Miss Eva McGrath

Miss Eva McGrath

Social Scientist

School of Biological and Marine Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Eva McGrath is a social scientist, who researches narratives about water. She values participatory methods, including creative mapping, as well as walking interviews, biographies and in-depth focus groups. She is interested in the value of stories, sound, drawings, writing, photographs, videos, memories, trails, objects and associations to understand the importance of place. On the Green Minds team, she is initially leading a sentiment analysis of social media, paying attention to how green and blue space is represented in the city of Plymouth and will thereafter lead participatory research to understand broader cultural and social values.

During her PhD in Human Geography, she creatively explored rivers and ferry crossings in the South West where she developed an innovative participatory methodology to invite members of the public to reflect upon their journey, landscape, senses and self.

She studied Literature at King's College London, where she analysed the theme of water across texts, genres, disciplines, time scales and in alternative watery forms (sea, river, ice, canal, delta, rain, marsh).


Research Fellow, Green Minds, School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth, 2020 - 2022

PhD Candidate Human Geography, University of Plymouth, 2017 – 2020

MA Comparative Literature, King’s College London, 2016 (Distinction)

BA English Language and Literature, King’s College London, 2015 (First)

King’s Leadership and Professional Skills Award, King’s College London, 2015 (Gold)

Professional membership

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment 

Teaching interests

Seminars and Teaching: Undergraduate

February 2020 GGH3206 Geography with International Relations, University of Plymouth. Created and delivered a 2 hour lecture on the theme of 'Borders' for third year Human Geography with International relations students, utilising PhD research on rivers and borders, and which included a creative task.

October 2019 GGH3201 Citizenship module, University of Plymouth. Delivered a 2 hour interactive seminar with third year Human Geography students using a stakeholder debate structure to understand different perspectives of Brexit for citizens in the UK, Europe and Commonwealth.

March 2019 GGX1204 Plymouth and Identity module, University of Plymouth. Delivered 12 hours of workshops to second year Human Geography students focused upon the collection and analysis of primary data related to the experience of place through ethnographic methods.

October 2018 GGH3201 Citizenship module, University of Plymouth. Delivered a 2 hour interactive seminar with third year Human Geography students using a stakeholder debate structure to understand different perspectives of Brexit for citizens in the UK and Europe.

Interactive Workshops: Secondary School

I worked as a Debate Mate Mentor with the educational charity Debate Mate (2012 - 2017) in London, Nepal, Nigeria and South Korea, teaching students how to debate through interactive workshops focused upon structure, style and content. Key skills include the development of critical, creative and lateral thinking, teamwork, resilience, empathy, leadership and confidence.

Research interests


Rivers, borders, terrain


Creative, qualitative, mobile methods

More than Human relations (including weather)

Geography and Literature

Grants & contracts

University of Plymouth Studentship 2017 - 2020. 
Supervisors Dr. Nichola Harmer  https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/nichola-harmer

Creative practice & artistic projects

Invited Artistic Collaborations

July 2019 Kate Paxman, (artist) ‘Excursion’, Paignton Beach, UK. A staged exercise in non-representational ethnographic practices that are site-responsive

May 2019 Laura Denning, (academic artist) ‘Water Journeys’, Bridgewater & Somerset Canal, UK. Advisory and participatory role with 12 other female scholars and artists to create a conversation around watery themes whilst cruising the Bridgewater & Somerset Canal.

February 2019 Andy Hughes, (environmental artist) ‘Plastic Scoop’, University of Plymouth, UK. Advisory and participatory role as he develops his funded environmental project using machinima filmmaking as a creative method to share new perspectives and approaches about plastic pollution, climate change and ecology through in-game footage from Grand Theft Auto V and archival footage.

December 2018 ‘Pies, Pints and PhD’s’, (marine biology) National Marine Aquarium. Invited to present research to a non-specialised audience to showcase the richness and diversity of research into river and marine environments.

