Associate Professor
Geography
Telephone: (01792) 602612
Room: Academic Office - 212
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

I am an Associate Professor in Human Geography and the Geohumanities at Swansea University. My research focuses on the intersections between geography and the performing arts (especially theatre and dance), though like most geographers working in a creative field, my interests extend into other domains, including the visual and literary arts. 

I am one of the Reviews Editors for cultural geographies and in 2017 was awarded the Dillwyn Medal by the Learned Society of Wales for the Creative Arts and Humanities. I sit on the board of Papertrail Theatre Company in Cardiff and recently collaborated with Bridget Keehan on a soundscape entitled ‘Our Place’ through a Leverhulme Trust Artist-in-Residence grant. My main research focuses on dance in contemporary Cambodia regarding the legacies of war and genocide.  I am researching the first Cambodian dance tour to the West after the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979) and Vietnamese occupation (1979-1989) which was in 1990 to the UK. This research is being funded through a British Academy-Leverhulme Trust small grant. I was also recently awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship (which I will begin in February 2019 for just over a year) to conduct more research and complete a monograph on dance in post-conflict Cambodia. Elswhere, I am working on an interdisciplinary project funded by the Welsh Crucible on the re-construction of marine environments through literary and scientific sources, and collaborating with Dr Steph Januchowski-Hartley in Biosciences on poetry as an ‘art-sci method.’ I blog about my work here.

I specialise in researching British East Asian, Asian American and South East Asian theatres – but at present am especially concerned with the relationship between theatre/dance, war and geopolitics. In previous research I documented how refugee Lao Americans created theatre that dealt with the consequences of an often forgotten/denied episode of the Vietnam War: the ‘Secret War’ against Laos. More recently, I have been developing this work in relation to the Cambodian civil war and the resulting Khmer Rouge genocide. Here, my research is concerned with how national identities are recovered, reworked and embodied in performance, how war and traumatic events can be represented on stage – particularly in ways that attend to their affective ambiguity, and the politics surrounding this process. This is important in contexts where the neoliberal state is open to transnational forces that promote creative experimentation, resulting in performances that potentially conflict with the agendas and ideologies of authoritarian regimes. I am also beginning to investigate how we might view artists as geopolitical agents – from Cold War defectors, to cultural intermediaries that facilitate inter-state and inter-ideological relations.

Areas of Expertise

  • The geographies of the performing arts
  • Space, place and performance
  • The GeoHumanities
  • Identity and multiculturalism
  • Transnational cultures
  • Politics and performance

Publications

  1. Advancing the geographies of the performing arts. Progress in Human Geography, 030913251769205
  2. Material migrations of performance. Area
  3. British Chinese Performance in Minor Transnational Perspective. In Thorpe A and Yeh D (Ed.), Contesting British Chinese Cultures. Palgrave Macmillan.
  4. Box on ‘Post-conflict tensions in contemporary Cambodian dance.’. In Harriet Hawkins (Ed.), Creativity (Key Ideas in Geography). (pp. 290-293). Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
  5. Performing Asian Transnationalisms: Theatre, identity and the geographies of performance. New York: Routledge.

See more...

Teaching

  • GEG217 Creative Geographies

    This module explores different understandings or `modes¿ of creativity and their relationship to geographical concepts and debates. The module addresses the politics surrounding different valuations of creativity ¿ from a contributor to the UK economy, to an artistic practice with an intrinsic value, to a capacity for combining activities and ideas that we all demonstrate on an everyday basis. In so doing it considers how creativity may reproduce and redefine social spaces. The module is takes up different geographies through which we might understand creativity and creative practice. These `sites¿ often work in tandem with one another, but may also create tensions as different values and ideas come into conflict.

  • GEG259 Data Analysis

    This module examines the importance of statistical data analysis in quantitative research in both Human and Physical Geography. A range of statistical methods with wide application are discussed, using theoretical explanation and practical examples to illustrate their use. Particular importance is given to placing these techniques within the broader context of Geographical research. Powerful, industry-standard statistical analysis software is used in the computer practical sessions. In addition to statistics, the module also introduces students to the presentation and analysis of data using Geographical Information Systems (GIS), giving an overview of this topic, illustrated with practical examples.

  • GEG263A Conducting Social Research - Methods

    The module covers research project design and data collection methods. Students are introduced to the availability of different data sources and to the predominant research methods in human geography and the social sciences, including questionnaire surveys, secondary data sources, focus groups, interviews, participant observation and ethnography, and visual and textual methodologies.

