The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Jonathan Pugh

Senior Academic Fellow




·      Small Islands and Archipelagos 
·      Anthropocene
·      Contemporary Caribbean Development
·      Participatory development 
·      Changing nature of radical politics today


To download publications 



Jonathan’s main area of research is islands and archipelagos. He is particularly noted for his development of what has come to be known as the 'relational turn' in island studies, exploring the relational characteristics that disrupt insular and isolated island geographies. To this end, Jonathan has produced a number of influential publications and recently started work on a monograph which makes the claim for and examines schematic shifts in island ontology, politics and ethics in the Anthropocene, entitled ‘Islands within the Anthropocene: the shifting stakes of relationality and islands’.

In addition to this interest in islands and archipelagos, Jonathan has also been involved in a range of practical and transformative participatory programmes in the Caribbean. For example, co-initiating a seven-country programme employing 128 Caribbean fisherpeople funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to stimulate the development of fishing community networks across the eastern Caribbean archipelago. Drawing upon such practical programmes, Jonathan has published a number of theoretical critiques of participatory development (Environment and Planning D: society and space, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers/Royal Geographical Society; Annals of the Association of American Geographers; Progress in Human Geography; Antipode; Area; Geoforum; Geography Compass, for examples).

Such concerns often intersect with Jonathan's interest in the changing nature of radical politics today. In 2004 Jonathan launched the 'Spaces of Democracy' network with Chantal Mouffe and Doreen Massey. The network ran until 2014, involved 17 institutions worldwide and examined the changing character of radical politics today. Throughout this time Jonathan launched and was editor of the online magazine Radical Politics Today. In 2009 Jonathan edited the book ‘What is Radical Politics Today?’, which was covered in a range of popular media and launched by the British Council at Canada House, Trafalgar Square.




2004 – 2014 Director ‘The Spaces of Democracy’ network (co-founded with Doreen Massey and Chantal Mouffe).

2003 – 2005 Director of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office Caribbean regional programme ‘Developing Institutional Capital in the Fisherfolk Communities of the Caribbean’ 

2005-2010 United Kingdom Research Council’s Fellowship in Territorial Governance (EP/C509005/1).

2002 – 2004 Three year Economic and Social Research Council Research Fellowship, Royal Holloway, University of London/Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster. ‘Developing Institutional Capital in the Neo-Liberal Era: Caribbean Environmental Planning’. (ESRC: R00271204. Graded ‘Outstanding’)



Jonathan is interested in supervising PhD's on the following topics:-

·      Small islands and archipelagos

·      Anthropocene Philosophy

·      Contemporary Caribbean development

·      Participatory Development

·      Changing nature of radical politics today




  • Karllen Lawrence, (October 2017-) Can the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Arrangement’s Aid for Trade Policy in the Eastern Caribbean Help Bridge the Poverty Gap? – Case of Antigua (Tourism), Dominica (Bananas) and St. Lucia (Agro-processing) (co-supervised with Mark Langan)
  • Beth Robertson (2018-) NINE DTP Studentship, Comparison of Dominica and Anguilla and their Recovery of Primary Education Following the 2017 Hurricane Season. (co-supervised with Alastair Bonnett and Marcus Power)





  1. International Geographical Union Commission on Islands, Penghu Islands (Pescadores), Taiwan Strait, October 2013.
  2. International Small Island Studies Association, Islands of the World Conference XIII Penghu 2014, Penghu Islands (Pescadores), Taiwan Strait, September 2014.
  3. Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos, 21-25 October, 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Negotiating Waters: Seas, Oceans and Passageways in the Colonial and Postcolonial Anglophone World, ILCEA 4 – University of Grenoble Alpes & Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), February 15th and 16th, 2018






International guest lectures at the Universities of Taipei, West Indies, Westminster, London, Aberdeen, Zurich, Cornell, California, Rutgers, Dublin, Virginia Tech, Harvard, and Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton. Visiting Fellow: University of West Indies and Virginia Tech.






  • Deputy Editor (Island Theory and Philosophy), Island Studies Journal.
  • Editorial Board, Island Studies Journal.
  • Book Reviews Editorial Member, Island Studies Journal
  • Editorial Board of Shima: the international journal of research into island cultures
  • Editorial Board Resilience: International Policies, Practices and Discourses
  • Editorial Board of the Journal of Intervention and State-Building.
  • Founder and Chief Editor Radical Politics Today (2004-2014).






  • Executive Board Member of the International Small Island Studies Association
  • Steering Committee of International Geographical Union on Islands
  • Fellow of Royal Geographical Society/ Institute of British Geographers.
  • Member of Royal Geographical Society/ Institute of British Geographers Research Groups: Geographies of Justice, Social and Cultural Geography, and History and Philosophy of Geography.
  • American Association of Geographers Caribbean Speciality Group Organising Committee






  • Voted by PhD and Masters students studying at the Faculty of Humanities of Social Sciences, Newcastle University, to give the annual plenary lecture to PhD and Masters students in the Faculty (19th June, 2014).
  • Nominated three times by undergraduate students for a Newcastle University Teaching Award.
  • Innovation Fund for Teaching, Newcastle University: Pugh, J. Hewett, C. Williams, A. Tate S. and Large, A. Developing Discursive Skills for the workplace: piloting an interactive seminar series. Quality in Learning and Teaching (QuILT) (£4995) [2012].






