I grew up on a small family-run farm in central Suffolk but have lived in central Nottingham for some time now. I studied Geography at Nottingham in the 1980s, completing both my BA and PhD there. The PhD was a cultural-historical geography study of parkland in the late eighteenth century.
After that I’ve pursued an academic career. Part of my academic work has built on the PhD and focuses on estate landscapes in the long eighteenth century, both in Britain and its Caribbean colonies. My first visit to the Caribbean during a period of research leave in 2009 gave me a different perspective on this work and restressed to me the importance of being in the landscape. I’m currently working on a small research project for English Heritage on the slavery connections of two of their country houses.
I also work in another area, which I summarise as contemporary rural/rural-environmental geography. My first job was in the interdisciplinary Centre for Rural Studies at the Royal Agricultural College, working on a Leverhulme project on the rural church. I then moved to the School of Social Sciences at Bath University where I worked on an ESRC project on agricultural pollution. In 1994 I was appointed as Lecturer at Nottingham University, undertaking more work on agricultural landscapes, technologies and sustainability and rural governance alongside the historical research. I’ve also taught on both the Masters courses in Landscape and Culture and Environmental Management. In this context, landscape continues to be an inspiring, challenging and somewhat elusive concept for me.
I’ve been involved with Landscape Research Group since the early 1990s, becoming a Director in 1993, and have chaired the judging of dissertation prizes in recent years.