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Professor of Geography, University of Bristol

RON JOHNSTON joined the School in 1995, having previously worked in the Departments of Geography at Monash University (1964-1966) and the Universities of Canterbury (1967-1974) and Sheffield (1972-1992) and as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex (1992-1995).

Ron’s academic work has focused on political geography (especially electoral studies), urban geography - much of the work in those two fields involving innovative use of multivariate statistical methods - and the history of human geography.

He has honorary degrees from the University of Essex (DU, 1996), Monash University (LLD, 1999), the University of Sheffield (DLitt, 2002) and the University of Bath (DLItt, 2005). He has twice been honoured by the Royal Geographical Society for his research achievements (Murchison Award, 1985; Victoria Medal, 1990), and the Association of American Geographers (Research Honours, 1991; Lifetime Achievement Award, 2010); he received the Political Studies Association’s Political Communicator of the Year Award in 2011. In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and a Foundation Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences, and was awarded the Prix Vautrin Lud by the Festival Internationale de Géographie. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2011 for services to scholarship.

He was Secretary of the Institute of British Geographers between 1982 and 1985 and its President in 1991. He was a co-editor of two major journals – Progress in Human Geography and Environment and Planning A – between 1979 and 2006 (having previously edited the New Zealand Geographer, 1969-1974) and has edited the British Academy’s annual volume of Biographical Memoirs of Fellows since 2008.


  • 1995–present
    Professor of Geography, University of Bristol
  • 1992–1995
    Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex