about the nature of Brexit.
How does your research influence your teaching?
I enjoy sharing my research findings at all levels and learn a lot through discussing research ideas with students. For example, I use my work on London’s financial district to teach about global cities and have recently included my new research on Chinese finance in our final-year module, Geographies of Money and Finance.
What's been the greatest moment of your career so far?
Seeing my research and teaching come together in the publication of my first book, Global Finance, has been really exciting. I’m looking forward to using the book to support my teaching to final-year geography undergraduates! I’m currently working on providing information to policy makers about the impacts of Brexit on the financial services industry and am enjoying the chance to share my research findings with a wider audience.
What's the biggest challenge in your field?
Global finance is in a period of unprecedented change with developments including Brexit, Eurozone stability and the changing balance of power between the USA and China. Understanding the implications of these changes for everyday economic life is really urgent. Geographers have a crucial part of play in this through documenting the uneven impacts, revealing how where you live, what you do and your social networks all make a difference to how you will be affected by these global events.
What advice would you give to someone considering a degree in geography?
Go for it! Take advantage of all the opportunities you get, particularly in terms of travelling to experience geographical change around the world first-hand. Geography is such a diverse subject that you get the unique opportunity to study a number of the world’s most pressing problems in one degree: global climate change, political instability, economic transformation – to me, that is really exciting.