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Owain Jones

I am a cultural geographer with interests in place, landscape, memory; entanglements of nature-culture in places and landscapes; and also the geographies of childhood. I have an arts (rather than academic background) and thus bring artistic sensibilities and practices into my academic work. I also seek to operate in a space which overlaps arts and humanities approaches to place, landscape and nature and social sciences approaches. This is in part driven by the non-representational turn in geography and the social sciences in which knowledge (theory and method) is seen as active, creative practice that is required for creating a richer, fuller account of everyday life in places/landscapes.

Cultural Geographer John Wylie starts his book on approaches to landscape discussing Cézanne’s paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire; he ends by saying that approaches to landscape should absorb the personal into their accounts and practices - ‘the creative tension of self and world’. Mike Pearson - theatre/performance studies scholar - names his 2006 study of landscape ‘In Comes I’ to stress the pivotal role of the person in practices of landscape (and he draws from cultural geography). There thus seems to be marked interdisciplinary convergences on current approaches to landscape. Landscape is seen as material space (amenable to field work) but also an imagined and constructed place as articulated through the inevitable cultural and personal history of the individual, and also, vitally, a site of practice which might involve all manner of other embodied practices (walking, sitting etc), the senses, and more besides. The individual (artist, geographer, walker, visitor, local - or whoever) thus conjures the landscape around him/herself through affective, (embodied ) context rich, practices of exchange. The (landscape) artist (I assume) does much the same in that - on placing him/herself in the landscape - attempts to express that emplacement and the responses body and mind conjure. Thus maybe art practice has been waiting up ahead for social science approaches on landscape to arrive. Non-representational approaches in particular seek creative interventions in the world as the only, and inevitable, form of knowledge practice about landscape, or anything else for that matter. But where does all this leave academic/intellectual study of differing landscapes? As amateur art? And if all landscapes are in part personally constructed, are they all other to each other? Can we speak to each other of place and landscape? I suppose the answer is that accounts which are (part) readable by others, which translate the specific richness of being in a landscape into other forms, be that academic and/or artistic, might be viable.

For various reasons I am active in a number of specific areas of human geography in terms of research, publishing and networks:

  • Geography, memory and displacement
  • Nature-society
  • The temporality of landscape (tidal cultures)
  • Children's geographies
  • Animal geographies>/li>

My current, most pressing, research aim is to 'deep map' historical/contemporary tidal (material) cultures of the Severn Estuary and its hinterlands. The estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world. This extraordinary, polyrhythmic, highly dynamic time-space process has profound effects on human and non-human life around the estuary - not least on ecology, environmental/land use management, various aspects of culture (recreation, tourism, local senses of place), economy, (agriculture, resource extraction, transport, power generation). These tidal cultures are now at threat given the current proposal to develop a tidal barrage in the Severn Estuary and the threat to coastal areas and their socio-natural processes posed by climate change related sea level rises.

The overall research will also scope tidal cultures throughout the UK.


PhD. Cultural Geography, University of Bristol, 1997
MA. Creative Writing, BSUC, 2004
MSc. Society and Space, University of Bristol, 1993
MA /Postgraduate Diploma (with Distinction). Environmental Policy and Geography, University of the West of England, 1993
BA (Hons), 3D Design/Construction, Bristol Polytechnic, 1981

Current position:

Research Fellow at the Countryside and Community Research Institute
Chair of the Royal Geographical Society Children, Youth and Families Research Group Associate
Editor of the Journal of Children’s Geographies

Research Council Research Funding:

01 06 2001 - 31 05 2003. Research Fellow, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. AHRB funded research project - Putting Children in Their Place: a History of Cultural Representations of the Landscapes of Childhood. Co-applicant with Professor Paul Cloke. The aim of this research is to investigate how children have been depicted in landscapes in British art, media and literature between 1798 and 1998. This period starts with critical moments in the development of the romantic movement which has had a lasting influence on how childhood, nature, the countryside and the city have been constructed in British culture, and ends at a time when the idea of ‘ideal childhood’ is seen as increasingly impossible. By tracing a history of imaginative portrayals of childhood presented in British literature, art and media this research will construct a symbolic historical cultural geography of the landscapes adults see fit and unfit for childhood, and the childhood adults see as suitable for certain landscapes. The research will add a historical understanding of the relationship between childhood and landscape to both historical and contemporary studies of childhood across the humanities and social sciences.

01 10 1997 - 31 09 1999. Research Fellow, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. ESRC funded research project - R000237083, Arbori-Culture: The Importance of Trees to Place. Co-applicant with Professor Paul Cloke. This work involved an extensive survey of existing discourses relating to historical and contemporary ‘tree cultures’ in the UK, a synthesis of differing tree ‘positions’ in our culture, and how these fold into particular material places of trees. To ground these ideas, four case studies were conducted which considered differing settings where trees contribute to the constitution of place, and in particular issues of non-human and relational agency, ethics, place and dwelling. This involved the use of qualitative research methods, the textual analysis of archive material, and the use of photography as a research method.

