Professor Nina Laurie

  • Email:
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6346
  • Fax: +44 (0) 191 208 5421
  • Address: Room: 4.22
    Daysh Building
    University of Newcastle
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    NE1 7RU


I joined Newcastle University as a lecturer in Geography in 1992. In 2002 I became a senior lecturer and then Professor of Development and the Environment in 2005. I have held international visiting fellowships in Canada, USA and most recently New Zealand and have led a number of British Council/DFID exchange programs with universities in Latin America (Bolivia, Peru and Chile). I greatly value the opportunities these experiences give me to research and teach in settings beyond the UK. My interest in international knowledge production is also reflected in my roles as the founding director of the Developing Research Network and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Newcastle University, both of which facilitate interdisciplinary as well as international research. 

Roles and Responsibilities

I was a member of REF sub panel 17 Geography and Archaeology and author of the development geography subject report for the ESRC International Bench Marking Review of Human Geography. I am the current Chair of the Developing Areas Research Group of the RGS-IBG, and prior to this was the group’s Secretary (2011-14).

I served as a committee member for the Society of  Latin America Studies (2012-2014) and have contributed to both Area Studies and Geography through my position on the editorial boards of: Journal of Latin American Studies (from 2014); Annals of the Association of American Geographers (2004-2012); Geoforum (2001-2012); Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2004-2007).


  • BA Geography, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  • MA Geography, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  • PhD Geography, UCL, London, UK



  • Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)
  • Developing Areas Research Group of the RGS-IBG
  • Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group of the RGS-IBG
  • Association of American Geographers
  • Society of Latin American Studies
  • Development Studies Association


Honours and Awards

Ron Lister Visiting Fellowship, Dunedin, Otago University, New Zealand (2015)

Queens University, Kingston, Canada. University Female Scholar Fellowship (2003)

University of Illinois University, Urbana-Champaign, USA. International Council Distinguished Scholar’s Programme, Visiting Professor of Development Geography (2002-3)


Research Interests

Gender and development, Latin America, social movements, neoliberalism, international volunteering, community history.

I am a feminist development geographer concerned with the social inclusions and exclusions associated with development. I am interested in the relationship between culture and development in the broadest sense. My work conceptualises the relationship between identity formation and development policy in the context of shifting transnational donor and social movement networks and geographies. For some years now this work has involved examining neoliberalisation through a focus on professionalisation, social movements and knowledge production. Part of this analysis explores how citizenship demands are mobilised when identity and development agendas intersect in diverse geographical and policy contexts. Empirically these interests have centred on four topics: gender and development, indigenous development, water privatisation and international volunteering.

Current Work

Most of my time is currently taken up with writing up work from an ESRC research project ‘‘Post Trafficking Livelihoods in Nepal: Women, Sexuality and Citizenship” in collaboration with Newcastle colleagues, Diane Richardson and Janet Townsend, and Meena Poudel from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). With our project partners Shakti Samuha, an anti-trafficking NGO run by returnee trafficked women, we have worked with policy makers locally and internationally to ensure that our project findings on livelihoods post trafficking feed into current citizenship debates and anti-trafficking strategies in Nepal and the wider South Asia region. This research featured as Impact Case Studies in Newcastle University’s submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) for Geography and Sociology and was highlighted by the University as an example of Newcastle's international research impact.  

Other areas of on-going interest include:

International volunteering: with Matt Baillie Smith at Northumbria University I have developed a portfolio of work building on a joint ESRC seminar series ‘activism, volunteering and citizenship’: (with colleagues at Northumbria, Newcastle and Edinburgh). This also includes a recently completed AHRC project on young Christian volunteers to Latin America also with Newcastle colleague Peter Hopkins and Besty Olson at University of North Carolina. Matt and I collaborate with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and are jointly supervising a PhD studentship at Northumbria on Diaspora Volunteering with VSO.

Forging identity under fire: Quechua music festivals and evangelical indigenous identities in Peru during civil war: researchers of ethno-development have traditionally focused on the politicisation of indigenous identities in the Andes in the 1990s through a focus on Bolivia and Ecuador, bypassing Peru where indigenous organising was seen to be weaker. This project examines the construction of indigenous Quechua identities in Apurimac, Peru an area greatly affected by the civil war. Archive work and oral histories form the basis of the research (see ‘finding yourself in the archives’).

Negotiating new political spaces: exploring geographies of civil society politics in Latin America: This project with colleagues at Bergen University, Norway (Arnt Fløysand and Håvard Haarstad) and the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile (Jonathan Barton) funded by the Norwegian research council, examines the social movement demands around specific foreign direct investment industries, notably mining and gas in Bolivia and salmon and forestry in Chile. It builds on my interests in ethno-development, indigenous politics and natural resources in the Andes.

