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School of Geography

2021 Year in Review

As we look back on what has been another year filled with change and challenge, we're extremely proud of our School of Geography community who have achieved so much. Take a look below at our year in review:


Awards, accolades and appointments

Queen Mary University of London has been ranked as the country’s top university for social mobility, according to a new report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in partnership with the Sutton Trust and Department for Education. Our Geography department was ranked 1st for social mobility out of all Geography departments too with 4.7% mobility rate with a sector average of 0.5%!

Professor Kathryn Yusoff was awarded the Brunn Creativity Award by the American Association of Geographers (AAG). The AAG Stanley Brunn Award for Creativity in Geography is given annually to an individual geographer or team of geographers that has demonstrated originality, creativity and significant intellectual breakthroughs in geography.

In 2021, we also climbed 47 places in the 2021 People & Planet University League table. The table ranked Queen Mary University of London 36th out of 154 UK universities, ranking against sustainability and ethics criteria, raking our environmental auditing and management systems, education for sustainable development, and policy and strategy with scores of 100%, 99% and 90% respectively.

Professor Alastair Owens, Head of the School of Geography and Professor of Historical Geography, was appointed Vice President of the Geographical Association in 2021. Professor Owens will work with others to help shape an organisation that supports geography teachers (across primary, secondary, sixth form and university education settings).

Alumni success

Our alumni have received a range of awards for their hard work in their dissertations this year too:

  • BA Human Geography graduate, Fatmagul, was awarded the 'highly commended' prize in the Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG) Undergraduate Dissertation Prize competition.
  • Camille, a BA Geography graduate was awarded the RGS-IBG Race, Culture & Equality Working Group 2020/2021 dissertation prize.
  • Nicholas, who studied BA Human Geography, was also awarded 2nd Prize for the RGRG Undergraduate Dissertation Prize for his paper on “Angling in the British countryside: an investigation of class, gender and rurality in the changing spaces and societies of British leisure angling.”

Launching our new BA Global Development

In 2021, we launched our new BA in Global Development which will welcome its first cohort of students in September 2022. The programme takes a contemporary approach to development studies and combines the academic expertise from four schools within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This is an innovative, interdisciplinary programme which examines the most pressing development challenges of our time – from health pandemics to social inequalities and climate change. Apply today to study BA Global Development.


Professor Kavita Datta and Dr Tim Brown, are part of a team of Queen Mary academics who have successfully secured funding for a major research project from the National Institute for Health Research. Professor Datta and Dr Brown will co-lead on the social science aspects of the project which is researching Multimorbidity in Children with HIV and Severe Acute Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Our researchers partnered with pioneering lowland rewilding site Knepp Wildland on a project that will help rewilding efforts up and down the country. The project – ‘A bird's-eye view of the Wildland: quantifying landscape change at a pioneering rewilding site’ was led by Dr Alex Henshaw and Dr Gemma Harvey in the School of Geography at Queen Mary in collaboration with ecologists and conservationists from the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, UK.

Researcher Dr Sydney Calkin has developed a new online resource in collaboration with the Abortion Support Network so that people across Europe can safely access abortion services when they are unable to in their own country.

Alongside our range of academic research, we've also had a number of new academic publications published in 2021:

Returning to the field

We were delighted to begin to return to conducting fieldwork in 2021, take a look at Dr James Bradley's research fieldwork in the Ny-Ålesund glaciers.


It has been a busy year, and the above is just a snapshot of what the School of Geography have been up to. We look forward to seeing what our community gets up to in 2022!



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