Personal profile

Personal profile


Katherine Brickell is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL), UK. At RHUL she is Research Lead for the Dept of Geography. Katherine is also editor of the journal Gender, Place and Culture and is former Chair of the RGS-IBG Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group. Her feminist-oriented research cross-cuts social, political, development, urban and legal geography to understand experiences of precarious home and working lives. She has (co)-written over 50 journal articles in geography (e.g. Transactions of the Institute of British GeographersProgress in Human GeographyAntipode, and Annals of the American Association of Geographers), international development (The Journal of Development StudiesProgress in Development Studies), women’s studies (Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society), and anthropology (Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology). In recognition of research excellence, Katherine was conferred the Gill Memorial Award by the Royal Geographical Society (2014) and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2016).

Research themes

Home and home unmaking

Katherine has a longstanding interest in the domestic sphere and home unmaking. Her research and writing aims to reaffirm and reprioritise the home as a political entity and process which is foundational to the concerns of human geography. Katherine’s monograph Home SOS: Gender, Violence and Survival in Crisis Ordinary Cambodia brings together 15 years of research on domestic violence and forced eviction into twin view to pursue this. Since 2017 she has undertaken new collaborative work in London and Dublin (with Mel Nowicki and Ella Harris) to understand residents’ experiences of living in modular housing newly-built by local authorities turning to prefabrication as a (contested) means of addressing housing shortages for homeless families in London and Dublin. She has co-written two reports on this research, Temporary Homes, Permanent Progress? Resident Experiences of PLACE/Ladywell (2019) and Home at Last? Life in Dublin’s Rapid Build Housing (2018). 

Katherine has published multiple co-edited collections which speak to these connected interests in home unmaking, urban displacement, and (im)mobilities. These include Translocal Geographies (2011 with Ayona Datta), Geographies of Forced Eviction (2017 with Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia and Alex Vasudevan), and The Handbook of Displacement (2020 with her departmental colleagues). 

Labour precarity

Katherine has led two research projects in Cambodia funded by the ESRC-DFID Joint Fund for Poverty Alleviation Research. Blood Bricks (2016-2019) studied the negative impacts of climate change and other political economy factors in compelling the out-migration of rural families to live and work in brick kilns. She is currently Principal Investigator of two UKRI GCRF projects: the first which is taking a gendered lens to explore the relationship between climate resilience, credit-taking, and nutrition in Cambodia and South India; and the second, the ReFashion study which has adopted a longitudinal methodology to understand the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic for 200 Cambodian garment workers.

Feminist legal geographies

Katherine led a 3 year study on Cambodia's first-ever domestic violence law (2012-2015). Building from this, Katherine developed new thinking on 'feminist legal geographies' and 'feminist geolegality' (with Dana Cuomo), key outputs being a Progress in Human Geography (2019) paper and special issue of Environment and Planning A (2019). Having acted as an expert witness on the basis of her expertise in Cambodia, she also initiated a collaboration with Alex Jeffrey and Fiona McConnell to study how geographical research is being used to shape law and legal proceedings. A special issue of Area on 'Practising Legal Geography' was published in 2021.




Postdoctoral fellowship mentoring

2021: Vincent Guermond (Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship) 'Remittances in the Covid-19 era: Work, social reproduction and digitalisation'.

2019: Jordana Ramalho (ESRC SeNSS Postdoctoral Fellowship) ‘Unequal geographies of risk in the city: “Everyday” embodiments and strategies of resistance in Metro Cebu, the Philippines’.

2018: Laurie Parsons (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship) ‘Climate mobilities: Linking climate vulnerability and cultural change in translocal Cambodia’.

2017: Sabina Lawreniuk (Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship) ‘Moral geographies of work and activism in Cambodian garment supply chains’.

2016: Janet Bowstead (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship) ‘Women on the move: The journeyscapes of domestic violence’.

Doctoral supervision

2022 ongoing: Rebecca Hartley (EPSRC-funded) 'Feminist cyber security in the smart home'. With Dr Jorge Blasco (Information Security Group).

2021 ongoing: Jasmine Joanes (ESRC-funded) 'Seeing red: Alter-geopolitics of menstrual management and activism in the United Kingdom'. With Dr Rachael Squire (Dept Geography)

2021 ongoing: Evie Gilbert (RHUL-funded) 'Speculative futures of work for Cambodia's female garment workers: Educational inequalities and women's economic empowerment in industry 4.0'. With Dr Laurie Parsons (Dept Geography)

 2018 ongoing: Valentine Gavard (RHUL-funded) ‘Elusive victims? Anti-trafficking and the politics of (in)visibility in Vietnam and the UK’.

2018 ongoing: Alice Reynolds (ESRC-funded collaborative award with Dublin City Council) ‘The Commodification, Marketisation and Neoliberalisation of Student Housing: A Case Study of Purpose Built Accommodation amidst Dublin’s Housing Crisis’.

2018 ongoing: Laura Shipp (EPSRC-funded). ‘Menstruapps: Analysing Security and Privacy Issues within Menstrual Cycle and Fertility Tracking Apps’. With Dr Jorge Blasco (Information Security Group).

2017 ongoing: Will Jamieson (AHRC-funded) ‘Granular Geographies of Endless Growth: Cambodian Sand, Singaporean Territory, and the Fictions of Sovereignty’. With Prof Phil Crang (Dept of Geography).

2014-2019: Naomi Graham (ESRC-funded) ‘Sheltering from Violence: Women’s Experiences of Safe Houses in Cambodia’.

2013-2017: Melanie Nowicki (RHUL Crossland Award) ‘Bringing Home the Housing Crisis: Domicide and Precarity in Inner London during the Coalition Era (2010-2015)’.

2012-2016: Mary Cobbett (ESRC collaborative award with World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts)‘Empowering Girls to Claim Rights? Non-Formal Education and the “Stop the Violence” Campaign in Kenya’.

2011-2016: Laura Prazeres (SSHRC, Canada) ‘Learning Beyond Borders: International Student Mobility to the Global South’.

2011-2016: Tianfeng Liu (self-funded) ‘Transnational Academic Mobility: The Experience of Chinese and British Academic Migrants in a Sino-UK Joint Venture University’. With Prof Katie Willis (Dept of Geography).



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 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Geography, PhD, Gender Relations in the Khmer 'Home': Post-Conflict Perspectives, London School of Economics and Political Science

Award Date: 1 Aug 2007

External positions

Editor, Gender, Place and Culture

Jan 2017 → …

Editorial Board Member, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies

2016 → …

Chair, RGS-IBG Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group

2016 → …

Peer Review College, Economic & Social Res Coun ESRC

2012 → …


  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam
  • Laos
  • Gender
  • Household
  • Home
  • Domestic Violence
  • Employment
  • Housework
  • Participatory Video
  • Photography
  • Housing
  • Law
  • Legal
  • Modern slavery
  • United Kingdom
  • Feminist
  • Human Geography

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