Personal profile

Personal profile

I am a historical geographer with research interests in geography’s disciplinary and discursive histories, in book history, and in the history of science. My work has examined, among other topics, the history of polar science and exploration; the origins of environmentalist thought in geography; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel writing; the communication of scientific knowledge in text, image, and speech; the popular and scholarly reception of scientific knowledge; and the circulation and diffusion of ideas. I welcome enquiries from potential postgraduate students or postdoctoral researchers interested in undertaking research in these areas.

I joined the Department of Geography in September 2010. Before that I was Teaching Fellow (2009–10) in the Institute of Geography at the University of Edinburgh and Research Associate (2008–10) in the Institute of Geography and Centre for the History of the Book at the University of Edinburgh.

Research interests

My current research focuses on the eighteenth-century Scottish travel writer William Macintosh, author of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa (1782). I am currently preparing a monograph on this project for McGill-Queen’s University Press. In 2023 I was also Co-Investigaor, with the Science Museum, of an AHRC-funded Research Network, “Science through the keyhole: revealing scientific practices through workspaces.” You can find out more about my work by visiting my website, reading my blog, or following me on Bluesky.

Educational background

  • 2012. Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Teaching and Learning (Distinction), Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • 2008. Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Geography, University of Edinburgh.
  • 2003. Master of Science by Research in Historical Geography (Distinction), University of Edinburgh.
  • 2002. Bachelor of Science with Honours in Geography (First Class), University of Edinburgh.

Other work

Since joining Royal Holloway, I have supervised the following PhD students:

2022–date Michelle Payne AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award (via Science Museums and Archives Consortium): “Reinterpreting Marianne North: life writing, botanical travel, and the legacies of empire.”

2021–date Bethany Williamson (co-supervised with Professor Veronica della Dora) AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award (via technē DTP) with the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers): “Translating place: orthography and the problem of place names at the Royal Geographical Society, 1830–1919.”

2017–2021 Edward Armston-Sheret (co-supervised with Professor Klaus Dodds) AHRC-funded +3 studentship (via TECHNE DTP): “Exploring bodies: recentring the body in histories of British exploration, c. 1850–1913.”

2014–2019 Benjamin Newman (co-supervised with Professor Klaus Dodds) AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers): “Geography in print: cultures of periodical publishing at the Royal Geographical Society, 1830–1900.”

2013–2018 Hannah Awcock (co-supervised with Professor David Gilbert) ESRC-funded 1+3 studentship (via SEDTC): “Contesting the capital: space, place, and protest in London, 1780–2010.”

2013–2018 Noeme Santana (co-supervised with Professor Felix Driver) AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Science Museum: “Engineering and the corporate photographic archive: a study of the albums of S. Pearson & Son, 1880–1930.”

2011–2016 Elizabeth Haines (co-supervised with Dr Alasdair Pinkerton) AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with the Science Museum: “A colonial cartographic economy: the contested value of mapping in Northern Rhodesia, 1915–1955.”

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or