I have an eclectic range of research and teaching interests covering aspects of territory and identity, sport and place, rural change and development. I have published widely on these topics and have delivered papers at various international conferences. I have been involved in a number of research and consultancy projects for a range of external organisations. At Worcester, I am course leader for BA Human Geography, Research Degrees Programme Leader for the School of Science and the Environment and a member of the university's Research Degrees Board.
My research interests fall into three broad and intersecting strands.
Territory and national identity
I am interested in how geographic space can be used to assert, to maintain or to resist forms of power, the ways in which ideologies and social practices are manifested in space, and the geographical outcomes of territorial strategies. More specifically, I am interested in the associations between place and national identity. The ways in which generic landscapes or specific places are seen to be central to national narratives is of particular interest. These issues form the core material of my book Territories. The Claiming of Space and related articles and book chapters. I have also made contributions on these topics to major international reference works.
Sport, place and identity
Ideas of identity, place and belonging are reflected through elements of popular culture such as sport which provides a useful prism for the exploration of these ideas at various spatial scales.I am exploring some of the intersections, complexities and contradictions of people-place relations that this raises, in a context of increasing migration of sporting talent. A particular focus of research is on international sports people switching nationalities to compete for countries other than the one in which they were born or brought up. A forthcoming book, Transferring Allegiance: Football, Place and National Identity explores this topic.
Rural development and place promotion
I have explored various aspects of rural socio-economic development in Britain and Ireland. I am particularly interested in the problematic nature of community and the issues surrounding the use of partnership working in rural areas. My research has also examined the commodification of place, the uses (and abuses) of heritage and the dual nature of heritage as both cultural product and economic resource. I have been involved in various research projects undertaken for a range of statutory bodies and voluntary organisations.