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School of Geography

Theodor Barry Born


PhD student

Room Number: Geography Building, Room 218


Research interests: housing, informality, law, bureaucracy, borders, precarity, materiality, ethnography

PhD working title: Renting at the margins

PhD research: My research focuses on the informalities and makeshifts of renting at the margins in London – densely populated shared housing, makeshift living structures, subletting, cash in hand arrangements, verbal contracts. The research takes a multi-sited ethnographic approach to understand the everyday economies and materialities of such arrangements, how and where these practices interact with the law and the state, and the socialities and solidarities that may exist or emerge in these precarious contexts, accounting for heterogeneous relations between tenants, landlords, and various intermediaries.


Conference papers

  • RGS-IBG 2018 – ‘Between welfarism and everyday bordering: containing ethical ambiguity in the multi-agency state’
  • MeCCSA-PGN 2017 – ‘Governing housing at the margins: borders, bureaucracies and housing infrastructure in London’

Funding awards

  • Economic and Social Research Council studentship


  • Research Methods for Geographers and Environmental Scientists (1st year undergraduate course) – practical workshop assistant
  • Reinventing Britain (1st year undergraduate course) – field trip assistant

Academic background

  • MRes Geography, Queen Mary University of London
  • MSc Middle East Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Oxford


  • Tinson, A., Ayrton, C., Barker, K., Barry Born, T., Long O., 2017. London’s Poverty Profile 2017. London: Trust for London.
  • Tinson, A., Ayrton, C., Barker, K., Barry Born, T., Aldridge, H., Kenway, P., 2016. Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2016. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.