Miss Eva McGrath

Miss Eva McGrath

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)


Eva McGrath is a fully funded PhD candidate within the Human Geography Department at Plymouth University (2017-2020), creatively exploring river borders and ferry crossings in the South West.

During her Undergraduate and Masters in Literature at King’s College London, she specialised in aquatic readings of literary texts: studying the theme of water across disciplines, time scales and in alternative forms (sea, river, ice, canal, delta, rain, marsh).


PhD Candidate Human Geography, Plymouth University 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

Research interests

* Water and Human Geography: people living by water, life underwater (whales), relations on the water and across the water

* River borders, river conflict, topographical territory, invisible, political, narratological and imagined boundaries

* Water Transport: namely ships and ferries as micro-political, micro-cultural spaces in motion

* Mobilities

* Creative, Qualitative Methodologies

* More than Human relations (including weather)

* Geography and Literature

Grants & contracts

PhD studentship with Plymouth University

Across the River: the role of border watercourses and ferry crossings in shaping bankside identities.

This project seeks to investigate the role of river borders and ferries in constructing and re-shaping identities at various spatial scales in the South West and understand the ways in which the space of the water itself is perceived, crossed over, imagined, reflected and negotiated by those living on different sides.

My research style is people centred and takes place on the move: in the sense that I shift from the land’s edge to the water: travelling on ferries to experience the river border space and talking to individuals on ferries for different purposes; from the mundane to the recreational. I listen to the diverse perspectives of locals living on the river border and those visiting the area. I seek to use creative methods to ascertain how individuals see and feel whilst on the river, between the banksides.


Dr. Nichola Harmer

Professor Richard Yarwood

Other academic activities


April 2019. International Society for Ethnology and Folklore, Santiago de Compostela. Paper to be 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 

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

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

June 2018. Liquidscapes: tales and tellings of watery worlds and fluid states, Dartington. Paper to be 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.