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 the University of Plymouth. Within my role I am the Employability Lead for Geography and Deputy Lead for SoGEES. I lead two modules - GGH2205: Social and Cultural Geography and GGX3203: Work Based Learning - as well as contributing to other human geography modules at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels including residential fieldwork courses in the UK and overseas and dissertation and PhD supervision.
2013-14: University of Brighton - lecturer
2013-13: University of Portsmouth - lecturer (part-time)
2010-13: University of Portsmouth - PhD researcher
HEA Fellowship - University of Plymouth
PhD in Geography - University of Portsmouth
MA in Social Research Methods - University of Portsmouth
BA (Hons) in Human Geography - University of Portsmouth
Member of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE).
Member of the American Association of Geographers (AAG).
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).
Fellow of the a Royal Geographical Society (IBG).
Education Officer for the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (SCGRG) RGS-IBG.
Committee member for the (Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG) and Higher Education Research Group (HERG) RGS-IBG.
Roles on external bodies
External examiner for Edge Hill University (2019-2022)
I am primarily a Social and Cultural Geographer, although my teaching interests spread into planning and urban studies.
I contribute towards the following programmes:
PLG505 – Urban Design: theories, methodologies and practice
PLG503 – Environmental Knowledge: From Field to Stakeholder (planning)
MSc Environmental Consultancy / Sustainable Environmental Management
GEES519 – Environmental Knowledge: From Field to Stakeholder
GEES520 – MSc Dissertation
MSc Human Geography
GEES522 – Research in Human Geography: Philosophies and Design
BA / BSc Geography (ALL)
GGX3200 – Dissertation in Geography
GGX3201 – Advanced Fieldwork in Geography
GGX3203 – Work Based Learning (Module Leader)
GGX2204 – Fieldwork in Geography
GGX2201 – Principles and Applications in Geography 1
GGX2201 – Principles and Applications in Geography 2
GGH2205 – Social and Cultural Geography (Module Leader – 2019/20 only)
GGX1200 – Geography Matters
GGX1205 – Geographical Journeys
GGX1206 – Sustainable Futures
GGH1203 – Culture, Society and Space
Hoayda Darkal 2015 - 2020 (DoS)
Pearlin Teow 2018 - 2021 (DoS)
Kieran Green 2018 - 2022 (2nd Supervisor)
Staff serving as external examiners
External examiner for Edge Hill University (2019-2022)
My broad research area focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of urban sustainability in coastal cities and the significant societal challenges concerning issues of community, health and wellbeing in urban spaces. This aligns with the Maritime Environments and Societies dimension of the university’s 2030 Strategy. I am particularly interested in how the migration of young people shapes cities and how this influences the design and management of the urban form. The key focus for much of my work has been on the social, cultural, economic and physical impacts of studentification – the outcome of student in/out-migration upon towns and cities. This responds directly to the ongoing global challenges faced by institutions, communities and planners in developing sustainable, mixed communities that can support the thousands of young people that migrate in and out of university locations each year. My contribution comes from examining the impacts of university life, in terms of how and where students live and learn, the influence this has upon local communities and infrastructure, and the effect of student life upon their, and others’, health and wellbeing. I am currently seeking funding to examine sustainable living in other coastal cities in the UK, Europe and Australia. In broadening the scope of my wellbeing research I am also exploring the role of other urban spaces in producing care and support for populations.
The rise (and rise) of vertical studentification: exploring the drivers of studentification in Australia (2018-19): This project explored Australia as a new frontier for studentification research and how the rapid emergence of purpose built student accommodation in Australian cities impacts upon existing infrastructure. Specifically we revealed issues surrounding generating sustainable and durable accommodation for seasonal use. Outputs included: A paper for Urban Studies; a public lecture for UWA; a UWA Research Collaboration Award grant (AUD $29,973) (announced early 2020); and the development of a new Australian studentification network.
Exploring the emotional geographies of UK university student halls of residences (2016-17): This project investigated how the morphology of shared halls of residences impact upon the wellbeing of students that reside in them. Using place-based interviewing, photo elicitation and cognitive mapping, this project revealed how communal space acts as a fundamental design feature for supporting students’ wellbeing and mental health. Outputs included: an academic paper for Emotion, Space and Society; five conference presentations, including two invited lectures in London and Germany; and a report for Residence Life.
Developing and evaluating ‘Plym-Tour’ a new mobile online educational resource for students on Plymouth’s people and places (2016-17): My work covers not only studentification in terms of health and wellbeing, but also how students learn. This project examined how technology can assist with supporting undergraduates’ experiences of, and connections with, their term-time locations. We designed and implemented ‘PlymTour’, a digital walking tour of Plymouth that was housed in the University of Plymouth mobile app. Outputs included: academic papers for Mobilities and Area; four conference presentations – including the VC’s Teaching and Learning Conference in 2017 – and a teaching resource.‘Men-scapes’ of care? Performing masculinities and wellbeing in the men’s hairdressing salon (2018-20): Building on my previous wellbeing work, my most recent research project extends the concept of wellbeing to examine the role of men’s hairdressing salons in providing interactive and effective spaces of care for men. Interviews and participant observation were used to explore how men’s interactions and behaviours, contribute towards fostering wellbeing and (self)care. Outputs included: a paper for Progress in Human Geography; two conference sessions and a special issue for Social and Cultural Geography.
