Gina Porter has been based at Durham University since 1986, first in the Geography Department, since 2001 in Anthropology. She has undertaken field research in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and India but considers herself primarily an Africanist. (She taught for 10 years in Nigerian universities). Her research combines ethnographic approaches with a strong interest in spatial perspectives.
Her current research focuses primarily on mobility, transport and the use of mobile phones in sub-Saharan Africa. She is leading an ESRC/DFID-funded study: 'The impact of mobile phones on young people's lives and life chances in sub-Saharan Africa: a three-country study to inform policy and practice'. Other recent research has been mostly related to mobility issues [gender and transport, older people's mobility and access to services, Intermediate Means of Transport, off-road communities and issues of physical access, social networks of refugee youth] and to marketing and trade [market institutions, conflict in market place trade, gender issues in rural trade, contract farming, local agricultural labour markets]. Uneven power relationships and associated issues of exclusion are linking themes through her work, much of which has a strong gender component. Associated with this is a strong focus on developing innovative methodologies for effective field research (co-investigation with children and with older people, action research, mobile methods, networked approaches).
Topics on which she has supervised British and overseas postgraduates include: gender and embodied mobility in Ghana, gendering of sustainability in Cuban organic agriculture, transport impacts on agricultural production in Ghana, microcredit and transport in Ghana, road impacts on women's health in Nepal, masculinities and microfinance in Colombia, trust and farmer-trader relations in Ghana, decentralisation and poverty alleviation in Ghana, gender and fuelwood knowledges in Kenya, sanitation issues in Nigeria, empowerment in Honduras.
She advised on transport services in the first phase of the DFID-funded Africa Community Access Programme [AFCAP] which supports transport research and knowledge sharing in a number of African countries.