Professor Clare Madge

Emeritus Professor of Human GeographyDr Clare Madge

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I was a lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester from 1992 to 2019. I have now retired owing to ill-health.


Postcolonial geographies
I have had a long-standing interest in critical development studies, which in recent years has revolved around postcolonial geographies. This intellectual interest in the methodological and conceptual issues raised in the thinking about postcolonial geographical spaces has been in dialogue with Parvati Raghuram (Open University) and Pat Noxolo (University of  Birmingham). This includes examining the relationship between geography and postcolonial studies (Noxolo et al. 2008; Raghuram et al. 2014) and between responsibility and care in a postcolonial world (Raghuram et al. 2009; Noxolo et al. 2012), exploring the possibility of a postcolonial method (Raghuram and Madge, 2006; Eshun and Madge 2012; 2016) and a postcolonial analysis of international students (Madge et al. 2009; Madge et al. 2015). My last ESRC-Newton funded project was entitled: 'Facilitating equitable access and quality education for development: South African International Distance Education' Education (Oct 2016-March 2019). It explored South Africa as a vital site of global distant education (see See Madge et al. 2019. This intellectual field is supported through the Department’s 'Everyday (geo)political lives' research theme.

Creative geographies/methodologies
Creative geographies is a rapidly growing field of research in geography. However, geographers have been researching geographies of creativity and employing creative methodologies in various guises for some time, as the geography discipline has an enduring engagement with the humanities/art world, suggesting a creative (re)turn rather than a creative turn (Hawkins, 2012). I am currently interested in exploring a strand of creative geographical work in which the geographer is a creative geoartist, enacting or creating geographically-orientated aesthetic works themselves. It is to this strand of work that I am currently making a contribution through work exploring the intersection between poetry and postcolonial methodology (Eshun and Madge 2012; Eshun and Madge, 2016), poetry and affective geopolitics (Madge 2014), creative practice and intimacy (Madge, 2017) and autobiographical photography and creative cathartic methodologies (Madge 2016; 2017; 2018). Each of these pieces grapples with the emotions and politics evoked in using creative methodologies and forms a key component of the Department's new 'Critical and Creative' Research group.

Digital geographies
One key feature of my research profile is my aim to be responsive to contemporary geographical changes and challenges. Thus in the mid 1990s I became increasingly interested in the impacts that the internet was starting to have on British society. From these interests a further research strand has developed- that of digital geographies, with a specific focus on everyday online communities.  Here I have explored the changing socio-cultural impacts of the internet on different cyberspaces and examined the internet as a methodological space for research. The Cyberparents project (with Henrietta O'Connor) was undertaken at the early stages of internet development and it focused on the impact that the Internet had on restructuring social relations and altering parenting practices in the new millennium. In exploring the reiterative relationships between ‘virtual’ and `real’ geographical spaces, we argued for the co-constitution of these different space (See Madge and O'Connor 2005; 2006; O'Connor and Madge, 2004). A second project, Facebook and the University Student Experience was one of the earliest published geographical works exploring new education spaces associated with Web2.0 technologies. This work, in collaboration with Jane Wellens (University of Nottingham) and Tristram Hooley (University of Derby), explored how undergraduate students used online social networks for support and socialisation at university and to explore ways in which it was used to support their learning (Madge et al 2009). Both projects used an Online methodology, which was further investigated via the projects Exploring Online Research Methods in a Virtual Training Environment (ESRC Research Methods Phase 2) and TRI-ORM (Training Researchers in Online Research Methods ESRC RDI).  The projects aimed to enhance understanding of online research methods through the production and evaluation of a training portal targeted at the social science community (See Related publications include Madge 2007; 2010; 2012; Hooley et al 2010; O'Connor et al 2008; Madge and O'Connor 2002; 2004; O'Connor and Madge 2002; 2003; 2004; 2012; 2016 ). New research directions are starting to explore a more distributed view of social media platforms and channels, as well as issues surrounding social media in the everyday lives of international students  (Madge et al. 2019). This intellectual field is supported through the Department’s research theme 'everyday (geo)political lives'.


