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School of Geography

Dr Jessica Jacobs, PhD


Research Fellow

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2777
Room Number: Geography Building, Room 103
Twitter: @@rebrandlevant


My work focuses on heritage and tourism in the Middle East. I am particularly interested in how heritage is visualized, remembered and enacted through the production of tourist space. My research methods and outputs use filmmaking, creative mapping and other community focused strategies that aim to engage a wider audience within the scope of academic research and knowledge production.

I am the founder of AAG Shorts, an annual film festival promoting films by geographers and films about geography. All films are now available online

I am also currently completing a teaching guide Film as a Research Method: A Practice-based Guide.

Research Projects

A Different Sense of Space: How Bedouins mapped the Sinai  British Academy Leverhulme 2014-2017
While there have been Bedouin tribes living in the Sinai peninsula since the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the 7th century (mostly between 13th and 17th centuries) it is often assumed that because Bedouin culture relies on oral transmission of its history, there are no written documents relating specifically to this long and rich history, other than traveller accounts. Now online, this project set out to map an important an under-researched series of documents housed in St. Katherine’s monastery in order to build up a historical geography of the Bedouin in the South Sinai and explore the impact of Bedouin spatial imaginations on boundary development in the South Sinai.

'Our Past, Our Future, All Together in Faynan’ AHRC 2019-21 Newton Prize Award Winner 2020
Faynan is an impoverished region of southern Jordan that is mostly populated by members of four different Bedouin tribes. It has a remarkable landscape of archaeology that has received more than 40 years of research, principally by UK, US and German research teams. The Department of Antiquities, supported by the AHRC has begun to develop a local museum with the joint aims of developing eco-tourism to generate income into the local community for sustainable development, and build community engagement with the museum for social cohesiveness and well-being. This project will build community engagement with the Faynan Museum and facilities for eco-tourism to support social cohesiveness, individual well-being and sustainable economic development in Faynan. The two year project is structured into six different sub-projects. I am mainly running the sub-project  ‘Local Voices’ with a Jordanian partner Dr Fatima Al-Nammari. I will be working with a team of artists who will be running a series of workshops with members of the tribal communities in Faynan. We will be devising, designing and manufacturing ‘community history/story maps’ using wool felt, and other local materials. These maps will be displayed in the museum alongside video and other material gathered during the research period.






Jacobs J (2020) Fabricating Herstory: Using embroidery to map tribal borders in South Sinai Journal of Arts and Communities 11 1-2, pp 109-129 (19)

Pratt, G with Jacobs, J (2018) ‘Film and Thinking Space’ In Doreen Massey: Critical Dialogues Columbia University Press, New York

Jacobs J (2018) ‘Bitter Coffee’ Journal of Video Ethnography Vol. 4 No. 1  

Jacobs J (2017) Co-operate not Speculate: A Report for the London Co-operative Housing Group

Jacobs, J (2016) Filmic Geographies: The Rise of Digital Film as a Research Method and Output Area 48: 4, 452-454

Jacobs, J (2016) Visualising the Visceral; Using film to research the ineffable AREA 48: 4, 480-487

Jacobs, J (2015) ‘Traditional Tourists and Modern Bedouin:Tourism and Development in the South Sinai’ Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (NVIC) Proceedings International Conference on the Sinai November 2015

Jacobs, J (2013) Listen with your eyes: towards a filmic geography Geography Compass 7: 10, 714-728

Jacobs, J (2011) ‘Visualising the visceral: Exploring the role of filmmaking in the (re)production of Intangible Heritage’ in Sharing Cultures Green Lines Institute Barcelos

Jacobs, J (2010) Sex, Tourism and the Postcolonial Encounter: Landscapes of Longing in Egypt Ashgate London & New York

Jacobs, J (2010) Re-branding the Levant: contested heritage and colonial modernities in Amman and DamascusJournal of Tourism and Cultural Change 8: 4, 316-326

Jacobs, J (2009) ‘Have sex will travel: romantic sex tourism and women negotiating modernity in the Sinai’ Gender, Place and Culture 16: 1, 43-61 Also in Spanish Los viajes y el sexo: ‘turismo sexual’ y mujeres negociando la modernidad en el Sinaí

Jacobs, J (2009) Damascus, in Encyclopedia of Urban Studies (Ed, Ray Hutchison) Sage London

Jacobs, J (2006) ‘Tourist places and negotiating modernity: European women and romance tourism in the Sinai’ in Travels in Paradox: Remapping Tourism Claudio Minca & Tim Oakes (eds) Rowman & Littlefield, New York and London

Other publications

Jacobs, J (2015) Sex and power on holiday come at a price for women The Conversation 29 May 2015

Jacobs, J (2015) Palmyra, Tadmor and a very different heritage Open Democracy 31 May 2015

Jacobs, J (2015) ‘On the Margins of Terror, Daesh and the new geographies of hate in the Sinai’ Open Democracy 13 February 2015

Jacobs, J (2011) Postcolonial Encounters Creative Practice Primer (Eds, Michael Gallagher & Jonathan Prior) Online

Jacobs, J (2010) 'Queens of the Desert and the Ethnomasquerade' in Go Down Moses: A book on the South Sinai (Ed, Ahmad Hosni) commissioned by the European Commission as part of the South Sinai Regional Development Programme (SSRDP)

Jacobs, J (1997, 1999 & 2003) The Sinai Desert, Suez Canal and Red Sea Coast, chapters in The Rough Guide to Egyptby Dan Richardson, Penguin, London & New York



Jacobs, J (2020) Consequences A not so simple story of housing development in North London (with Emily O’Mara and Vitor Hugo Costa)

Jacobs, J (2018) Railton Road 1982-2018 How one street tells the story of gentrification and race. (camera Emily O'Mara, Ciaran Reynolds, Editor Vitor Hugo Costa)

Jacobs J (2017) A short history of housing co-ops (13.06) Edited by Vitor Hugo Costa

Jacobs, J (2017) The Fisherman (03.30, Sheeza (08.06), The Origin Story (07.19), Guest Star (04.34), Tea by the Sea (05.18), Nuweiba Night (21.14) with Said El Khedr Edited by Vitor Hugo Costa (Interactive documentary)

Jacobs, J (2016) in conversation with Doreen Massey Significant Geographies; Reflections from a Paper Age(07.09). Edited by Vitor Hugo Costa.

Jacobs, J (2010) Visualising the Past: Rebranding the Present I, II, III & IV (10.02, 09.04, 02.21 & 12.36) with Zaher Al Saghir, Dalia Salem, Edited by Kieron Teather, Michael Ho, and Eduardo Vidal.

Jacobs, J (2007) Sinai Sun: Traditional Tourists and Modern Bedouin (34mins) with Alexa Firat, Hussein Abu Ahmed. Edited by Kieron Teather, Napoleon Stratogiannas

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