The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Jen Bagelman

Lecturer in Human Geography


I grew up on Coast Salish territories (Vancouver Island, Canada) where I completed my BA and MA at the University of Victoria. After finishing my PhD at the Open University, I taught at both Durham University and Exeter University. I am now a lecturer in human geography at Newcastle. 

Broad research specialisms:

  • Displacement
  • Reproductive geographies
  • Anticolonial environmental justice 
  • Creative geographies (experimenting with cookbooks, picturebooks, zines...)


My academic and activist work critically examines how displacement is produced through exclusionary citizenship and bordering practices. I am also deeply interested in how people mobilize to enact more loving geopolitics. I explore these questions through two main strands of research.

The first strand of my research explores how sanctuary movements challenge (and sometimes inadvertently reproduce) the hostile treatment of refugees and other displaced peoples. My recently published book, Sanctuary City: A Suspended State, explores this topic.

Expanding on this work, I have led a GCRF-supported project entitled 'Birthing at the Borders' exploring how women with precarious status living in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps mobilize 'sanctuary' to establish alternative networks of maternal care. Following on this project, I am currently leading a GCRF-UKRI Network Grant entitled Migrant Mothers: Digital Health Network which brings together scholars and practitioners from Newcastle University, Kenyatta University, UNHCR and refugee midwives to specifically consider how digital tools might be developed to support maternal care in camps. 

The second strand of my research explores the impacts of colonial displacement on Indigenous peoples, particularly in the Pacific Northwest of Canada. Currently I am examining the impacts of proposed energy development projects on Indigenous coastal communities through a five-year SSHRC grant called ‘SEASCAPE: Indigenous Storytelling Studio.’

Within the university, I am a member both 'Power, Space, Politics' and 'Geographies of Social Change' research groups.

Beyond the university, I am a Board Member of the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration. With my sister, Carly, I also run a non-profit organization called Glean, which seeks to nourish more equitable foodscapes.


I am passionate about working with students as I see education as a powerful catalyst for generative change. I have written on creative pedagogy and, in keeping with a ‘service-led’ teaching model I aim to make coursework relevant to and useful for communities that extend beyond the classroom. In the past my students have created beautiful community maps that have been used by NGOS and urban designers and zines that have informed campus policies to embed diversity and ensure more sustainable food practices.

I warmly welcome the opportunity to work with students interested in the themes outlined on my research page.