Research areas for PhD supervision

Postcolonial, International student/study, Creative geographies, Creative methods- especially poetry and bricolage, Feminist health studies, West Africa

I am interested in supervising students on the following topics:

  • Aspects of international student mobility, including work focusing on international education from a postcolonial perspective, student mobility within, to and from Africa, and work examining the relationship of social media to international study
  • Creative geographies, particularly focusing on aesthetic intimacy, affective geopolitics and creative methods circulating to/from/within Africa
  • Embodied and emotional geographies of health, focusing in particular on geographies of cancer, including intimate geopolitics of the body and everyday survival

Enquiries: If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via

Find out more information about Geography PhDs including more research areas, how to apply, funding and entry requirements.


Dominic Obeng 'Transnational identities and the use of mobile technologies for networks of solidarity: A case study of the Ghanaian diaspora in Leicester'


  • James Booth ‘Internationalisation of British Higher Education and social media: Academic identities, transnational socialisation and engaged pedagogic practice’  2018
  • Asha Gangadharan  'Paradoxes of Agricultural Transformation: women's changing roles and identities in Kerala, India', 2009.
  • Gabriel Eshun  'Ecotourism Development in Ghana: A Postcolonial Study with Focus on Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary and Kakum Nation Park, Ghana', 2010
  • Roger Few 'Conservation, participation and power: community involvement in protected area planning in Belize', 2000.
  • Francis Gbedemah - 'Gender and domestic water resource management in the Southern Volta region of Ghana', 2010
  • Enjee Hariri  'Socio-economic determinants and health consequences of fertility patterns among Saudi women in their reproductive ages', MPhil, 2010 '
  • Lee Hewitson 'Following Elephants:Assembling Knowledge, Values and Conservation Spaces in Namibia's Zambezi Region' 2017
  • Kate Moore  'Tugen Trails: cultural changes, wildlife conservation and local livelihoods in the Rift Valley of Kenya', 2010
  • Hannah Smith 'The uncertain ad unstable body in kidney transfer' 2019

Most recent publications

Eshun G and Madge C (2021) Poetic methods in Von Benzon N, Holton M, Wilkinson C, Wilkinson S (eds) Creative Methods for Human Geographers. Sage. London. pp. 205-216.

Roos Breines, Clare Madge, Mwazvita Tapiwa Beatrice Dalu (2020) Social media among African students: recentring typologies of non-use Digital Geography and Society

Clare Madge, Markus Roos Breines, Mwazvita Tapiwa Beatrice Dalu, Ashley Gunter, Jenna Mittelmeier, Paul Prinsloo & Parvati Raghuram (2019) WhatsApp use among African international distance education (IDE) students: transferring, translating and transforming educational experiences, Learning, Media and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2019.1628048

MADGE C (2018) Creative geographies and living on from breast cancer: the enlivening potential of autobiographical bricolage for an aesthetics of precarity Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 43(2), 245-261.

MADGE C (2017) Creative intimacy: Using creative practice to express intimate worlds. In Donovan C and Moss P (eds) Researching Intimate Acts. Ashgate.pp. 73-85.

MADGE C (2016) Geography is everywhere. In Daniels P et al (eds, UK) An Introduction to Human Geography: Issues for the 21st Century. Pearson Education Ltd. p.4

MADGE C and ESHUN G (2016) Poetic world-writing in a pluriversal world: a provocation to the creative (re)turn in geography. Social and Cultural Geography 17, 6, 778-785.

MADGE C (2016) Living through, living with and living on: creative cathartic methodologies, cancerous spaces and a politics of compassion Social and Cultural Geography 17,2, 207-232.

O’CONNOR H and MADGE C (2016) Online interviewing. In Fielding N Lee R and Blank G (eds) The Sage Handbook of Online Research Methods. Sage. London. pp. 271-289.

JOHNSON J and MADGE C (2016) Empowering methodologies. In Hay I (ed) Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography. Oxford University Press. pp. 76-94.

MADGE C RAGHURAM P and NOXOLO P (2015) Conceptualising international education: from international student to international study. Progress in Human Geography 39, 6, 681-701.

MADGE C (2014) On the creative re(turn) to Geography: Poetry, politics and passion. Area, 46, 2, 178-185.

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