The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Peter Hopkins

Professor of Social Geography and Research Director for Geography


I am Professor of Social Geography in Geography at Newcastle where I am Research Director for Geography and Impact Director for semester 1 of 2017-8. My research and teaching interests centre upon the challenges and complexities of inequality and justice, and how these interrelate with debates about equality and diversity. More specifically, my work draws attention to the exclusionary ways in which various forms of discrimination and marginalisation – such as racism, sexism, Islamophobia, sizism and ageism – shape people’s everyday lives, structure the resources available to them and influence their political and social mobility. This work is built upon a commitment to empirical research that is informed both by current debates in academic literatures and theoretical understandings about intersectionality, society and space, as well as – where appropriate – concerns of relevance to policy makers and practitioners.

My work tends to draw upon urban social, feminist and anti-racist research and falls within the following three themes:

Young people, place and identity
- Young people, social identities and political inequalities
- Youth transitions and intergenerational relations
- Young migrants, asylum seekers, refugees and ethnic minority groups

Race, ethnicity and religion
- The everyday lives of Muslim and ethnic/religious minority young people
- Gender and generational relations in ethnic minority and religious communities
- Racial and religious discrimination, Islamophobia and place

Gender, inequalities and place
- Religious, racialised and ethnicised masculinities
- Constructions of hegemonic and marginalised masculine identities
- Gendered identities, social exclusion and spatial justice

Equality, diversity and intersectionality
- Minority groups' experiences of discrimination and marginalisation
- Agency, resistance and strategies for managing discrimination
- Intersectionality, equality, diversity and in/exclusion

I am also interested in exploring issues connected with the use of various qualitative methods including participatory action research approaches, focus groups as well as research ethics. 

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in pursuing PhD or postdoctoral research (such as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship) on topics related to the research areas noted above.

I am a member of the Geographies of Social Change research cluster (which I convened during 2014-2015), the Power, Space, Politics research cluster as well as the Youth Research Group.

I have previously served as the Academic Director of the ESRC North East Doctoral Training Centre (2015-2017), the Postgraduate Director for the School (2010 - 2013), and as the Director of Postgraduate Research for Geography (2008-2012). I was promoted to a Personal Chair in 2012 after earlier promotions to Reader and Senior Lecturer following my arrival in Newcastle in 2007. Before this, I worked at Lancaster University as a Lecturer in Human Geography (in what was the Department of Geography) where I also completed a PGCert in Academic Practice. Previous to this, I spent short periods as a Research Fellow at Glasgow University and a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. I have a PhD from the University of Edinburgh and an MRes and BA(Hons) from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. 


Research roles

Research Director for Geography at Newcastle 2017 onwards and Impact Director for semester 1 of 2017-8.

Editorial board member of Gender, Place and Culture (2009-) and Children's Geographies (2009-)

Member of the ESRC's Capability Committee, Sept 2016 - Dec 2018.

Member of the AHRC peer review college, 2010 - 2018 and invited to join AHRC Strategic Reviewer's Group in 2016.

External Associate, Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES), University of Edinburgh.

I served as the Managing Editor of Gender, Place and Culture from March 2013 until December 2016 (having served as an Editor during 2012 and Book Review Editor from 2009-2011. I was also a member of the editorial board of Contemporary Islam from 2008-2016. I have previously served as the joint Secretary/Treasurer, Chair and Past Co-Chair (with Elizabeth Olson (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)) of the Geography of Religions and Belief Systems Speciality Group of the Association of American Geographers (2007-2013). I was the Founding Chair of the RGS-IBG Geographies of Justice Research Group (2011-2016) and Convenor of the Geographies of Social Change research cluster in the School (2014-2015). Up until 2016, I co-edited (with Rachel Pain) of a series of books on Gender, Space and Society with Ashgate.

