Geographies of creative labour: the working lives and spaces of British travel bloggers

Nina Willment

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This thesis seeks to advance understanding of the wider cultural and economic politics of creative labour, through an in-depth understanding of the working lives and workspaces of British travel bloggers. In particular, the research explores the aesthetic, affective and entrepreneurial components of travel bloggers’ creative work, alongside how travel bloggers construct and understand both their careers and workspaces. The empirical fieldwork deploys a qualitative methodology, focused on nineteen travel bloggers, which uses semi-structured interviews, photo elicitation interviews and netnography data. The thesis research is positioned at the intersection of scholarship on creative labour, the blogging economy, and digital work, so aims to make a number of key interventions into each of these areas of scholarly study. In particular, the thesis makes three key analytical claims, which form the basis of the three empirical chapters. The first argues that travel blogging involves aesthetic work which occurs directly through the labour of self-fashioning. Here, the thesis explores and expands the concept of aesthetic labour, developing the idea of the travel blogger dispositif as the idealised embodiment of characteristics which the travel blogger seeks to attain. The second empirical chapter deals with ideas of affective connections between the blogger and others. In this chapter, the research understands travel blogging work as affective labour, unpacking how travel bloggers seek to create and sustain affective relationships with their ordinary followers, with other bloggers and with brands. The final empirical chapter is focused around the idea of entrepreneurial labour, teasing out the elements of versatility and uncertainty across the working lives of travel bloggers varying in career trajectory from hobbyists to professionals. The thesis concludes by demonstrating how it addresses the three principal research claims (namely, that travel blogging involves distinctive forms of aesthetic, affective and entrepreneurial labour). It also highlights the different ways in which the thesis makes us think spatially about the digital and real-world geographies of creative work.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Crang, Philip, Supervisor
  • Gilbert, David, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Jun 2022
Publication statusUnpublished - 2022


  • creative labour
  • digital labour
  • freelance
  • blogging
  • netnography
  • qualitative research
  • travel blogging
  • content creator
  • aesthetic labour
  • affective labour
  • entrepreneurial labour
  • geography
  • human geography
  • cultural geography
  • economic geography

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