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 the University of Plymouth. Within my role I am the Employability Lead for Geography. 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 - 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).

Member of the American Association of Geographers (AAG).

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Fellow of the a Royal Geographical Society (IBG).

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

Teaching interests

I am primarily a Social and Cultural Geographer, although my teaching interests spread into planning and urban studies.
I am module leader for two undergraduate modules:

GGH2205 - Social and Cultural Geography
GGX3203 - Work Based Learning
I also contribute to other modules:
GGX1200 - Geography Matters
GGX1203 - Introducing Geography
GGX2201 - Principles and Applications of Geography 1
GGX2202 - Principles and Applications of Geography 2
GGX3200 - Dissertation in Geography
GGX3201 - Advanced Fieldwork in Geography
PLG505 - Urban Design: Theories, Methodologies and Practice
GEES522 - Masters in Human Geography
PhD Supervision
Hoayda Darkal
Pearlin Teow
Kieran Green

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 mobilities, identities, and youth.
My most recent project entitled PlymTour, a digital mobile walking tour of Plymouth city centre and was funded by Plymouth University's Pedagogic Resesrch and Teaching Innovation fund.

Grants & contracts

PlymouthUniversity: Pedagogic Research and Teaching Innovation Fund Developingand evaluating ‘PlymTour’ a new mobile online educational resource for studentson Plymouth’s people and places  (£5025)– PI  along with Nichola Harmer andRebecca Vickerstaff  (successful)

2016 –2017. The mobilities of geography: examining the trajectories ofgeography through the UK education system. £18,000 Plymouth University:Teaching and Learning Fund – supported by RGS (PI with Dr Alison Stokes and DrRuth Weaver).


VonBenzon, N., Holton, M., Wilkinson, C., and Wilkinson, S. (in preparation)Creative methodologies for geographers. SAGE: London.

Finn,K., and Holton, M. (forthcoming). EverydayMobile Belonging: Theorising Higher Education Student Mobilities for a New Century .Bloomsbury Academic: Understanding Student Experiences of Higher Education.Bloomsbury: London. 

Book chapters 

Glass, C., andHolton, M. (in preparation). College Student Development. In Ogden, A.,Streitwieser, B., and Van Mol, C. (Eds). Education Abroad: BridgingScholarship and Practice . Routledge:London. 

Holton, (forthcoming). Accommodation. In Amey, M. J., and David, M. E.(Eds). The SAGE Encyclopaedia of HigherEducation .SAGE: London. 

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


Holton,M. (in review). On the geographies of hair: exploring the entangled margins ofthe bordered body. Progress in HumanGeography. 

Holton, M. (in review). The rise (and rise) of‘vertical’ studentification: context, proximity and performance in the globalhigher education arena. Urban Studies. 

Holton, M.(in review). Walking with technology: understanding mobility-technologyassemblages. Mobilities. 

Holton, M. (2018a). Debating the geographies of contemporary higher education students:diversity, resilience, resistance? Children’sGeographies. DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2018.1536777. 

Holton, M. (2018b). Traditional or non-traditional students?:incorporating UK students’ living arrangements into decisions about going touniversity. Journal of Further and Higher Education42(4),556-569.  

Holton, M., and Finn, K.(2018a). Being-in-motion: The everyday (gendered and classed) embodiedmobilities for UK university students who commute. Mobilities13(3),426-440. 

Holton, M., and Finn, K. (2018b). Belonging, pausing, feeling: aframework of “mobile dwelling” for UK university students that live athome. Applied Mobilities, 1-15. 

Holton, M., and Harmer, N. (2018). “You don't want to peer over people'sshoulders, 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 emotionalgeographies of peer-sharing in UK University halls of residences. Emotion,Space and Society22, 4-12. 

Holton, M. (2017b). Examiningstudents’ night‐time activity spaces: identities, performances, andtransformations. Geographical Research55(1), 70-79. 

Holton,M. (2017c). “It was amazing to see our projects come to life!” Developingaffective learning during geography fieldwork through tropophilia. Journalof Geography in Higher Education41(2), 198-212. 

Holton,M. (2016a). The geographies of UK university halls of residence: examiningstudents’ embodiment of social capital. Children’sGeographies14(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: investigatingthe evolving place attachment and ‘sense of place’ of UK higher educationstudents 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 ofthe ‘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 highereducation. GeographyCompass, 7(1), 61-74. 

Special Issues 

Cheng, Y.,and Holton, M. (forthcoming). Theorizing Citizenship in Higher Education:Students as Agents for Change? Special Issue for Area

Non-academic Publications 

Holton,M. (2016). Examining Provisions for Communal Space in Plymouth UniversityHalls of Residences. Residence Life: Plymouth University. 

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

Reports & invited lectures

PerformingStudentification: homemaking and place-making in shared student accommodation.Education-led gentrification in global contexts (Xi’an Jiaotong University,China – April 2018). 

Constructing global ‘spaces’ of student friendship: thesocio-spatial co-production of friendship in UK university halls of residences.Global Students: Mapping the Field of University Lives (ZiF, Bielefeld, Germany– Dec, 2017). 

Debating the geographies of contemporary higher educationstudents: diversity, resilience, resistance? 5th InternationalConference on Geographies of Children, Youth and Families (LoughboroughUniversity – Sept, 2017).

The spaces of friendship: understanding the socio-spatial co-productionof friendship in UK university halls of residences. Exploringa sense of belonging’ and why it matters in higher education (SRHE, London –June, 2017).

Investigating the emotional geographies of UK Universitystudent halls of residences. Seminar Series (University of Portsmouth – Dec,2015). 

The Inclusive Campus: Exploring the Social Capital ofInternational Students in UK University Campuses. (Society forResearch into Higher Education – Nov, 2015).