Grants & contracts
2019 Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellowship Programme (University of Western Australia). (AUD $3,000). Supported by Dr Clare Mouat – UWA.
2016-2017 Developing and evaluating ‘PlymTour’ a new mobile online educational resource for students on Plymouth’s people and places.University of Plymouth: Pedagogic Research and Teaching Innovation Fund (£5025) PI along with Nichola Harmer and Rebecca Vickerstaff.
2015-2016 The mobilities of geography: examining the trajectories of geography through the UK education system. University of Plymouth: Teaching and Learning Fund – supported by RGS (£18,000). Co-I along with Dr Alison Stokes and Dr Ruth Weaver (PI).
von Benzon, N., Holton, M., Wilkinson, C., and Wilkinson, S. (in preparation) Creative methods for human geographers. SAGE: London.
Finn,K., and Holton, M. (2019). Everyday Mobile Belonging: Theorising Higher Education Student Mobilities for a New Century. Bloomsbury Academic: Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education. Bloomsbury: London.
Finn, K., and Holton, M. (forthcoming). Dynamic qualitative methods: attending to place, space and time in higher education. In Delamont, S., and Ward, M. R. M. (Eds). The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education (2nd ed). Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.
Glass, C., and Holton, M. (forthcoming). College Student Development. In Ogden, A.,Streitwieser, B., and Van Mol, C. (Eds).Education Abroad: Bridging Scholarship and Practice . Routledge: London.
Holton, (forthcoming). Accommodation. In Amey, M. J., and David, M. E. (Eds). The SAGE Encyclopaedia of Higher Education. SAGE: London.
Holton, M. (2017). Geographic Methods: Interviews In Ward, B. (Ed) Oxford Bibliographies in Geography. Oxford University Press: New York.
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Holton, M. (2019). On the geographies of hair: exploring the entangled margins of the bordered body. Progress in Human Geography, DOI: 10.1177/19838055.
Holton, M. (2019). Walking with technology: understanding mobility-technology assemblages. Mobilities, DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2019.1580866.
Holton, M. (2018a). Debating the geographies of contemporary higher education students: diversity, resilience, resistance? Children’s Geographies. DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2018.1536777.
Holton, M. (2018b). Traditional or non-traditional students?: incorporating UK students’ living arrangements into decisions about going to university. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 42(4), 556-569.
Holton, M., and Finn, K. (2018a). Being-in-motion: The everyday (gendered and classed) embodied mobilities for UK university students who commute. Mobilities, 13(3), 426-440.
Holton, M., and Finn, K. (2018b). Belonging, pausing, feeling: a framework of 'mobile dwelling' for UK university students that live at home. Applied Mobilities, 1-15.
Holton, M., and Harmer, N. (2018). “You don't want to peer over people's shoulders, it feels too rude!” The moral geographies of using participants’ personal smartphones in research. Area. DOI: 10.1111/area.12425
Holton, M. (2017a). A place for sharing: The emotional geographies of peer-sharing in UK University halls of residences. Emotion, Space and Society, 22, 4-12.
Holton, M. (2017b). Examining students’ night‐time activity spaces: identities, performances, and transformations. Geographical Research, 55(1), 70-79.
Holton, M. (2017c). “It was amazing to see our projects come to life!” Developing affective learning during geography fieldwork through tropophilia. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 41(2), 198-212.
Holton, M. (2016a). The geographies of UK university halls of residence: examining students’ embodiment of social capital. Children’s Geographies, 14(1), 63-76.
Holton, M. (2016b). Living together in student accommodation: performances, boundaries and homemaking. Area, 48(1), 57-63.
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, 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.Special Issues
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. (2016). Examining Provisions for Communal Space in Plymouth University Halls of Residences. Residence Life: Plymouth University.
Reports & invited lectures
30 April 2019. UniverCities: investigating the influence of student accommodation on global cities. University of Western Australia. Perth, Australia
26 July 2018. Beyond the Pedestrian: Walking in Research, Theory, Practice and Performance. University of Liverpool. Liverpool, UK
20-22 March, 2018. Performing Studentification: homemaking and place-making in shared student accommodation. Education-led gentrification in global contexts. Jiaotong University. Xi’an, China
7-8 December, 2017. Constructing global ‘spaces’ of student friendship: the socio-spatial co-production of friendship in UK university halls of residences. Global Students: Mapping the Field of University Lives. Bielefeld, Germany
25-27 September, 2017. Youth-full Geographies panel session. 5th International Conference on Geographies of Children, Youth and Families. Loughborough, UK
9 June 2017. Constructing ‘spaces’ of student friendship: understanding the socio-spatial co-production of friendship in UK university halls of residences. Society for Research in Higher Education. London, UK
9 Dec 2015. Investigating the emotional geographies of UK University student halls of residences. University of Portsmouth Seminar Series. Portsmouth, UK
20 Nov, 2015. The Inclusive Campus: Exploring the Social Capital of International Students in UK University Campuses. Society for Research into Higher Education. London, UK