Martin Phillips

  • Tuesday 7 May 2019
  • 5.30pm-6.30pm
  • Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 1
  • Professor Phillips and Professor Gavin Brown will each present a half-hour lecture.

Hearths, Hobbits and Hipsters: critical and creative explorations in rural space

Human Geography over the last 20 years has witnessed a series of transformations, including the emergence of a wide range of critical geographies that seek to both understand and foster social change, and, more recently, a series of creative geographies focused on constructing meaningful worlds. In this lecture, I will explore the significance of these ideas within the research I have been conducting on rural areas of the past, present and future.

Whilst rural areas are often portrayed as unchanging places, this lecture explores dynamics of change from the 17th century through to the near feature. Much of this exploration will draw on research conducted in the countryside of Leicestershire and other parts of the UK, but will also draw on research conducted in other areas of the world, including Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the USA. The lecture will examine how rural spaces have been portrayed in the media before discussing the gentrification of rural space. Whilst often viewed as an essentially urban process, I will highlight the value of the concept to a critical rural studies, before detailing changes in the form and dynamics of rural gentrification.

The extent to which there has been a gentrification of rural nature will be considered, along with the challenges gentrification creates for a post-carbon rural future. Questions currently abound about the rural futures in UK, not least in relation to Brexit, and whilst futures are often made present in the present through calculations of probable/plausible futures, I will end this lecture by exploring the value of creative perfomances and ‘fabulations’ of alternative futures, and indeed pasts and presents.

Professor Martin Phillips

Martin Phillips - horizontal.jpg

Martin studied Geography at Bedford College, University of London for his BA and MA degrees, before undertaking a PhD in historical geography at the University of Exeter, under the supervision of Professor Roger Kain and Professor Gareth Shaw. He then became a Research Fellow at St. David’s College Lampeter, University of Wales, working with Professor Paul Cloke and Professor (now Sir) Nigel Thrift on a project examining middle class movement to rural areas. It was in this role that Martin became engaged with the concept of rural gentrification, which has formed a central element of his research ever since.

After his Research Fellowship had finished, Martin moved to become a Lecturer at Coventry University, before joining the University of Leicester, where he progressed from Lecturer, to Senior Lecture, Reader and now Professor in Human Geography. During this time, Martin had continued to conduct research on rural gentrification, alongside undertaking research on the imaginative geographies of rurality and nature, rural communities’ adaptations to climate change, rural energy geographies, museum and heritage geographies, more-than-human geographies, and geographies of landscape and community.

In conducting this research, Martin has been fortunate to have received funding from a range of sources, including the AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC and NERC. Much of Martin’s research has been conducted through interdisciplinary partnerships and through collaborations with community groups and non-academic organisations.

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