June 2017 ‘Looking for Melville’, British Library, London (literature). Invited to chair a discussion at the British Library with artists Caroline Hack, Michael Hall and producer Dr. Shelly Piasecka. The audience comprised of members of the public and specialised, international Melville academics, and involved prior communication with the participants to plan dialogue and structure the event.

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted


McGrath E., Harmer, N., and Yarwood, R., (2020) ‘Ferries as travelling landscapes: tourists and watery mobilities’ in eds. Kaaristo, M., and Rhodes, S., ‘Travelling and travelled landscapes: imaginations, politics and mobilities of tourism’, International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research. (forthcoming)

McGrath E, Harmer N & Yarwood R 2020 'Ferries as travelling landscapes: tourism and watery mobilities' International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research ahead-of-print, (ahead-of-print) , DOI Open access

Other academic activities

Organised Conferences

September 2021. Rivers as Borders? double panel session, RGS - IBG, London.Co-organised panel with Rebekka Kanesu, Trier University. http://https//reseaux.parisnanterre.fr/call-for-contribution-cfp-rgs-ibg-2020-rivers-as-borders/

September 2019. Flows of Entanglement: how rivers shape identities, University of Plymouth, Co-organised conference with Sally Sutton and Zoe Latham, University of Plymouth https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/whats-on/flows-of-entanglement-how-rivers-shape-identities


June 2020. Anthropology and Geography Conference, London. Paper entitled "Crossing over the space between: rivers, ferries and liminality" in the 'Embodying Liminality in Transitional Spaces', chaired by Les Roberts and Hazel Andrews

September 2019. Stories that Matter: exploring (re)presentation and communication of hydrosocial research, Workshop with Delta Project Team, Cologne, Germany, chaired by Franz Krause, Sandro Simon, Nora Horisberger, Benoit Ivars, Teresa Cremer

April 2019. International Society for Ethnology and Folklore, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Paper entitled “Speaking rivers: the lyrical, the literary and the literal narratives of rivers in South West England” in the “Social Lives of Rivers and Canals” panel, chaired by Maarja Kaaristo, Francesco Visentin

September 2018. Royal Geographical Society Conference, Cardiff University. Paper entitled: “Shall we cross the river?” Exploring narratives of tourists taking to the water in the South West” in the “Travelling Landscapes” panel, chaired by Maarja Kaaristo, Stephen Rhodes

July 2018: Mobilities and Migration, University of Plymouth. Paper entitled: ‘Across the River: the role of river ferries in fluctuating, connecting, and leaving waiting bankside communities’, chaired by Mark Holton

June 2018. Liquidscapes: tales and tellings of watery worlds and fluid states, Dartington. Paper entitled: ‘Fluid River Borders: ferry crossing narratives and the experience of being between’ in the “Spaces Between” panel.

December 2017. Cornerstone Heritage Symposium, Saltram House. Paper entitled: ‘Traces across the Water: ferries, horses, borders and watercourses of the Tamar River 1700 – 2017’

September 2017. Royal Geographic Society Conference, Imperial College London

July 2017. Sea as Archive, Plymouth University.

June 2017. Looking for Melville, British Library. Chaired a discussion with artists Caroline Hack, Michael Hall and producer Dr. Shelley Piasecka. The audience comprised of members of the public and specialised, international Melville academics.

June 2017. Territories: Land/Water Symposium, Plymouth University.

June 2017: On the Moors: Performance Experience, Dartmoor.

April 2017. Mobilities, Literature and Culture, Lancaster University. Paper entitled: 'Movement through the waters: Sound, Song and Symphony in Herman Melville's Moby Dick' in the “Music and Soundscapes” panel. 

April 2017. NNCN Water, Leeds Trinity. Paper entitled: 'Crossing the River into freedom: borders, form and maternal connection in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin' in the “Slavery and Liberation” panel. 

September 2016. Postcolonial Seas Research Seminar Series, University of London. 

September 2015. Underwater Worlds: Aquatic Visions in Art, Science and Literature, University of Oxford.