• Room 02.033 - Geography Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:

--Historical/cultural geography
--Landscape history/archaeology
--History of cartography/archaeology of cartography
--Urban morphology/urban history/urban archaeology


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am an historical geographer with particular research expertise in interpreting historic landscapes, maps, and built environments.

My research covers the fields of: Historical/cultural geography; Landscape history/archaeology; Histories of cartography/archaeology of cartography; Urban morphology/urban history/urban archaeology; Heritage studies/heritage practice.

Recent career highlights for me include:

1. Receiving in 2018 from the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) the Cuthbert Peek Award "For advancing geographical knowledge through the application of contemporary methods, including GIS and mapping."

2. Leading as PI the £1.7m "Living Legacies 1914-18" public engagement centre (2014-2020) funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council and resulting in a REF2021 Impact Case Study for QUB Geography.

3. Chairing the Historic Towns Trust (2014-22) and successfully delivering 3 new British Historic Towns Atlas volumes as part of an international publications programme of European Historic Towns Atlases.

4. Winning bilateral funding from Irish Research Council and Arts and Humanities Research Council for a 3-year (2022-24) collaborative digital humanities research project on the bicentenary of the Ordnance Survey in Ireland.


Current projects include completing a new book, with the tentative title of 'Realms of Rule—Urban Bodies and Sovereign Space', exploring the idea of 'rule' as both power and measure, and how the two spatially connect through the formation of 'new towns' of the Middle Ages. 

Ongoing research and writing projects include combining GIS and prosopography in analysing historic maps of Britain and Ireland, and tracing global histories of field-surveying and geodetics through landscapes and maps.

Future research project plans include combining urban morphology and corpus linguistics to analyse the practices of urban planning across medieval Europe.

My books include:

• Urban Life in the Middle Ages: 1000-1450 (Palgrave, 2002) 
• City and Cosmos: The Medieval World in Urban Form (Reaktion, 2009)
• Mapping Medieval Geographies (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

I am Co-PI on an AHRC-IRC funded digital humanities international research project called 'OS200--Digitally Re-Mapping Ireland's Ordnance Survey Heritage', an all-island (UK-RoI) research collaboration between Queen's University Belfast, University of Limerick and the Royal Irish Academy. Information at go.qub.ac.uk/IrelandMapped

I also lead a NLHF-funded community heritage project called 'Mapping Monuments' with the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme/Causeway Coast & Glens Heritage Trust, see go.qub.ac.uk/MappingMonuments for details.

At Queen's, I am a lead convenor of the Heritage Hub--see heritagehub.ac.uk

In the School of Natural and Built Environment (SNBE) I am research cluster lead for 'PAST'--a cross-disciplinary forum in Geography, Archaeology & Paleoecology (GAP) for bringing like-minded researchers together with a shared interest in exploring Places, Archaeologies, Societies, and Time (=PAST), encompassing historical-cultural geography and historical-cultural archaeology especially. 



Awards and Distinctions

  • Institute Fellow, The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, QUB, 2016-
  • Institute Fellow, Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities (ICRH), QUB, 2013
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA, 2008
  • Leverhulme Research Fellowship, 2006-7
  • British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, 1996-1999 

Elected and appointed positions on external research bodies:

  • Chair, Historic Towns Trust/British Historic Towns Atlas, 2014-2022
  • Board Member, International Commission of the History of Towns (ICHT), 2011-
  • Chair, ‘Spatial Technologies and the Medieval City’ (STeMCity) research network, 2011-13
  • UK Co-representative, General Assembly of the International Commission of the History of Towns (ICHT), 2010-
  • Board member, British Historic Towns Atlas Committee, 2006-
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHS), elected 2005.
  • Council Officer (Treasurer), 2005-2008, International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF)
  • Conference officer, 1997-2000, Historical Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society.
  • Committee member, 1998-2000, 2003-2006, Medieval Settlement Research Group. 



Current Teaching:

GGY1011 Human Geography: Society, Power & Culture

GGY2002 Landscapes and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

GGY2064 Urban Landscapes

GGY3090 Maps and Mappings




Current Administrative Roles

School of NBE, 'PAST' Research Cluster Lead/Director

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 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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