Sofie Narbed


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Personal profile

Personal profile

Sofie Narbed is a London-based cultural geographer interested in the body as a site of relationality and world-making. In research that weaves geographical thinking with movement-based approaches, she explores how creative corporeal practice matters in how we experience self, place, and one another. Her work contributes to the geographies of creativity and creative methods, and to the growing discipline of the GeoHumanities, a field animated by practice-based collaborations between geography and the arts.

Between 2012 and 2014, Sofie conducted in-depth ethnographic fieldwork into the geographies of contemporary dance and traditional Afro-Ecuadorian dance practice in Quito, Ecuador. Based on extensive practice-led research in training and performance, the project considered how particular histories and politics of place were understood, negotiated, and challenged through dancers’ creative corporeal work and how this worked to critically reconfigure ideas of identity, heritage, and contemporaneity. Sofie has conducted fieldwork in Ecuador, Cuba, and the UK, and has a particular interest in the place of dance in intercultural and decolonial politics.  

Sofie’s recent work has involved interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues at University of the Arts London and dance collective Exit Map where she has been experimenting with site-based explorations at the intersection of somatic and audio/audio-visual work. In these investigations of body and site she is influenced by her practice of Contact Improvisation and the work of artists such as Kirstie Simson, Sofía Barriga, Carolyn Roy, Andrew Suseno, Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot, Laura Doehler, Simon Whitehead, and Andrea Scheel.  

Sofie currently holds a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship for her project Dancing in/between cities: bodily practice, creativity and intercultural encounters in Latin America. Forthcoming publications explore intercorporeality and creative collaboration through the geographies of encounter, and the politics of time and memory in contemporary dance training. A monograph based on her doctoral fieldwork into contemporary dance-making in Ecuador is in progress.

Research interests

•          Geographies of dance and performance

•          Transnational and intercultural practice

•          Creativity, identity and heritage

•          Place, space and somatic practice

•          Practice-based and collaborative ethnographies

•          Post-/Decoloniality and the contemporary


Sofie teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and supervises dissertations. Her recent teaching includes:

• GG5021 Advanced Methods for Global Futures. Situated within the MSc Global Futures programme, this course guides students through experimental, collaborative and hybrid methods in geographical research. It emphasises critical consideration of ethics and justice in research methods. Lead sessions on Performance as method and Performance, power, positionality.

• GG5013 Global Futures. Part of the MSc Global Futures programme, the course aims to equip students with in-depth theoretical and practical understanding of pressing global challenges. Session on Decolonial futures.

• GG3068 Creative Geographies: Economies, Spaces, Practices. Y3 course exploring the relationships between geography and creativity in theory and method.

• GG1011 Geographical Techniques: Qualitative Methods for Human Geographers. Y1 course. Introduces students to foundational practices of ethnographic research through local fieldwork.

• GG1032 Geographical Research and Field Training (Spain). Y1 field course. Co-taught field days on geographies of heritage, identity, and changing agricultural/tourist economies in rural Andalucía.

• GG2001 Geographical Research and Field Training (New York). Y2 field course. 'Bodies and the City': field days focused on theatre histories, street performance, and practice-based explorations of city streets and metro-ways with local artist.

• GG2003 Geographical Research and Field Training (Cyprus). Y2 field course. 'Performing Identities, Making Nations': field days exploring material and immaterial heritage through site and performance, including practice-based work with local artists.

• GG2061 Cultural Geographies and the Modern World. Y2 course. Co-taught with Prof. Veronica Della Dora and Dr Innes Keighren. Lectures on material geographies.

Education/Academic qualification

Cultural Geography, PhD, Royal Holloway, University of London


Award Date: 7 Oct 2016

Cultural Geography, MA, Distinction, Royal Holloway, University of London


Geography, BA (1.1), University of Nottingham



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