Professor Martin Phillips

Professor of Human GeographyDr Martin Phillips

Bennett Building F59

Tel: 0116 252 3886



Personal details


I have research interests in four broad areas of geography:

  • rural social and cultural geography
  • historical geography
  • society/environment relations
  • philosophy in geography

Much of my recent work has focused on the material and symbolic constructions of rural space, with particular regard to the social relations and identities of class and gender.

I am also conducting work on

  • museum geographies
  • landscape change and decision making
  • filmic geographies
  • adaptations to climate change

Completed projects

I have undertaken many research projects on contemporary rural cultures and societies including:

  • a three-year ESRC Research Fellowship on 'The processes of rural gentrification'
  • studies of the class composition of rural communities in Berkshire, Cotswolds, Gower, Leicestershire and Warwickshire
  • studies of 'Gentrifying rural natures' and 'Adaptations to Rural Communities through Living with Climate Change' funded as part of the UK Research Council's Rural Economy and Land-Use Programme
  • an AHRC funded study of cultural representations of rurality in television drama programmes

I have also been involved in a series of studies of the social inclusion and museums visits (in collaboration with the University of Leicester's Research Centre for Museum and Galleries and a ESRC CASE studentship and business seminar); a Darwin Initiative funded project on 'Community based biodiversity conservation films in Kenya and Tanzania'; 'Rural hybrid energy enterprise systems', a project funded as part of EPSRC and DST India's 'Bridging the urban rural divide' (BURD) programme, and a series of projects funded by the AHRC's Connected Communities Programme.

Current research

I am currently undertaking research on the following projects:

  • International rural gentrification (iRGENT)
  • a project on comparative ruralism in Japan and the UK, funded by the AHRC and ESRC under their UK-Japan Connections programme
  • landscape-decision making (I am part of the Programme Co-ordination Team of the UKRI's Strategic Priorities Fund programme on 'Landscape Decisions: Toward a new framework for using land assets'.


Research areas:

  • Gentrification
  • Social class
  • Migration
  • Representations of rurality
  • Rural sustainability
  • Rural landscape transformation
  • Affective geographies of nature and community
  • Affordance and environmental perception
  • Representations of nature
  • Climate change
  • Energy geographies
  • Gentrifying nature
  • Community, Emotional and affective geographies
  • Heritage
  • Spatialised identities
  • Museum Geographies
  • Mobilities

I am interested in supervising students on the following topics:

  • Rural and urban gentrification
  • Transformations in the rural working classes
  • Changing cultural representations of the countryside
  • More-than-representational geographies of nature
  • Carbonised countrysides and low carbon transitions
  • Representations of past, present and future natures
  • Symbolic and affective constructions of community
  • Austerity and the restructuring of spaces of community
  • Touristic geographies of stillness and the accelerated sublime

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

You can also find out more information about Geography PhDs including more research areas, how to apply, funding and entry requirements online.


  • Robert Geary-Griffin: 'Farmers markets' (with Dr Katie Bennett)
  • Niamh McHugh Rural gentrification and the real-estate complex’
  • Amy Van Allen Heritage management protocols for locally-based projects with international impact: a framework for indigenous community empowerment


  • Jennifer Agg 'Rural social change in Leicestershire and Warwickshire',  PhD awarded 2000;
  • Mohammed Al-Dakhil: The Spatial Pattern of the Tourism Industry in the Al-Qassim area, Saudi Arabia', PhD awarded 2007
  • Hanadi Al-Harbi: 'New-build gentrification in Medina', PhD awarded 2018
  • Matthew Badcock: 'A democratizing nation? Alternative electoral geographies of nineteenth century Britain', PhD awarded 2009
  • Hannah Brooking: 'Engineering Systems Requirements for Locally Sustainable Communities: case study of Local Food Communities' PhD awarded 2018
  • Victoria Brown:'Impact of coastal change as a result of climate change on the sustainability and adaptation of coastal communities in the UK', PhD awarded 2016
  • Rosie Cox 'Paid domestic labour in London'; PhD awarded 1998
  • Rob Fish 'Media images of rurality', PhD awarded 2000
  • Ghada Kamar 'Luxor city as an open air museum', (with Dr Claire Jarvis) PhD awarded 2014
  • Katherine Muir 'Greening economies: the role of the local state'; PhD awarded 1998
  • Kate Moore: 'Tugen Trails: cultural changes, wildlife conservation and local livelihoods in the Rift Valley of Kenya' (With Dr Sue Page)
  • Oliver Mould: 'Cultural globalization and Sydney as a world city', PhD awarded 2008
  • Sarah Smith: 'Youth culture and new urban places' (with Dr Peter Kraftl), PhD awarded 2013
  • Craig Wheway: 'Market town gentrification' (with Dr Katy Bennett), PhD awarded 2012
  • Anna Woodham: 'Museum Visits and Social Exclusion: The Geography of Schools Visits to Museums', PhD awarded 2009

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Contact Details

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Bennett Building
University Road
University of Leicester

T: 0116 252 3933

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