Santander Mobility Fund Mapping urban degradation in Barrancabermeja: the effect of intense energy production in urban areas (with Fátima Elena and Gareth Powells (£1391)

Caribbean Planning:-

Santander Mobility Fund plus Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Newcastle University: Participatory mapping for disaster management in the Caribbean (£3000)

Santander Mobility Fund 'What do government workers in the Caribbean think of ‘resilience’?: a pilot study' £1475.75 (2014).

Newcastle University, HASS Faculty Research Fund (2011, £4,000).

Newcastle University, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology Smalls Bids Fund (2011, £1000).

Newcastle University, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology Travel Top-up Fund (2011, £500).

United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office regional programme “Developing Institutional Capital in the Fisherfolk Communities of the Caribbean” (2003, DfID, approximately £60K including funding from Caribbean businesses, charities, consultancies and academics).

Research Council United Kingdom Fellowship 2005–2010 (EP/C509005/1; £125,000).

Three year Economic and Social Research Council Research Fellow. “Developing Institutional Capital in the Neo-Liberal Era: Caribbean Environmental Planning”. (2002-2004, ESRC: R00271204, total £100,121).

“Deconstructing Participatory Environmental Planning: Dispositions of Power in Barbados and St Lucia.” Royal Holloway, University of London PhD (1998-2001, ESRC studentship: R00429834850).


Spaces of Democracy network:-

SARCHA (School of Architecture for All), Athens (Euros 80,000).

Pugh, J. Mouffe, C, Thein, D. Marres, N. Howarth, D. and Griffin, L. The Spatial Turn and Political Subjectivity in the Social Sciences and Humanities, Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series, May 2009 – December 2011, RES-451-26-0566 (£9213.20).

Pugh, J. Massey, D. Mouffe, C. and Verges, F. The Spaces of Democracy and the Democracy of Space, Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series, 01/01/2007-31/12/2009,RES-451-25-4226 (£20511.68).

Newcastle University Public Lecture Series (£1000).

British Academy Small Research Grant (£3564.30).

California State University (£3000).

Essex University, Department of Government (£2000).

Goldsmiths College, University of London (£3000).

The Global Urban Research Unit and the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University (£600).

University of Newcastle Faculty Futures programme (£1000).

The Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust (£600).

One North East, Newcastle University Faculty Futures Programme and Newcastle City Council (£200).

Harvard and Cornell University (£2000).

Personal Assistant for Jonathan Pugh, funded through University of Newcastle Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (£15,000).

Spaces of Democracy PhD studentship. The Institute of Research on Environment and Sustainability, and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Newcastle University (£48,000).


The Great Debate:-

Big Lottery and The Dulverton Trust funded 'great northern youth voices' / [2012-14], £35K - documentary-making training for young people Not in Employment, Education or Training.


Royal Academy of Engineering funded 'ETUDE: Engineering Transmission Using Deliverative Events' [2013]; and 'Sustained Engagement' [2011-12], each for £30K


Pugh, J. Hewett, C. Williams, A. Tate S. and Large, A. Developing Discursive Skills for the workplace: piloting an interactive seminar series. Innovation Fund, Newcastle University, Quality in Learning and Teaching (QuILT) (£4995) [2012].


Economic and Social Research Council Festival of Social Science (£2K per year for 7 years) funded: Decline and Fool: Changing Ideas in the Twenty Teens [2013]; Whatever Happened to Equality? [2012]; The Great Debate: Facing the Future [2011]; Getting Real About Climate Change [2010]; Don’t Shout at the Telly, Change What's on it! [2009]; Developing World Challenges [2008]; and DSE3: Film Training with a Global Edge [2007]


Other sponsors and funding include: The Policy Press sponsored the filming of Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? [2010] and Limits to Growth in the 21st Century [2010]. RCE North East sponsored Living in a Changing World [2010] and The Great Debate Green Phoenix Festival programme [2010].  Northumbria University sponsored Economic Growth: Bane or Boon? [2010], The Great Sustainable Energy Debate 2008 and The Great Debate Human Nature Series 2008 (consisting of Progress of the Human Mind, Selfish Genes, Sex, and Sanity, Unnoticed Connections and Agents of Change? Darwinian Thought and Theories of Human Nature). Newcastle Science Festival sponsored: Getting Real About Climate Change [2010], Development, Sustainability and Environment 3 [2007], Science and the Human Potential [2006], The Great Energy Debate [2006], The Nature of Being Human [2005], The Great Debate: Being Human [2005], Whatever Happened to the Subject? [2004], Playing it Safe: Science and the Risk Society [2004], and Of Blank Slates and Zombies [2004]. Edinburgh University Press sponsored Agents of Change? Darwinian Thought and Theories of Human Nature [2008]. Atlantic Books sponsored: The Great Debate: Reprogramming Life [2006].  Dewjoc Architects sponsored: The Great Housing Debate [2006]. NESTA sponsored a 'Development and Environment', three day conference [2006].  





Undergraduate Teaching

Globalisations, Culture and Development (GEO2103)

Module leader: Caribbean Societies: development, voice and the everyday (GEO3125).

Dissertations (GEO3099).


Postgraduate Teaching

Nature of Explanation and Enquiry (HSS8007)

Masters in Human Geography: Concepts in Action (GEO 8017).