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 informal and quasi-legal renting practices in London – overcrowding, ‘rent to rent’ sublets, day tenants sharing mattresses with night tenants, and renting sheds or garages. The research aims to understand the economies and materialities of these renting arrangements, the socialities and solidarities that may exist or emerge in these contexts, and how and where these practices interact with the law and the state. Methodologically, the research takes an ethnographic approach, involving fieldwork with housing advice and support professionals, tenants, and activists.


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.