Rowing the Waves’: the place of Tynemouth Rowing Club in the history of Tyneside coastal communities and rowing on the Tyne. This community history project is a collaborative project with Tynemouth Rowing Club, funded by the Catherine Cookson Foundation, Newcastle University. Research involves the collection of oral histories and the compilation and curation of archive materials (written records, images and memorabilia) spanning the Club’s history since its foundation in 1867.

El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) affects on changing livelihoods in northern Peru.This interdisciplinary project with physical geographer Andrew Henderson focuses on a former lake site in Northern Peru where livelihoods have changed from fishing to farming within a generation due to climate variation. Research uses timeframe proxies based on different historical sources (archives, sediments, oral history) and an analysis of the changing policy environment. Current work involves pilot fieldwork in Peru to collect sample sediment cores, scope archive sources and identity community sites for oral history work.


Future Research

Medical volunteering in international development

Climate change and livelihoods in Peru


Research Roles

I am currently the Geography Research Director in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology (from September 2014).

Postgraduate Supervision

  • Dana James The Impacts of Food Insecurity on Global Security & Social/Environmental Justice.(MPHil). Fullbright scholar. 
  • William Whitehead Re-placing development beyond the state: the Colombian Pacific as the setting for an alternative modernity. ESRC NEDTC
  • Stefan Rzedzian A critical study into the implementation of nature’s rights in Ecuador. ESRC NEDTC
  • Andrea Wilkinson Climate Change and Fairtrade Agriculture – Securing Livelihoods in Peru
  • (Collaborative studentship with TWIN). ESRC NE DTC
  • Natalie Cresswell “Gender, precarity and everyday politics in Argentina”. ESRC NEDTC
  • Alexandra Seedhouse “Be(com)ing Indigenous in the Time of Extraction: (Re)articulating Identities in the Context of Peru’s Ley de Consulta Previa. ESRC NEDTC
  • Nisha Susan “International Volunteering, Development and Diaspora”. Collaborative studentship with Northumbria University (Co-supervisor Prof Matt Baillie Smith) and VSO


  • Robert Ogle “Identities, engagement and integration : Ecuadorians in Spain and church affiliation” (MPhil). Awarded 2013
  • Gisela Zapata "Migration, Remittances and Development: Constructing Colombian Migrants as Transnational Financial Subjects”. Awarded 2011
  • Youba Luintel "The political economy of the deepening food crisis in Nepal: a study on  nexus of global forces and local processes". Awarded 2011
  • Julián Perez "Water privatization and social resistance in Bolivia" MPhil awarded 2011
  • Jane Carnaffan "Gender, indigeneity and homestay tourism in Peru". ESRC competition. Awarded 2010
  • Sa-Ngiam Boonpat "Tourism and local development: The case of Chiang Saen, Chiangrai, Thailand". Awarded 2010
  • Claire Furlong "How safe is our water: Perceived versus actual water quality as a barrier for the adoption of new water treatment technologies and water sources within communities in developing countries". Awarded 2010
  • Ergül Ergün "Atölye Kizlari (workshop girls): a study of women’s labour in the export-oriented garment industry in Turkey". Awarded 2004
  • Katherine Jenkins “Professional health promoters? Reconceptualising urban women's organising in Peru”. ESRC competition. Awarded 2006
  • Patricia Ocampo-Thomason “The use of local knowledge for the defence and sustainable management of mangrove ecosystems: the case of Ecuador”. ESRC competition. Awarded 2006
  • Patricia Oliart “State reform and the resilient powers: teachers, school culture and the neoliberal education reform in Peru” Awarded 2007
  • Pablo Regalsky "Indigenous Territoriality and Decentralisation in Bolivia (1994-2003): Autonomies, municipalities, social differentiation and access to resources" Awarded 2008
  • Kate Simpson, “Broad horizons? Geographies and pedagogies of the gap year”. ESRC competition. Awarded 2005
  • Pablo Regalsky "Ethnicity and Class: the Bolivian state and Andean space management". MPhil. Awarded 2000
  • Victoria Buchanan “Gender and water in South Africa”. MPhil. Awarded 2000
  • Justine Coulson "Embodying development : a study of female flower workers in Ecuador". Awarded 1999
  • Maggie Anderson Torrico "Gender and neoliberalism in Bolivia with reference to street girls in Cochabamba". MPhil. Awarded 1997


Undergraduate Teaching

  • GEO3061 Ethno-development: Development with Identity

Postgraduate Teaching

I lead and teach a range of modules on the MA Interdisciplinary Latin America Studies. Scholarships and fieldwork funding are available to students on this MA through the Santander schemes operated by the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. My sessions are also co-listed as part of the MA Geography Research programme.

Modules include:

  • GEO8103 Politics of Development and Social Struggle in Latin America
  • GEO8104 The Shaping of Latin America I: Social and Political Themes
  • GEO8202 Latin American Country Case Study
  • LAS8005 Latin American Studies: Research Skills and Methods