Esteem Indicators

2012 Royal Scottish Geographical Society President's Medal and Honorary Fellowship 
2011 Royal Geographical Society Gill Memorial Award for contributions to geographies of religion, youth and race
2011 Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher Award

Visiting Scholar, Religion Research Cluster, National University of Singapore (Jul-Aug 2008)
Visiting Scholar, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University (Feb 2011)
Visiting Scholar, School of Social Sciences, University of Western Sydney (Feb-Apr 2011)
Visiting Scholar, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University (Dec 2011)
Visting Scholar, Royal Melbourne Institute for Technology (Dec 2011)
Visiting Academic, Alfred Deakin Institute of Citizenship and Globalisation (Jan 2017)


  • Improving capacity and understanding about Islamophobia and anti-Muslim acts - ESRC IAA - PI - £10,000 (2017)
  • Muslim youth and political participation in Scotland - Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal (PI with Robin Finlay (researcher) and Gurchathen Sanghera - £9282 (2017)
  • Spaces of anti-Muslim Acts - Marie Curie Sklodowska Actions Individual Fellowship (Supervisor to Kawtar Najib (Researcher) - Euros183,454 (2016-2018)
  • Storying sexual relationships: the narratives and practices of British Pakistani Muslims - AHRC - (co-I with Richard Phillips (PI), Claire Chambers (co-I), Raksha Pande (co-I) and Nafhesa Ali (PDRA) - £488,403 (2016-2019)
  • Developing a student-centred research protocol - Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal - £4315 (2015) 
  • Community experiences of sectarianism in Scotland - Scottish government (co-I with Kay Goodall (PI), John Markey, Stephen Millar, Simon McKerrell, John Richardson, and Michael Richardson) (project summary) - £87,937 (2014)
  • 'Non-Muslim' and Muslim youth: religious identities, Islamophobia and everyday geopolitics - AHRC standard grant (PI with Rowena Arshad (co-I), Gurchathen Sanghera (co-I) and Kate Botterill (PDRA)) - £452,062 (2013-2016)
  • Muslims on campus: university life for Muslim students in Australia - University of Western Sydney (with Adam Possamai, Kevin Dunn and Jan Ali)
  • Spiritual wellbeing and young people's resilience in times of austerity - Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal - £2000 (2012) (project summary) (PI with Sonya Sharma)
  • Local students' perceptions of the transitions from university to work or further study - Catherine Cookson Foundation (co-I with Simon Tate (PI)) - £2992 (2011)
  • Geography students’ perspectives on improving the transition from school to university - Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES) Subject Centre (co-I with Simon Tate (PI)) - £4526 (2009)
  • Youth transitions, international volunteering and religious transformations: the experiences of young evangelical Christians in Latin America - (AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Youth Call) (PI with Nina Laurie, Matt Baillie-Smith and Elizabeth Olson) - £74,480 (2009-10)
  • Marginalized Spiritualities: faith and religion among young people in socially deprived Britain (AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Youth Call) - (co-I with Elizabeth Olson (PI), Giselle Vincett (PDRA) and Rachel Pain (co-I)) - £243,284 (2009-11)
  • Activism, Volunteering and Citizenship ESRC seminar series (with Matt Baillie-Smith (PI), Katy Jenkins, Liz Bondi, Elizabeth Olson and Nina Laurie)- £14,951 (2008)
  • Muslim women in Scotland: global events, national issues, local lives (+3 ESRC Scottish Government Collaborative studentship) - £61,000 (2007)
  • Relational Religious Identities: exploring contemporary meanings of religion among Scottish Christian youth (AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Scheme) - (co-I with Elizabeth Olson (PI) and Rachel Pain (co-I)) - £73,736 (2007-8)
  • Young Sikh men in Scotland: spatial practices, contested identities and everyday geographies (RGS-IBG) - £2000 (2007)
  • Young Sikh men in Scotland: spatial practices, contested identities and everyday geographies (British Academy) - £7420 (2006)

