Professor Rachel Pain
Professor of Human Geography
- Email: email@example.com
- Address: School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Newcastle upon Tyne
Born in Northumberland and brought up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I have lived and worked in North East England for most of my life. I began my career at Northumbria University, before spending time at Durham University where I was founder and Co-Director of the Centre for Social Justice and Community Action and ran the Participatory Research Hub. I have been at Newcastle University since 2017.
I am a social geographer whose research is founded in feminist and participatory praxis. Most of my research over the last two decades has focused on fear, violence and community safety. I have worked with groups such as older people, young people, refugees and asylum seekers, and domestic abuse survivors to understand experiences of violence, harm and trauma, and to work collaboratively towards change using Participatory Action Research. The conceptual thread running through these projects seeks to politicise what are commonly seen as personal and private experiences of violence and trauma. Equally, it recasts international forms of violence, such as war and terrorism, as having intimate roots. Through developing concepts such as ‘globalised fear’, ‘intimacy-geopolitics’ and ‘intimate war’, the work unpicks common ideas that persist about scales of violence and harm.
Through this research I collaborate with community organisations, charities, activists, and engage local and national policy-makers. I have also led projects which forge new participatory approaches in sites as diverse as the housing crisis, museums, climate change activism and river conservation. On a transdisciplinary project on the future of social housing, I have recently worked with a range of organisations in Horden Colliery, County Durham, local photographer Carl Joyce and the folk band Ribbon Road; we have tracked the effects of national housing policy and growing divisions in housing wealth and access.
Such work is united by a long-standing interest in impact, imagined not as an add-on to traditional research, but as an ethical commitment at the heart of scholarly work so that it contributes something tangible to movements for social justice. Since ‘impact’ became mainstream, I have been a leading figure in debates on what impact means for co-produced research, and what socially just impact might look like within and outside Universities, as well as helping to build infrastructure to support collaborative research between Universities and the public and voluntary sectors.
Trauma, fear and violence
Intimate and international terrorism/warfare
Emotions and geopolitics
Gender, youth, old age and intergenerational relations
Participatory practice, politics and theory
PRIZES AND AWARDS
Philip Leverhulme Prize 2005
Royal Geographical Society Gill Memorial Award 2008, for contributions to social geography and participatory research
2009 Julian Minghi Outstanding Research Award of the Political Speciality Group of the Association of American Geographers. Awarded jointly with Susan J Smith for 'Fear: Critical Geopolitics and Everyday Life'
2012 Durham University Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award
2014 Durham University Excellence in Research Impact Award
Everyday Terrorism: How Fear Works in Domestic Abuse (2012) - a collaboration with Scottish Womens Aid
Mapping Alternative Impact: Alternative Approaches to Impact From Co-Produced Research (2016) - a project funded by ESRC/N8/Durham IAA
Disposal: the Housing Crisis in Horden’s Numbered Streets (2015) - a collaboration with Horden Colliery Residents Association
After the Auctions: Impacts of the Disposal of Social Housing (2017)
- Pain R. Intimate War. Political Geography 2015, 44, 64-73.
- Whitman GP, Pain R, Milledge DG. Going with the flow? Using participatory action research in physical geography. Progress in Physical Geography 2015, 39(5), 622-639.
- Pain R. Everyday Terrorism: Connecting Domestic Violence and Global Terrorism. Progress in Human Geography 2014, 38(4), 531-550.
- Pain R. Seismologies of emotion: fear and activism during domestic violence. Social and Cultural Geography 2014, 15(2), 127-150.
- Pain R, Hopkins PE. Social geographies of age: landscapes, lifecourses, equity and justice. In: Smith SJ; Pain R; Marston S; Jones JP, ed. The SAGE handbook of social geography. London: Sage, 2009, pp.78-98.
- Pain R. Social geography: on action-orientated research. Progress in Human Geography 2003, 27(5), 649-657.