The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Peter Hopkins

Professor of Social Geography


I am a Professor of Social Geography at Newcastle. I am a member of the Geographies of Social Change research cluster and the Newcastle Social Geographies Collective where we recently produced a new textbook Social Geographies: an introduction. I am also affiliated to the Power, Space, Politics research cluster in Geography and I  am a member of the Youth Research Group in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology.


My research and teaching interests centre upon the challenges and complexities of social 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 and ageism – shape people’s everyday lives, structure the resources available to them and influence who they become. 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. I provide the Secretariat for the Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia in the Scottish Parliament that was set up in 2018.


My work tends to draw upon debates in urban and social geography and is motivated by anti-racism and feminist geography. My Google Scholar profile is here. There are four main area of research and these include:


Racism, Islamophobia and Muslim identities
- The everyday lives and spatialities of young Muslims
- Islamophobia and anti-Muslim acts


Intersectionality, equality and diversity
- Minority groups experiences of university
- Uses and applications of intersectionality


Young people, place and identity
- Young people, social identities and political inequalities
- Youth transitions and intergenerational relations


Masculinities, ethnicities and place
- Religious, racialised and ethnicised masculinities
- Constructions of hegemonic and marginalised masculine identities


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 have previously served as the University Dean of Social Justice (2018-2021), I led on embedding the principles of social justice within the different functions of the institution. Prior to this, I was Research Director for Geography (2017-2018) and the Academic Director of the ESRC North East Doctoral Training Centre (2015-2017) where I led on the application to secure reaccreditation from ESRC. Prior to this, I served as the Postgraduate Director for the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology (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. Before 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, an MRes and BA(Hons) from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and in 2020, I completed a Certificate in Executive Coaching and Mentoring through the Institute for Leadership and Management. 


As Professor Social Geography, my research focuses upon the intersections of youth, race, religion and masculinities. I supervise a range of doctoral and postdoctoral work on a diversity of issues within social, cultural and political geography, and in neighbouring fields. I was appointed a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2018.


Research roles
I served as Managing Editor of 
Gender, Place and Culture from March 2013 until December 2016 (serving as an Editor during 2012 and Book Review Editor from 2009-2011)

Editorial board member of: 
Gender, Place and Culture (2009-)
Children's Geographies (2009-)
Contemporary Islam (2008-2016)

I was the Founding Chair of the RGS-IBG 
Geographies of Justice Research Group (2011-2016). 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).

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

Member of the ESRC’s Strategic Advisory Network, Sept 2016-Mar 2020

I am an editorial member of the Spaces and Practices of Justice book series published by Bristol University Press and previously co-edited (with Rachel Pain) of a series of books on Gender, Space and Society with Ashgate up until 2016.

Within Geography at Newcastle, I have previously served as Director of Research (2017 - 2018) and covered the role of Impact Director during semester 1 of 2017/8. I have also served as the convenor of the Geographies of Social Change research cluster from 2014-2015.


Esteem Indicators
2018 Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
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)
Visiting Scholar, Royal Melbourne Institute for Technology (Dec 2011)
Visiting Scholar, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization, Deakin University (Jan 2017)


Responding to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the context of Covid19 - resilience, adaptation, and new forms of care (PI with Matt Benwell (co-I) and Robin Finlay (co-I)) - ESRC £324,282 (2020-2022)

The everyday experiences of young refugees and asylum-seekers in public spaces (Project leader with Matt Benwell (Newcastle), Kathrin Horschelmann (Leipzig), Ilse van Liempt (Utrecht), Mattias de Backer (Liege) – HERA Public Space: Culture and Integration in Europe – Euros 941,104 (2019-2022)

Charting the landscape of Islamophobia in Scotland and North East England (Faculty Impact Fund and IAA) - £14,620 (2019-2020)

Mapping the landscape of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred in Scotland - ESRC-IAA Co-Production (with Tell MAMA) - £10.000 (2018-2019).

Improving capacity for, and understanding of, Islamophobia and anti-Muslim acts – ESRC IAA - £10,000 (2017-2018).

Young people, nationalism and post-nationalism: multi-cultural belonging in hyper-diverse neighbourhoods (co-I with Anoop Nayak (PI), Matthew Benwell, Raksha Pande, Michael Richardson and Robin Finlay (postdoctoral researcher) Research Excellence Academy (2017-2019).

Spaces of anti-Muslim Acts - Marie Curie Sklodowska Actions Individual Fellowship (Supervisor to Kawtar Najib (Researcher) - Euros183,454 (2016-2018)

Contested spaces of diversity – Research Excellence Academy (with Graeme Mearns (postdoctoral researcher) (2016-2019)

Storying sexual relationships: the narratives and practices of British Pakistani Muslims - AHRC - (co-I with Richard Phillips (PI) (Sheffield), Claire Chambers (co-I) (York), Raksha Pande (co-I) (Newcastle) and Nafhesa Ali (PDRA) (Sheffield) - £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) (Stirling), John Markey (Glasgow), Stephen Millar (Queens Belfast), Simon McKerrell (Newcastle), John Richardson (Loughborough), and Michael Richardson (Newcastle) (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) (Edinburgh), Gurchathen Sanghera (co-I) (St Andrews) and Kate Botterill (PDRA)) - £452,062 (2013-2016)