Postgraduate Supervision

Current students include:
Alessando Boussalem
is exploring the experiences of LGBT Muslims in Brussels (ESRC +3.5 collaborative studentship with Merhaba, 2016 onwards) (with Raksha Pande and Klaartje Van Kerckem)
Quan Gao is researching the emotional geographies of Uyghur migrants in Beijing (Research Excellence Academy, 2016 onwards) (with Raksha Pande)
Sean Gill is studying young Poles' transitions to adulthood in Northumberland (ESRC +3 collaborative studentship with Northumberland County Council, 2013 onwards)(with Alison Stenning and Jane Walker)
Nathar Iqbal is exploring the experiences of non-heterosexual Muslims (ESRC 1+3 studentship, 2014 onwards) (with Mark Casey)
Naomi Maynard is researching young people's experiences of participation: identity, citizenship and transition' (ESRC + 3 collaborative studentship with Investing in Children, 2012 onwards) (with Rachel Pain)
Sertanya Reddy (UNC Chapel Hill) is researching issues of youth, multiculturalism and intercultural understanding (committee chair, Elizabeth Olson (UNC Chapel Hill)
Ged Ridley is undertaking research about transgender experiences of public bathrooms (ESRC 1+3 collaborative studentship with Yorkshire Trans Support Network, 2015 onwards) (with Michael Richardson)
Jenny Smith is researching the multicultural interactions of refugees in Newcastle upon Tyne (ESRC +3 collaborative studentship with West End Refugee Service, 2014 onwards) (with Anoop Nayak and Lindsay Cross)
Carl Thompson's project is researching performances of gay masculinities in online environments (ESRC 1+3 studentship, 2013 onwards) (with Mark Casey)
Matt Wood's research is about young people's perspectives on sex and sexuality (EPSRC Digital Civics studentship, 2017 onwards) (with Kellie Morrisey)

Recently completed students include:
Aliraza Javaid's
thesis is about male rape, masculinities and sexualities (self-funded, completed 2017) (with Elaine Campbell)
Joanna Wiseman's
thesis is about integration and identities of young asylum seekers in Scotland (ESRC +3 collaborative studentship with Scottish Refugee Council, completed 2016) (with Anoop Nayak, Clare Tudor and Gareth Mulvey).
Jennifer Lloyd's thesis is about expatriate women's embodied experiences of migration (ESRC 1+3 studentship, completed 2015) (with Alastair Bonnett).
Michael Richardson's thesis is about masculinities and intergenerational relations amongst men of Irish heritage on Tyneside (ESRC +3 studentship, completed 2014) (with Anoop Nayak)
Erin Pritchard's thesis is about how people with restricted growth are socially and spatially marginalised in society (ESRC + studentship, completed 2014) (with Janice McLaughlin)
Rachel Clements' 
thesis is about 'The life transitions of Polish migrant parents in the North East of England (ESRC +3 studentship, completed 2014) (with Alison Stenning)
Rahielah Ali's thesis is about 'Gender, faith and locality: Muslim women in Scotland’ (ESRC Scottish Government Collaborative +3 studentship, completed 2013) (with Anoop Nayak)
Alex Tan's thesis is about 'British Chinese youth transitions: cultural identity and youth formations in Newcastle upon Tyne' (ESRC +3 studentship, completed 2013) (with Anoop Nayak)
Thomas Burgoine's study is 'Predisposed to Obesity? A Study into Environmental Equity and the possible Obesogenic Environment of North East England' (ESRC 1+3, completed 2012) (with Seraphim Alvanides (Northumbria University) and Amelia Lake (Durham University))

External examining of PhD theses in geography (Aberystwyth, Cardiff, Cork, Durham, Hull, Leeds, Reading, St Andrews and National University of Singapore), religious studies (Chester), social work (Durham), sociology (Edinburgh and Monash) and cultural studies (University of Western Sydney).


Association of American Geographers
Royal Scottish Geographical Society
Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Muslims in Britain Research Network


Undergraduate Teaching 

In 2017-18, I will be module leader for:
Geo2100 Contested Geographies of New York City

Previous teaching has included contributions to the following modules:
Geo2043 Key Methods in Human Geography  
Geo2110 Social Geographies 
Geo2111 Doing Geographical Research: Theory and Practice
Geo3105 Young People, Place and Identity (module leader)
Geo3099 Dissertation

Postgraduate Teaching

I make a small contribution to these postgraduate modules and workshops:
HSS8006 Managing a PhD
HSS8104 Qualitative Methodology in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Research in the Wider Context

In 2011, I was awarded a Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher Award. More recently, I was nominated and shortlisted for a Newcastle Teaching Excellence Award in 2013 for Innovative Teaching Methods and I was nominated for a Newcastle Teaching Excellence Research Supervisor of the Year Award in 2014.

From 2016-2018, external examiner for BA Geography at Exeter University and Geography(Human) and Planning at Cardiff University. From 2010-2013, I was the external examiner for Geography at Dundee University.