Somewhere in my DNA there must be a polymer for landscape. That’s my explanation for the appeal of landscape, which has situated itself into almost every aspect of my everyday life since I-don’t-know-when. It manifested itself most plainly in an interest in geography. If only I had been born a century ago I would have made it as the world’s best geomorphologist, roaming the hills in my lace-up boots and daringly wearing trousers, with a dripping sandwich in my rucksack and issuing treatises on the description of landforms and processes. Fortunately for the discipline of physical geography, the science, physics and maths required to speak about landforms and processes kept me at arms length during my first degree and I ended up being a historical geographer instead.
I did a first degree in Geography and English Literature, and it’s probably the English Literature training that made me the geographer I am today: one interested in people, place and landscape, the affective qualities of landscape, the way it inspires, and the way people write about landscapes and bring it to life in various ways.
I’ve been at the University of Exeter, first at the Exeter campus and then the Cornwall Campus, for 13 years as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and now Associate Professor. I am currently working on a project on how people imagine the effects of climate change on familiar, local landscapes.
I was appointed as a Director of Landscape Research Group in 1998, was Deputy Editor of Landscape Research from 2004 to 2009 and Associate Editor from 2009 to the present, and Vice-Chair from 2000 to 2001 and 2005 to 2009.