Muslims on campus: university life for Muslim students in Australia - Western Sydney University (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 (now at Kingston University)

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 (Newcastle), Matt Smith (Northumbria) and Elizabeth Olson (Edinburgh)) - £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 (Researcher) (both Edinburgh) and Rachel Pain (Durham) (co-I)) - £243,284 (2009-11)

Activism, Citizenship and Volunteering ESRC seminar series (with Matt Smith (PI), Katy Jenkins (both Northumbria), Liz Bondi and Elizabeth Olson (both Edinburgh) and Nina Laurie (Newcastl)- £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 (now Chapel Hill) (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:
Niamh Lear
is researching Irishness amongst second generation young people in London (ESRC 1 3 studentship, 2016 onwards) (with Michael Richardson).
Libby Morrison is researching intergenerational justice and rural disadvantage in Northumberland (ESRC 1 3 collaborative studentship with Coordinating for Age) (with Tom Scharf and Michael Richardson).
Matthew Shahin Richardson is researching queer Jewish experiences in the UK (ESRC 3.5 collaborative studentship with the Council of Christians and Jews) (with Raksha Pande and Yulia Egorova (Durham)).

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).
Megan Todman is researching black and minority ethnic engagement with galleries (AHRC Northern Bridge studentship) (with Joanne Sayner (Arts and Cultures)).

Helen Woolley is researching adopted children’s transitions to security in middle childhood (ESRC 3.5 collaborative with Adoption UK) (with Matej Blazek and Helen Charnley).

Students who have completed their doctoral studies include:

Alessandro Boussalem studied 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 completed a thesis about Christian migrant workers in Shenzhen province (Research Excellence Academy 3.5 studentship, 2016 onwards) (with Raksha Pande)
Nathar Iqbal’s thesis is about the closet, encounter and lived religion for LGBT Muslims (ESRC 1 3 studentship, completed 2020) (with Mark Casey)

Matthew Wood’s thesis is about sexual health, bodies and cultures (EPSRC Digital Civics, completed 2020) (with Kellie Morrissey and Peter Wright)

Sertanya Reddy’s (UNC Chapel Hill) thesis is about young people’s participation in global education scholarship programs (committee chair, Elizabeth Olson (UNC Chapel Hill))

Naomi Maynard’s thesis was about ‘Radical or Neoliberal Participation? Young People's Perspectives Within and Beyond the Arena of Participation’ (ESRC 3 collaborative studentship with Investing in Children, 2012 onwards) (with Rachel Pain).
Jenny Smith’s
thesis is about destitute asylum-seekers negotiations of belonging, mobility and ontological security (ESRC 3 collaborative studentship with West End Refugee Service, 2014 onwards) (with Anoop Nayak and Lindsay Cross).
Carl Bonner-Thompson's thesis is about the sensory, visceral and haptic geographies of men who use Grindr (ESRC 1 3 studentship, completed 2018) (with Mark Casey)

Sean Gill’s thesis is about young Poles' transitions to adulthood in Northumberland (ESRC 3 collaborative studentship with Northumberland County Council, 2013 onwards) (with Alison Stenning and Jane Walker).
Aliraza Javaid thesis explores male rape, masculinities and sexualities (self-funded, completed 2017) (with Elaine Campbell).
Joanna Wiseman studied the 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 3 studentship, completed 2014) (with Janice McLaughlin).
Rachel Clementsthesis is about the life transitions of Polish migrant parents in the North East of England (ESRC 3.5 studentship, completed 2014) (with Alison Stenning).
Rahielah Ali's thesis is about 'Gender, faith and locality: Muslim women in Scotland’ (ESRC Scottish Governmental 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, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, National University of Singapore, Reading, Roskilde and St Andrews), religious studies (Chester) and Islamic Studies (Edinburgh), social work (Durham), peace studies (Coventry) sociology (Edinburgh and Monash), social psychology (Cape Town), 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


I am interested in promoting excellence in postgraduate teaching and supervision, particularly in mentoring and coaching postgraduate students to publish their work in international peer-reviewed journals. I regularly convene writing and publishing workshops for doctoral students; please contact me if you would like me to convene a workshop. Here is a blog post about publishing as a postgraduate based on a presentation for the British Sociological Association Postgraduate Forum.  


I make a small contribution to postgraduate modules and workshops on HSS8104 Qualitative Methodology in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (on focus groups), and Research in the Wider Context (about publishing in the social sciences). I have previously contributed to HSS8006 ‘Managing a PhD’ sessions about managing your supervisor and about securing ethical approval for your research.


In 2011, I was awarded a Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Teacher Award. 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.


I have served as external examiner for a number of programmes and at institutions including Geography at Dundee (2010-2013); Human Geography and Planning at Cardiff University (2015-2018); and Geography at the University of Exeter (2015-2019). I am currently the external examiner for the MSc in Social Research Methods at Dundee (2018-2021).


Undergraduate teaching
In previous years, I have contributed to the following modules:
Geo2043 Key Methods in Human Geography 
Geo2100 Migration, belonging and everyday geopolitics: contested geographies of New York City (module leader)
Geo2110 Social Geographies
Geo2111 Doing Geographical Research: Theory and Practice
Geo3105 Young People, Place and Identity (module leader)
Geo3099 Dissertation