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School of Geography

Laura Roberts


PhD student

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 2744
Room Number: Bancroft Building, Room 2.08


Research Interests: London's waterways, Alternative acts of dwelling, Itinerancy, Hierarchies of Belonging, Community, Networks of Care and Support, Land ownership, Territoriality, Housing Design and Mononormativity, Queer Theory.
PhD working title:
Staying afloat? Making home and creating place on London's canals and rivers
My project focuses on the lived experience of a group of people who live on boats on London's waterways without a permanent mooring, holding a low-cost Continuous Cruiser licence which means they have to move every two weeks to a new place, covering a minimum of 20 miles in one direction per year in order to meet the conditions of being on a 'bona fide journey' (CRT 2012). I am interested in the lived experience of this constantly shifting and shuffling so-called 'linear village' (Bowles, 2015). To date, Continuous Cruisers have largely be framed as a convivial, tight-knit community forced onto the waterways by the housing crisis (York 2016) with little attention to the formation of support and care that sustains this 'alterative' home-making or how this might sustain the waterways themselves.
My background is in the charity sector, most recently running a charity that aims to reduce social isolation in Islington. In 2015, I returned to academia part-time where I completed an MA in Social Anthropology at SOAS and wrote about gender and anarchy on the waterways. I have since completed my MRes year at Queen Mary with a dissertation titled: A Boat of One’s Own:  Queering Mononormativity Through Itinerant Live-Alone  Boat-Dwelling on the Waterways in London .
Academic background

  • BA Fine Art, Falmouth University. 2006-2009
  • MA Social Anthropology, SOAS. 2015-2017
  • MRes Cities and Culture, QMUL. 2018-2019


  • Professor Alastair Owens, School of Geography, QMUL
  • Professor Geraldine Wharton, School of Geography, QMUL




  • The International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF)
  • Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA)
  • European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)


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