  • GEG331 Dissertation Report: Geography

    The dissertation is an original, substantive and independent research project in an aspect of Geography. It is typically based on approximately 20 - 25 days of primary research and several weeks of analysis and write-up. The end result must be less than 10,000 words of text. The dissertation offers you the chance to follow your personal interests and to demonstrate your capabilities as a Geographer. During the course of your dissertation you will be supported by a student-led discussion group and a staff supervisor, and you will also provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This support and supervision is delivered through the 'Dissertation Support' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG332 Dissertation Support: Geography

    This module provides structured, student-led peer-group support and academic staff group supervision for students undertaking the 30-credit 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module. This support and supervision is assessed through the submission of a PowerPoint Poster in TB1 and the submission in TB2 of an individually composed, critical and reflective log of the 5 dissertation peer-group meetings and the 4 group supervisory meetings (with a verified record of attendance at meetings). Working within a supervised Student Peer Group, you will also have the opportunity to provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This module complements the 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG333 Geographical Research Frontiers

    This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence as a Geographer by undertaking a critical analysis of a wide variety of literature-based sources in order to develop a cogent, substantial, and persuasive argument. While the Dissertation in Geography normally focuses on the design and execution of an evidenced-based research project that assesses the capacity of students to undertake effective data analysis and interpretation, the purpose of this module is to assess the extent to which students are capable of engaging with the academic literature at the frontier of a particular part of Geography. Students select from a wide range of research frontiers in Human and Physical Geography that have been identified by the academic staff within the Department. Given that this module emphasizes student-centred learning, none of the frontiers will have been covered in other modules, although in many cases modules will have taken students up to some of these frontiers. However, to orientate students and provide them with suitable points of departure and way-stations, there will be a brief introduction to each frontier and a short list of pivotal references disseminated via Blackboard. (Note: The topic selected by you must not overlap with the subject of your Dissertation. If there is any doubt about potential overlap, this must be discussed with your Dissertation Support Group supervisor and agreed in writing.)

  • GEGM15 Qualitative Research Methods

    This module provides an introduction to the main data-sources and analysis methods used in qualitative research. In addition to covering the key conceptual and epistemological issues associated with qualitative research design, the module provides an introduction to a range of qualitative techniques used in social science research including questionnaire design, interviewing, observational methods, visual methodologies and textual analysis. Issues associated with combining a mixture of qualitative methods are also considered. The strengths and limitations of various techniques are explored with particular emphasis on issues of reliability, validity and representativeness.

Supervision

  • Ethnic Groups and Multi-culturalism in Seoul and London «br /» (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David / Dave Clarke
  • Between Culture and Identity: An investigation of the multiple identities of Muslim women living in Swansea«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /»«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Keith Halfacree
  • Urban Aesthetics: Assembling Geographies of Arts-Practice (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David / Dave Clarke
  • Understanding Statelessness (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Angharad Closs Stephens
  • Product vs Process (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David Britton
  • From the margins to the mainstream: imagining socioecological futures in Wales (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David / Dave Clarke

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2012 Present Lecturer in Human Geography Swansea University
2009 2012 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow Royal Holloway University
2008 2009 ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geography Royal Holloway University
2004 2008 Ph.D. Geographies of Identity and Performance Royal Holloway University
2002 2003 MA Cultural Geography (Distinction) Royal Holloway University
1999 2002 BA Geography University of Cambridge
March 2018 Present Associate Professor in Human Geography and the Geohumanities Swansea University

Key Grants and Projects

  • Dance in Contemporary Cambodia: Nation, geopolitics, identity 2019 - 2020

    , £54,998

  • Geopolitics, Performance and the 1990 Cambodian National Dance Company Tour 2017 - 2018

    , £8,729

  • Year of the Sea: assessing changes in marine ecosystems through literature, arts and law 2017 - 2018

    , £9,862

  • Our Place 2017 - 2018

    , £13,776

  • ASEASUK-British Academy-ECAF Fellowship 'Geopolitics and Performance: The role of NGOs in contemporary Cambodian dance' 2014

    , £3,500

  • British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship ‘Geographies of Transnational Theatrical Creativity’ (PDF.2009/429) 2009 - 2012

    , £259, 953

  • Office for World Austronesian Studies, Taiwan. 2009

    , Approx. £1000

  • ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PTA 026-27-1668) 2008 - 2009

    , £90,887.45

  • ESRC Doctoral research studentship 2003 - 2006