1 October 2014
Geography at Queen Mary University of London welcomes Professor Alison Blunt as its new Head of School.
Professor Blunt takes over the role for the next three years from Professor Miles Ogborn who led the School through important developments in its curriculum, research and resources. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Miles for all his hard work as head of school,” Professor Blunt said. “This is a really exciting time to be taking over. The Guardian League Table has placed us as the no.1 place to study geography and environmental studies in London, we’re opening newly refurbished laboratories, we’ve introduced a new curriculum for our first years and we’ve piloted a special project that saw our freshers exploring London on a field trip in their very first week of teaching.”
A leading expert in human geography, Professor Blunt joined Queen Mary School of Geography in 1999. She is the co-director for QMUL’s Centre for Studies of Home too – a joint research initiative with the Geffrye Museum of the Home. Her research spans geographies of home, empire, migration and diaspora and she supervises six PhD students in these areas in collaboration with the Geffrye, the V&A Museum of Childhood and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
“Our position as a university in east London has seen us at the very forefront of all the changes that have taken place since the Olympics were announced,” Professor Blunt said. “What makes us distinct as a School of Geography is the way in which we work not only with the local area and local people to demonstrate the application of our research and studies in both the community and the environment, but also at the global scale. Our teaching reflects this breadth of expertise, with our students not only working on projects in East London with Citizens UK, but also able to go on field courses to New Zealand, India, the United States and Ireland.”
What makes us distinct as a School of Geography is the way in which we work not only with the local area and local people to demonstrate the application of our research and studies in both the community and the environment, but also at the global scale…
Professor Blunt completed her MA and PhD at the University of British Columbia in Canada and it was living so far from home that inspired her early work on women and travel. “For me, studies in geography and environmental science are incredibly important because of the way our research investigates both the human and physical worlds. From the scientific processes that shape our landscapes to the human interaction with it, our research allows students to delve into these processes at both local and global scales,” she said. “That’s what makes geography and environmental science graduates so sought out by employers. They develop the analytical and team-work skills alongside a holistic world view that enables them to adapt and apply what they know in a whole variety of contexts from society to science, research to policy, education, finance, media and more.”