Sofie Narbed


  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Research interests

I am a cultural geographer and dance researcher who explores dance as a practice of relationality and world-making. My research combines practice-based work with schoalrship from cultural geography, critical dance studies, and Latin American Studies to highlight how embodied experience matters in the ways we understand, create, and question the worlds in which we move. I am particularly interested in dance’s place in the making and unmaking of ‘race’, the politics of intergenerational legacy in dance training, and in feminist and decolonial moves for change.

My ESRC-funded doctoral thesis, ‘Cultural Geographies of Dance: Creativity, Heritage and Embodied Performance in Ecuador’, draws on practice-based research in contemporary dance and Afro-descendant dance in Quito to explore the situated politics of dancers’ creative corporeal work and its critical re/making of identity and contemporaneity. I am currently expanding this research to consider the feminist politics of contemporary dance-making in Quito and its historical connections with other regional dance centres. 

At Royal Holloway I have led courses across cultural and social geography, global futures, and creative and collaborative research methods in both classroom and fieldwork settings. I have also been privileged to collaborate on a range of interdisciplinary projects that forge conversation between artistic, academic, and community perspectives through practice. This includes co-leading the Techne-funded GeoHumanities summer school Listening: field, voice, body (RHUL and University of the Arts London) which developed site-based listening methods through sonic and somatic work, and the Tate Exchange project Moving with: border crossings, creativity, and performance (RHUL Geography, Dance, Music) which engaged diverse publics in diasporic performance practices at the Tate Modern. I have also explored movement as a practice of rewilding and ecological relation through collaborations with Place, People, Time: Wild Ways (Prof Dee Heddon and Prof Misha Myers) and Wild Performatives: Experiments in Rewilding (Prof Jamie Lorimer and Dr David Overend), and as contributor and Advisory Board member for the outdoor audio-movement project Moving On by London-based dance collective Exit Map.

My work features in leading academic publications including cultural geographies, Social and Cultural Geography, and Conversations across the Field of Dance Studies, and the edited collection Creative Methods for Human Geographers. I serve as member of the AHRC Peer Review College and of the Latin American Geographies Research Group (RGS-IBG), an international network committed to deepening relationships between Anglophone and Latin American geography.

Alongside my writing, movement constitutes the central ground for my research and thinking. My own practice is grounded in Contact Improvisation and somatic approaches to space and site. I have developed these explorations over more than fifteen years of practice and am currently deepening them further through training as a Somatic Movement Educator with the School of Body-Mind Centering® in Spain and the UK.

Research interests

Geographies of dance and performance

GeoHumanities and interdisciplinary research

Post-/Decolonial thinking and creative practice 

Intercultural and transnational politics of performance

Creativity, identity, heritage

Practice-based and collaborative ethnographies

Somatic practice and ecological relation


I teach and supervise projects at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. My 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


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