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Part of the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED)

Space, Culture and Society (SCaS)

Maps and Society


Theorising the changing nature of cartography and understanding its interrelations to society, culture and politics is an emerging area of research within the School of Environment and Development. Over the last decade, the Geography Department has conducted sustained research into forms of map use and mapping practice, the social politics of cartographic production and considering the implications of new geospatial technologies. Beside scholarly critique, we are also active in exploring the nature of cartography by 'doing mapping', with successful projects on community mapping for cyclists/walkers, tactile mapping, and open-source mapping. Research is focused empirically on mapping that is increasingly being created and employed by people who would not classify themselves as cartographers, by artists, by community groups, by individuals, by policy makers, at work or as part of leisure activities.

The major themes of the research are:


The research is led by Chris Perkins and Martin Dodge, within the Space, Culture and Society research cluster. The research benefits from a range of resources available in the School, including contributions from two experienced professional cartographers (Graham Bowden and Nick Scarle) in the Cartographic Unit and ready access to the largest map library in the region, that is housed in new purpose-designed facilities and staffed by a full time librarian Morag Robson. There are also collaborative links to allied researchers, including the geoinformatics researcher in the School and to visualisation research group in Manchester's Research Computing.


We welcome enquiries from students seeking to study for a PhD in areas related to mapping, particularly in terms of researching the cultures of ‘everyday mappers’ in diverse social and institutional contexts or examining emerging epistemologies of cartographic technologies. Please talk to Chris Perkins or Martin Dodge.