Introducing New Staff

Janet Bowstead British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow


I am currently (2016-2019) a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. My project is “Women on the move: the journeyscapes of domestic violence.” My research continues to explore domestic violence from the angle of ‘women on the move’ and introduces the concept of the possibility of a functional scale for these journeys – “journeyscapes” – whereby women and children travel as far as they need to escape the abuse, but are not forced further than necessary due to constraints of administrative boundaries or service provision.

The research builds on my distinctive approach of integrating individual and national scale data and analysis; and on my conceptualisation of women’s domestic violence journeys as a forced migration process within the UK.  It investigates the geography of the journeys at a range of scales – exploring the significance of space and place – and will hear from women themselves about how these journeys, though initially forced, might be part of a practical and potentially positive strategy for safety, autonomy and the remaking of home.  Conceptually and empirically, the research project therefore aims to develop a multi-scaled understanding of both the processes of women’s domestic violence journeys, and their implications.  It focuses on the regional scale – between local and national – which has yet to be explored; and it enables a much deeper conceptualisation of the journeys drawing on the experiences of women on the move and current scholarship on violence and on mobility.

Further details on the website:

Caroline Cornish: Research Fellow, Mobile Museum Project

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I’m Caroline Cornish and I’m a research fellow in the SCH research group.   I completed my PhD in the Department in 2013.  My thesis−Curating Science in an Age of Empire−was a historical geography of the former Museum of Economic Botany at Kew Gardens and it is the collections of that same institution which now form the basis of the postdoctoral project I’m engaged on as Senior Researcher, The Mobile Museum.

The Mobile Museum is a 3-year, AHRC-funded, collaborative research project between Royal Holloway and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  Our team of four began in January with the overarching aim of mapping the circulation of economic botany specimens between Kew and other institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Economic botany – or the study of plants useful to humans – was widely understood as a distinct field of knowledge in the period spanning 1850-1950, with dedicated museums established on a global scale, as well as galleries in civic and industrial museums.  As the dates suggest, the subject and its practices were very much embedded in the imperial projects of Britain and other European powers.  Economic botany was also a subject taught on school curricula in the UK and across the British Empire, and many specimens were redistributed from Kew to schools for object lessons and school museums.  In museums, economic botany collections, consisting both of plant specimens and objects made from them, have often been subsumed into wider collections of natural history or world cultures in the postcolonial era.  Their original context lost, many of them are now at best consigned to stores, and at worst vulnerable to disposal.

The history of museum collections is dominated by accounts of acquisitions; The Mobile Museum will instead focus on a less-studied aspect, dispersals. Over the next 3 years we will be gathering and analysing data from institutional archives worldwide to trace objects redistributed from Kew, discovering new meanings, connections and relationships.  Our material legacy will include a publicly-accessible database of our findings, a book, and an education project working with schools across Key Stages 1 and 2, to enable them to create school museums for the 21st century.

Sasha Engelmann: Lecturer in GeoHumanities


I explore the poetics and politics of atmosphere through extended collaborations with artists and other practitioners.  I see my work as participating in the elaboration of the GeoHumanities, especially around themes of art-science collaboration, transdisciplinarity, sympoietics and aesthetics.  In my dissertation project, I conducted site-based, ethnographic fieldwork at Studio Tomás Saraceno in Berlin that included collaborating with Saraceno and his team on making, writing, curating, teaching and leading artistic workshops in Germany, Austria, France, Bolivia, Turkey and the UK.  Together with Saraceno and other practitioners I am involved in the Aerocene project – an open source, citizen science-driven collaboration animated by fossil fuel-free experiments in atmospheric mobility, media and space.  In 2017 I became a licensed radio amateur and am working on a new project on sensing and sounding atmosphere through radio, music technology and arts of listening.

Sophie Narbed Teaching Fellow in Cultural Geography


I am a teaching fellow in cultural geography in the Geography Department. My research explores the geographies of dance and bodily practice, with a particular focus on Latin America. By approaching dance through intersecting concerns of the political, the historical, the institutional, and the corporeal, I seek to interweave its politics and its poetics, and to draw out the multiple geographies of its making. Through a critical postcolonial approach, I explore dance as a practice for the active making and remaking of multiple contemporaneities. In my research I engage with theories of the body, creativity, transnationalism, (post)coloniality, and contemporaneity.

I completed my PhD, entitled ‘The Cultural Geographies of Contemporary Dance in Quito, Ecuador’, in Royal Holloway’s Geography Department in 2016, supervised by Philip Crang and Katie Willis, and funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 1+3 studentship. An interdisciplinary project that united work from geography, critical dance studies, and (dance) anthropology, my thesis took the form of an in-depth ethnographic study of the contemporary dance scene in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. Working across independent and institutional practice, the thesis sought to explore different artists’ creative processes through the multiple geographical spaces of dance’s production in the city. In this, the thesis sought to rethink ‘the contemporary’ in dance practice from a postcolonial perspective, and interrogate the place of dance-making in the negotiation of Ecuador’s contemporary cultural and political moment.

My research has sought to bring about collaborative dialogues with dance artists in Ecuador and in the UK. I am also interested in experimental/performative approaches to writing as ways of exploring meaning in motion. My dance practice has seen me perform in Quito with Ecuadorian artist Wilson Pico and in London with numerous independent collectives. I am also an active member of London Contact Improvisation.

Cecilie Sachs Olsen: Lecturer and Teaching Fellow, Social & Cultural Geography

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I am a lecturer in cultural geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the co-founder of the urban performance collective, zURBS ( My work is practice-based and revolves around developing creative methods for urban research and exploring how artistic practice can be used as a framework to analyse and re-imagine urban space and politics. I completed my PhD in geography at Queen Mary, University of London, and previously undertook Urban Studies in Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid, and Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Copenhagen. I have been working as a research assistant at the Institute of Critical Theory at Zurich University of the Arts, as well as at the research project Urban Breeding Grounds at the Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, ETH Zurich.

Rachael Squire Lecturer in Human Geography


I am a Lecturer in Geography at Royal Holloway, where I am completing a PhD. I work on a critical geopolitics of undersea spaces, exploring the function of concepts like territory and terrain beyond terra, the interplay between the human body and extreme environments, and the role of the non-human in characterising territorial volumes. My work has been published in Area and Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.



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