Dr Mark Holton

Dr Mark Holton

Lecturer in Human Geography

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


I am a lecturer in human geography at Plymouth University. Within my role I am the Stage One Tutor for first year geography students, which includes coordinating the first year induction week. I am module leader for two units, including the core first year Geography Matters and the second year Social and Cultural Geography module. I also contribute to other human geography modules at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels including residential fieldwork courses in the UK and Europe and dissertation and PhD supervision. 
My research interests are primarily couched within the social and cultural geographies of students and higher education. 



2013-14: University of Brighton - lecturer

2013-13: University of Portsmouth - lecturer (part-time)

2010-13: University of Portsmouth - PhD researcher


HEA Fellowship - Plymouth University

PhD in Geography - University of Portsmouth

MA  in Social Research Methods - University of Portsmouth

BA (Hons) in Human Geography - University of Portsmouth

Professional membership

Member of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE).

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Fellow of the a Royal Geographical Society (IBG).

Treasurer for the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (SCGRG) and a member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG), both of which are affiliated to the Royal Geographical Society.

Teaching interests

Whilst I am primarily a Social and Cultural Geographer my teaching interests spread into environmental and development geographies as well as urban studies.
I am module leader for two undergraduate modules:

GGX1200 - Geography Matters
GGH2205 - Social and Cultural Geography
I also contribute to other modules:
GGX1203 - Introducing Geography
GGX2201 - Principles and Applications of Geography 1
GGX2202 - Principles and Applications of Geography 2
GGX2200 - Fieldwork in Geography
GGX3200 - Dissertation in Geography
GGX3201 - Advanced Fieldwork in Geography
PLG505 - Urban Design: Theories, Methodologies and Practice
PhD Supervision

Research interests

My research is couched primarily within the geographies of students and higher education. My PhD thesis was entitled ‘Advancing Student Geographies: Habitus, Identities and [Re]sensing place’ and explored how [im]mobile undergraduates establish and negotiate their identities and ‘sense of place’ within their term-time University location, focusing specifically upon the adaptive relationship between habitus and place. 

My research interests are not limited to students and I am also broadly concerned with the geographies of place, mobility, identity, youth and the home.
I am currently the Principle Investigator for a project entitled PlymTour, a digital mobile walking tour of Plymouth city centre and funded by Plymouth University's Pedagogic Resesrch and Teaching Innovation fund.

Grants & contracts

Plymouth University: Pedagogic Research and Teaching Innovation Fund  Developing and evaluating ‘ Plym -Tour’ a new mobile online educational resource for students on Plymouth’s people and places  (£5025) – PI  along with Nichola Harmer and Rebecca Vickerstaff  (successful)

2016 – 2017. The mobilities of geography: examining thetrajectories of geography through the UK education system. £18,000 PlymouthUniversity: Teaching and Learning Fund – supported by RGS (PI with Dr AlisonStokes and Dr Ruth Weaver).

Finn, K., Holton, M., and Thomas, K. (forthcoming 2018). Mobilities and Belonging in 21st Century Higher Education. Bloomsbury Academic: Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education. Bloomsbury: London

Holton, M. (2017). 'Geographic Methods: Interviews' In Ward, B. (Ed) Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. Oxford University Press, New York.

Holton, M. And Finn, K. (2017). Students in cities – performing everyday mobilities in and around term-time locations. Mobilities.

Holton, M. (2017). Traditional or non-traditional students?: Incorporating UK students' living arrangements into decisions about going to university. Journal of Further and Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2017.1301408.

Holton, M. (2017). “It was amazing to see our projects come to life!” Recognising the affective and cognitive domains in geography fieldwork through tropophilia. The Journal of Geography in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/03098265.2017.1290592

Holton, M. (2017). Investigating the emotional geographies of UK University student halls of residences: encounters, co-presence and ordinary place-making. Emotion, Space and Society. 22, 4-12.

Holton, M. (2016a). Examining students’ night-time activity spaces: identities, performances and transformations. Geographical Review. DOI: 10.1111/1745-5871.12187

Holton, M. (2016b). The geographies of UK university halls of residence:examining students’ embodiment of social capital. Children’s Geographies14(1),63-76.

Holton, M. (2016c). Living together in student accommodation: performances,boundaries and homemaking. Area, 48(1), 57-63.

Riley, M., and Holton, M. (2016). Place-based interviewing: creating and conducting walking interviews. SAGE Research Methods. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/978144627305015595386

Holton, M., and Riley, M. (2016). Student geographies and homemaking: personal belonging(s) and identities. Social and Cultural Geography. 17(5), 623-645.

Holton, M. (2015a).Adapting relationships with place: investigating the evolving place attachment and ‘sense of place’ of UK higher education students during a period of intense transition. Geoforum, 59, 21-29.

Holton, M. (2015b). ‘I already know the city, I don't have to explore it’: adjustments to ‘sense of place’ for ‘local’ UK university students. Population, Space and Place. 21(8),820-831.

Holton, M. (2015c). Learning the rules of the ‘student game’: transforming the ‘student habitus’ through [im]mobility. Environment and Planning A. 47(11), 2373-2388.  

Holton, M. (2015d). Youth transitions, international student mobility and spatial reflexivity: being mobile?; Intra-European student mobility in international higher education circuits: Europe on the move. Children's Geographies, (ahead-of-print), 1-3.

Holton, M., and Riley, M. (2014). Talking on the move: place-based interviewing with undergraduate students. Area, 46(1),59-65.

Holton, M., and Riley, M. (2013). Student geographies: exploring the diverse geographies of students and higher education. Geography Compass, 7(1), 61-74.

Reports & invited lectures

Society for Research into Higher Education (Invited speaker). International Students: Transition, Belonging & Support: A Student Experience Network symposium. Paper title: The Inclusive Campus: Exploring the Social Capital of International Students in UK University Campuses (November 2015).

University of Portsmouth (Invited speaker). Autumn seminar series. Paper title: Investigating the emotional geographies of UK University student halls of residences(December 2015).