Department of Geography

Featured News

Social media’s effect on young to be examined

two young boys looking at smart phones

How social media helps or harms children’s mental health is to be examined by leading experts in social geography and mental health from the Universities of Portsmouth and Sheffield.

Professor Liz Twigg, in the Department of Geography, has been awarded funding from the charity MQ to carry out the first long-term study of thousands of 10-15 year olds.

Funding was awarded against a sharp rise in mental illness among young people in the UK.

Read more on the University of Portsmouth news site

Student dissertation published

We're delighted that Catherine Hudson, a BSc Geography graduate (2016) and MRes Geography graduate (2017), has now had her undergraduate dissertation research published in an academic journal. Catherine won the Colin Warner Memorial Prize for her dissertation, which is now published in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management:

Hudson, C and Baily, B. (2018) Delivering sustainable coasts: Monitoring the long-term stability of a breached barrier beach, Porlock Bay, Somerset, United Kingdom. Ocean & Coastal Management, Vol. 152 February 2018, Pages 88–99.

This is fantastic achievement, demonstrating Catherine's commitment to excellent research and scholarship.

Catherine Hudson

Assessing the impact of Hurricane Maria

A team from the University, including Martin Schaefer from Geography, is using drone footage to survey the geomorphological changes caused by Hurricane Maria on Dominica. The project, Impacts of Hurricane Maria in Dominica: Geomorphological Change and Infrastructure Damage Baseline Surveys, With Verification of Mapping From Satellite Imagery, has been funded by an urgency grant of £50,822 from the Natural Environment Research Council.

A team led by SEES, involving Geography PhD student Paul Weber is currently in Dominica, where Paul and Toby Meredith from the School of Creative Technologies will fly detailed surveys using drones to survey changes and ground truth satellite data. Martin Schaefer will lead the processing of this drone data to produce 3D maps and aerial photo maps of the survey areas.

Hurricane Maria hit the island of Dominica in September, damaging 95% of the island's buildings. 

two men flying a drone

Department links with China

Dr Nick Pepin will be visiting China for three months from April to July this year, where he will be working at the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research in Beijing. Dr Pepin has been appointed an Honorary Professor at the Institute, and will be working on elevation-dependent warming. During the last month of his visit he hopes to visit Lhasa and Tibet/Qinghai and investigate future research possibilities on the plateau.

Dr Pepin successfully secured funding of 90000 Chinese yuan (about £10,000) for the trip, called the President's International Fellowship Initiative run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 

Image: Forbidden City from Jingshan hill, Beijing 


Forbidden City from Jingshan hill, Beijing

Gender and fieldwork

Rob Inkpen, working in collaboration with Michelle Hales (SEES), Jim Smith (SEES) and Joy Watts (Biology) have been awarded a Faculty of Science Learning and Teaching Research Award of £1,800 for the project 'Gender and fieldwork: Exploring a gendered landscape'. The research will use student focus groups and diaries to improve our understanding of how gender issues potentially impact upon planning, practice and perception of fieldwork. A presentation of the results will be made at the Higher Education Academy (HEA) Annual Conference.

gender and fieldwork

Renaturing cities - working with policymakers

A group of approximately 40 researchers from the UK and Brazil, including our own Dr Heather Rumble, joined policymakers in Goiânia on a workshop about the renaturalisation of cities. Heather was a member of the workshop’s organising committee and participated as a tutor. The workshop not only enabled researchers to share expertise and build new knowledge, but also to work with policymakers to find ways to make positive transformations to their cities. Researchers came from a range of areas, such as urban ecology, town planning, biology, architecture, landscape planning and geography to propose multidisciplinary solutions to the problems of how to balance urbanisation with nature.

The workshop was part of the project Re-Naturing Cities: Theories, Strategies and Methodologies, led by Dr Fabiano Lemes, from the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth. The project was funded by the British Council and Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás (FAPEG), under the Newton Fund Researcher Links Programme.

Heather Rumble

New Lecturer in GIS appointed

We're delighted to welcome Dr Faith Taylor to the Department as our new Lecturer in Geographical Information Science (GIS). Faith's research converges around the themes of natural hazards, geocomputational techniques and the Global South. Faith brings a wealth of experience in the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS-GIS) and open, freely available data for advancing our understanding of risk in Global South contexts. Her expertise will be put to good use in the teaching of our MSc Geographical Information Systems programme.  

Faith Taylor

Understanding management of migrants

Dr Diana Martin recently undertook fieldwork in Italy where she carried out interviews with local authorities, asylum seekers, NGOs, and civil society organisations assisting migrants. Data collected will help understand how current management operates and whether there is scope for improvement, taking into account the needs of asylum seekers and local communities. More broadly, Diana's research focuses on European countries' management of the most recent migration flows. In particular, she is interested in uncovering the relationship between institutional and informal spaces of refuge. 

Diana Martin

Uganda field trip

Eight final year Geography students on the unit Environment and Development travelled to Uganda with Drs Julia Brown and Diana Martin as part of a two week fieldtrip to learn about how groundwater is accessed and managed for sustainability in rural areas. The students undertook research - interviews and focus groups - with community members and had a go at collecting water from a shallow well (locally called a shadoof) which has enhanced their learning, research skills and confidence by working as a team in remote and challenging areas. 

Uganda 2017

Students debate racism in football

Following a series of sessions on the geographies of race, students recreated the FA boardroom to debate the issue of racism in football. Students worked in four groups - black footballers, non-black footballers, FA board members and geographers (working as independent mediators) - to approach the issue from a range of perspectives. The workshop, led by Dr Tara Woodyer, was a great opportunity to apply theory to a real world issue, with students demonstrating high level powers of analysis.  

racism in football

Contours Magazine Issue 3

Issue 3 of our Contours Magazine is now available.

The newsletter of the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Geography. Whether you are a current, future or former student, or you are simply interested in Geography, we extend a very warm welcome to you.

In this issue we look to how researchers in the department have shed light on better incorporating nature into our cities, contributed to a major art exhibition on the American Civil War, and are studying the effects of climate change on Norway’s glaciers. We also celebrate the achievements of our students!

Contours Issue 3

Contours magazine