Dr Nichola Harmer

Dr Nichola Harmer

Lecturer in Human Geography

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



Lecturer in Human Geography


PhD Human Geography, Plymouth University, 2013.MA Politics (International Relations), University of Exeter, 1993.
BA (Hons) American Studies (Literature), University of Sussex, 1989.
PGCAP Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Plymouth 2017

Professional membership

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with IBGFellow of Advance HE


Teaching interests

I am Admissions Tutor for Geography and teach on a range of undergraduate Geography modules. At Stage One these include leading our Sustainable Futures module (GGX1206) and teaching about research methods in our Changing Places module (GGH1202). I lead and teach on Stage Four module: Citizenship, Territory, War (GGH3208) and co-teach on Environmental Politics and Governance (GGH3210). I am a personal/academic tutor across the undergraduate stages for our Geography with International Relations students. I supervise undergraduate dissertations in Human Geography and supervise masters level dissertations in Sustainable Environmental Management. I also teach on the MRes Human Geography. I am currently second supervisor for one PhD student researching the impacts of fracking on rural communities in the UK and another PhD student examining the implementation of environmental legislation in Gibraltar. 


Research interests

My research interest cover three main areas with some significant overlap: the relationship between the UK and the British Overseas Territories, sustainability and creative approaches to research in human geography, particularly literature and art. My PhD focused on perceptions of the contemporary relationship between the UK and the overseas territories, focusing on issues of power, identity and ethics. More recently I have researched UK Parliamentary debate on the overseas territories and parliamentary discourse on marine and terrestrial environments in the overseas territories. I have also contributed to research and co-authored articles on a wide range of sustainability issues including eco-cities, climate change adaptation, and emissions trading schemes. Having studied American Literature for my undergraduate degree, I am also interested in literary geographies and have written on post-peak oil apocalyptic fiction.


Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

McGrath E, Yarwood R & Harmer N (2023) 'Crossing riverborderscapes and a view from in‐between: Passenger ferries in South West England' Area , DOI Open access
Harmer N, Bailey I & Hart N (2022) 'UK state identity-making and British overseas territories’ environments in times of ecological crisis and geopolitical change' Small States and Territories Publisher Site Open access
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
Stokes AJ & Harmer N (2018) 'The value of 'having a go': Trialling a project-based learning activity to inform curriculum design' Journal of Geoscience Education 66, (4) , DOI Open access
Harmer NA (2018) 'Spaces of concern: Parliamentary discourse on Britain's overseas territories' Geographical Journal , DOI Open access
Holton MJW & 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 51, (1) 131-141 , DOI Open access
Inderberg THJ, Bailey I & Harmer N (2017) 'Designing New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme' Global Environmental Politics 17, (3) 31-50 , DOI Open access
Harmer NA (2017) 'Crude geopolitics: territory and governance in post-peak oil imaginaries' Territory, Politics, Governance , DOI Open access
Harmer NA & Stokes A (2016) '“Choice may not necessarily be a good thing”: student attitudes to autonomy in interdisciplinary project-based learning in GEES disciplines' Journal of Geography in Higher Education 40, (4) , DOI Open access
Harmer NA, Gaskarth J & Gibb R (2015) 'Distant Relations: Identity and Materiality in Elite Discourse on Britain's Overseas Territories' Global Society 29, (4) 510-529 , DOI
Kelly CL, Ferrara A, Wilson GA, Ripullone F, Nolè A, Harmer N & Salvati L (2015) 'Community resilience and land degradation in forest and shrubland socio-ecological systems: Evidence from Gorgoglione, Basilicata, Italy' Land Use Policy 46, 11-20 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Caprotti F, Springer C & Harmer NA (2015) '‘ECO’ FOR WHOM? Envisioning Eco-urbanism in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, China' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research , DOI
Tyrrell N & Harmer NA (2015) 'A good move? Young people’s comparisons of rural and urban living in Britain' Childhood , DOI
Harmer N & Rahman S (2014) 'Climate Change Response at the Farm Level: A Review of Farmers’ Awareness and Adaptation Strategies in Developing Countries' Geography Compass 8, (11) 808-822 , DOI Open access
Harmer NA & Stokes A (2014) 'The Benefits and Challenges of Project-Based Learning: a Review of the Literature' PedRIO Paper 6 Publisher Site
Harmer N (2021) 'Working with literary texts' in Von Benzon N; Holton M; Wilkinson C; Wilkinson S Creative Methods for Human Geographers Sage 193-204
Harmer N (2020) 'Territory, identity and the UK Overseas Territories' in Storey D A Research Agenda for Territory and Territoriality Edward Elgar Publishing 83-102 , DOI
CAPROTTI F & Harmer NA (2017) '‘Spatialising urban sustainability transitions: eco-cities, multilevel perspectives and the political ecology of scale in the Bohai Rim, China'' in Frantzeskaki N; Castan-Broto E; Coenen L; Loorbach D Urban Sustainability Transitions Routledge
Inderberg THJ, Bailey I & Harmer NA (2017) 'Adopting and designing New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme' in Wettestad J; Gulbrandsen LH The Evolution of Carbon Markets: Design and Diffusion London and New York Routledge 105-123