Selected Publications and Conference Papers:

  • 2010
    • Jones O., Forest landscapes: Identity and Materiality in E. Ritta and D. Dauksta (eds) Society, culture and forests: human-landscape relationships in a changing world, Guilford: Springer, pp
    • Jones O., “Another Place”: affective time-spaces of tidal processes as rendered in literature and art, in T. Edensor (ed) Geographies of Rhythm, Oxford: Ashgate, pp 189-203.
    • Jones O., Kirwan, J., Morris, C., Buller, H., Dunn, R., Hopkins, A., Whittington, F., and Wood, J., On the Alternativeness of Alternative Food Networks: sustainability and the co-production of social and ecological wealth, in D. Fuller A., E. G. Jones and R. Lee (eds) Alternative Spaces of Economy, Society and Politics: Interrogating Alterity, Oxford: Ashgate, pp --
  • 2009
    • Jones O., ‘Dwelling’ in R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (eds.), International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography, London: Elsevier, vol 3: 266-272.
    • Jones O., ‘Nature-Cultures’ in R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (eds.), International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography, London: Elsevier, vol 7: 309-323.
    • Jones O., ‘After Nature: Entangled Worlds’ in N. Castree, D. Demeritt, D. Liverman and B. Rhoads, (eds.), A Companion to Environmental Geography Oxford: Blackwell Publishing pp 294-312.
    • Jones O., ‘Approaching the otherness of childhood; methodological considerations’, in Van Blerk, L. and Kesby, M. (eds) Doing Children’s Geographies: Methodological Issues in Research with Young People, London: Routledge, pp 195-212.
  • 2008
    • Jones O., and Cloke P., ‘Orchard’ in T. S. Oakes and P. L. Price (eds) The Cultural Geography Reader, London: Routledge, pp 232-240.
    • Jones O., and Cloke P., ‘Non-human agencies: tree is place and time’, in C. Knappett and L. Malafouris, (eds.) Material Agency: towards a non-anthropocentric approach, Guilford: Springer. pp 79-96.
    • Jones O., ‘Of Trees and Trails: place in a globalised world’, in N. Clark, D. Massey, and P. Sarre (eds.) Material Geographies: A World in the Making, London: Sage in association with the Open University, pp 214-264.
    • Jones O., “True geography [ ] quickly forgotten, giving away to an adult-imagined universe”. Approaching the otherness of childhood’. Special issue on Methodologies of Researching Childhood. Children’s Geographies, (ed.) R. Baker pp 195-212.
    • Jones O., ‘Stepping from the Wreckage: Non-representational theory and the promise of pragmatism’ in special issue on Pragmatism and Geography, Geoforum, edited by N. Wood and S. Smith, Geoforum, 39, 1600-1612.
  • 2007
    • Jones O., ‘Loudon’s orders: Arnos Vale cemetery and the lively materialities of place’, in the Journal of Garden History, special issue on Arboretum edited by S. Daniels, C. Watkins and P. Elliot, pp 149-171.
    • Jones O., ‘Rurality and the Otherness of Childhood in a British context’ in R. Panelli, S. Punch and E. Robson (eds.) Young Rural Lives: global perspectives on rural childhood and youth, London, Routledge, pp 193-204.
    • Jones O., ‘Idylls and Othernesses: Depictions of Rural Childhood in Film’, in R. Fish (ed.) Cinematic Countrysides, Manchester, Manchester University Press, pp 177-194.
  • 2006
    • Jones O., ‘Of Trees and Trails: place in a globalised world’, in N. Clark, D. Massey, and P. Sarre (eds.) Life in A Globalised World, Milton Keynes: Open University, pp 214-264.
    • Williams, M., Jones O., Wood, L., and Fleuriot, C., ‘Investigating New Wireless Technologies and their Potential Impact on Children’s Spatiality: A role for GIS’, Transactions in GIS, 10 (1), pp 87-102.
    • Jones O., ‘Non Human Rural Studies’ in P. Cloke, T. Marsden and P. Mooney, (eds.) Handbook of Rural Studies, London: Sage, pp 185-200.
  • 2005
    • Jones O., ‘An Emotional Ecology of Memory, Self and Landscape’, in J. Davidson, L. Bondi and M. Smith (eds.) Emotional Geographies, Oxford, Ashgate, pp 205-218.
    • Cloke P., and Jones O., “Unclaimed Territory”: Childhood and Disordered Spaces(s)’, Social and Cultural Geography, 6, 3, pp 311-323.
  • 2004
    • Cloke P., and Jones O., ‘Turning in the Graveyard: trees and the hybrid geographies of dwelling, monitoring and resistance in a Bristol Cemetery’, Cultural Geography, 11, 3, pp 313-341.
  • 2003
    • Jones O., ‘“The Restraint of Beasts”: rurality, animality, actor network theory and dwelling’, in P. Cloke (ed.) Country Visions, London: Pearson Education. Pp 450-487.
    • Cloke P., and Jones O., ‘Grounding Ethical Mindfulness For / In Nature: Trees In Their Places’, Ethics, Place and Environment, 6, 3, pp 195-213.
    • Jones O., Williams, M. and Fleuriot C. ‘A New Sense of Place?’ Mobile, ‘Wearable’ ICT Devices and the Geographies of Urban Childhood’, Children’s Geographies, 1, 2, pp 165-180.
    • Jones O., ‘“Endlessly Revisited and Forever Gone”: on memory and emotional imaginations in doing children’s geographies. An ‘Addendum’ to ‘“To Go Back up the Side Hill”: Memories, Imaginations and Reveries of Childhood’ by Chris Philo, Children’s Geographies, 1, 1, pp 25-36.
  • 2002
    • Jones O., ‘Naturally Not! Childhood, the Urban and Romanticism’, Human Ecology Review, 9, 2, pp 17-30.
  • 2001
    • Cloke P., and Jones O., ‘Dwelling, place, and landscape: an orchard in Somerset’, Environment and Planning A, 33, pp 649-66.
    • Little J., and Jones O., ‘Masculinity, Gender and Rural Policy’, Rural Sociology, 65, 4, pp 621-639.
    • Jones O., ‘“Before the dark of reason”: some ethical and epistemological considerations on the otherness of childhood’, Ethics, Place and Environment, 4, 2, pp 173-178.


Owain Jones