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School of Geography

Applications invited for new major PhD programme with Leverhulme Trust


Queen Mary’s new PhD programme ‘Mobile People: Mobility as a way of life’ is supported by the Leverhulme Trust and is led by the School of Politics and International Relations.

Queen Mary University of London Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarships (QMUL-LTDS) is a research training programme that draws strength from both the interdisciplinary approaches of QMUL in social sciences and humanities and its extraordinary location in London’s East End as a historical hub of peoples, languages, and cultures from around the world. QMUL-LTDS projects will address the transformative effects of mobile people on the social and political institutions they inhabit and construct. How mobile people are creating new worlds, not solely as host versus guest, mobile versus immobile relations, but in ways which fundamentally challenge social and political institutions of citizenship, democracy, nationality and security is the innovative focus of this programme. 

As QMUL-LTDS is designed as an interdisciplinary programme, we encourage applicants to identify two potential supervisors from two different Schools (disciplines) including the School of Geography. An indicative list of potential supervisors participating in the programme is available via the following link: Supervisor and Expertise 2018 [PDF 50KB]

For details of potential supervisors and broad topics offered by the School of Geography, please see below:

  • Alison Blunt is Professor of Geography at QMUL. Her research interests include home, migration and the city (including Leverhulme Trust funded research on ‘Diaspora Cities: imagining Calcutta in London, Toronto and Jerusalem’ and current research with Casper Laing Ebbensgaard and Olivia Sheringham on urban dwelling and mobility in east London), mobility and home-making for refugees, particularly refugee children (funded by the QMUL CritiQues Fund), creative practice, migration and mobility (including the ‘Globe’ project with artist Janetka Platun, Olivia Sheringham and Caoimhe MacAvinchey), and mobility, migration, heritage and home (including collaborative work with the Geffrye Museum and Eastside Community Heritage on these themes). Alison is co-director of the Centre for Studies of Home (a partnership between QMUL and the Geffrye Museum of the Home) and has led a range of research and public engagement projects on these themes.
  • Kavita Datta is Professor in Development Geography and Director of the Centre for the Study of Migration. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the QMUL-LDS programme. With research interests in transnational migration, finance, gender and the digital, she is keen to supervise projects exploring migrants’ financial practices relating to remittances, debt, philanthropy and inheritances; the shift to mobile money and digital payment systems and the financialisation and professionalization of key intermediaries including Money Transfer Agencies. She is also exploring the intersections between masculinities, displacement and the performing arts. Kavita’s current projects are funded by the Leverhulme Tust, ESRC and AHRC. 
  • William Monteith is Lecturer of Human Geography and has interest in displacement economies. According to UNHCR, the number of forcibly displaced persons in the world is the highest it has been since World War II. Will’s interest is in the livelihood activities pursued by displaced populations in urban areas, and their relationship with host states and societies. He would be interested in supervising projects at the nexus of migration and work, including but not limited to issues of displacement and (urban) livelihoods.
  • Alastair Owens is Professor of Historical Geography at QMUL. He is interested in the historical geographies of mobility in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and thus in projects that might move us beyond the ‘presentist’ focus of much current mobilities scholarship. He would be interested in supervising projects that explore everyday past mobilities at a range of different geographical and temporal scales, using novel and innovative approaches. In previous work he has examined the everyday mobilities of poor and marginal groups in the nineteenth century, the material culture of mobile lives, and experiences of those whose childhoods have been marked by transience, uncertainty and frequent movement. He would be interested in supervising projects that develop or extend these and related themes.
  • Simon Reid-Henry is Reader in Geography and his research covers geographies of development, security, humanitarianism, global health and biomedical science. He has written about the geopolitics of the EU border and, more recently, on issues of citizenship and welfare in liberal democratic polities. Many of these interests come together under the rubric of ‘vital geographies’. He would be interested in supervising projects that are open to examining the historical and political dynamics of mobile personhood, particularly where these are focused in one of his core areas of research, and where the emphasis is on developing innovative empirical and theoretical approaches. Recent work has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Research Council of Norway. 

To apply, please visit the ‘How to apply’ page, and also consult this page for specific requirements for the QMUL-LTDS scheme. Deadline for applications is 5pm on 9 March 2018. We may accept applications after this date. Only candidates who have Home/EU residency status will be considered.

Please note: if you are applying for the QMUL-LTDS Studentships, you will need to specifically address the following questions in your research proposal:

  • outline the research questions in reference to QMUL-LTDS research framework, and theories, methods, and data relevant to the research question. Applicants are required to identify a thematic area that their proposed research roughly corresponds and an institutional dimension to which it speaks;
  • indicate two potential supervisors from two different Schools (disciplines) including the School of Geography. Applicants are encouraged to contact their potential supervisors in advance of making a formal application.

More information: 

  • When you join Queen Mary, you become part of a thriving community of 1,800 PhD students. You will have access to the new Graduate Centre, numerous sources of funding, and researcher development training too, all supported by our dedicated Doctoral College team.
  • Our home in east London makes Queen Mary an ideal place to conduct your research, surrounded by some of the world’s best museums, libraries, institutes, and archives.
  • For more information, visit our research pages



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