Professor Katherine Brickell

Personal profile

Katherine Brickell is a feminist geographer whose work aims to advance social, political, and development sub-fields of the discipline. She is journal editor of Gender, Place and Culture and former Chair of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (GFGRG). Katherine's scholarship to date has attracted recognition from the RGS-IBG and Leverhulme Trust in the form of the 2014 Gill Memorial award and 2016 Philip Leverhulme Prize (respectively). During her current Philip Leverhulme Prize (2017-2020) Katherine will complete her monograph Home SOS: Gender, Violence and Survival in Crisis Ordinary Cambodia and develop a body scholarship on feminist legal geographies. As principal investigator, she is currently undertaking her second ESRC-DFID funded study (2017-2019) on the relationship between modern slavery and climate change in Cambodian brick kilns ( 

Research interests

(1) Gendered Violence: My research looks to champion work on violence against women – a relatively unexplored area in geography. Most recently this has included editing an intervention series in Dialogues in Human Geography entitled ‘Geographical Frontiers of Gendered Violence’ (2016) and a cluster of (post)doctoral researchers. I also have experience of direct leadership of an international research team as PI of a (£197k) ESRC-Department for International Development grant (2012-2015). The research took a multi-stakeholder approach to the study of law as a leverage mechanism to address domestic violence in Cambodia, has attracted significant policy interest.

(2) Geographies of the Home/Household: My longstanding research commitment to the domestic sphere has illuminated the fluidity and non-linearity of the home/household brought about by rapid globalisation, the feminisation of paid employment, tourism, and the magnitude of rural-urban mobility in Southeast Asia. Through agenda-setting publication, I have become a leading interdisciplinary voice advancing the study of home as a space of insecurity and discordance. My innovative work on the ‘intimate geopolitics’ of forced eviction has also furthered conceptual understanding of the gendered connections that exist between the home, body, nation-state and geopolitical transformation of Southeast Asia. The co-edited book Geographies of Forced Eviction: Dispossession, Violence, Resistance (Palgrave 2017) develops my international reputation for adding nuance and substance to the critical geographies of home corpus. My work is increasingly located in the UK and Ireland via newly completed research with Dr.Melanie Nowicki and Dr.Ella Harris on residents' experiences of modular social housing in London and Dublin (respectively). This has been supported by Royal Holloway's Research Strategy Fund and Dublin City Council.

(3) Participatory Action Research: The third arm of my research portfolio concerns the creative use of visual methods in the field of participatory action research (PAR). I have harnessed participant directed photography, participatory video and drama in multiple projects with communities in Cambodia and Vietnam (including in my ESRC-DFID grant). The intensifying levels of interest shown by social scientists towards PAR has been driven mainly by a concern to build ordinary people’s capacity to analyse and transform their lives. My sustained publication record on participatory video (Area 2015; ACME 2015; Gender, Place and Culture 2014) is significant in this field as it critically questions the use and politics of these approaches in feminist-oriented research.

(4) Cambodia:  I have over 15 years of experience undertaking challenging research in Cambodia and have become an in-demand scholar for the examining of Cambodia-related PhDs. The intellectual leadership I have established on the country is evidenced in the invited editorship of The Handbook of Contemporary Cambodia (Routledge, 2017), a 50-scholar strong landmark work which provides the only systematic overview of present-day Cambodia. David Chandler, widely acknowledged as the major historian of Cambodia, describes it as a ‘path-breaking, invaluable, but often saddening book’.


Current postdoctoral mentoring

(2018-2020) Laurie Parsons (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow)

(2017-2019) Sabina Lawreniuk (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow) ''Migration as Distinction? Class, consumption and rural-urban migration in contemporary Cambodia'

Current doctoral supervision

Alice Reynolds (ESRC-funded collaborative award with Dublin City Council) [Co-supervisor]

Valentine Gavard (RHUL-funded) [Sole supervisor]

Will Jamieson (TECHNE-funded) [Co-supervisor]

Laura Shipp [Co-supervisor]

Naomi Graham (ESRC-funded) ‘Sheltering from Violence: Women’s Experiences of Safe Houses in Cambodia’. [Sole supervisor]

Yunting Qi [advisor]

Past doctoral supervision

Mel Nowicki (funded by RHUL Crossland Award) 'Squatting and the city: Criminal(ised) Geographies of Home and Resistance'. [Sole supervisor]

Mary Cobbett (funded by ESRC CASE with World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts) ‘Empowering Girls to Claim Rights? Non-Formal Education and the “Stop the Violence” Campaign in Kenya’. [Sole supervisor]

Laura Prazeres (funded by SSHRC, Canada) ‘Learning Beyond Borders: International Student Mobility to the Global South’. [Sole supervisor]

Tianfeng Liu. ‘Transnational Academic Mobility: The Experience of Chinese and British Academic Migrants in a Sino-UK Joint Venture University’. [Co-supervisor with Katie Willis]

Liu Chen (funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China) ‘Food, Home and Family-making in Contemporary Guangzhou’. [Advisor]

Yuko Misu ‘Japan's assistance for self-reliant development in rural Malawi: philosophy, field practice, and role of individual actors’ (Passed November 2015) [Advisor]

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