Dr Michael Leyshon
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography


I am a social and cultural geographer interested in youth culture, identity, care and environmental volunteering.  My research explores, and seeks solutions to, the ways in which young people and the elderly, particularly in rural areas, become socially, politically and economically excluded from society. I am also an expert on young people and alcohol and have given evidence to Parliament on the issue. I am currently working on a project that enables individuals to live more sustainably by encouraging communities to adopt pro-social ways of living through volunteering.

Broad research specialisms:

My research focuses on the leisure lifestyles of rural youth through exploring how children and young people make sense of the world around them. My research can be divided into two main areas, identity/performativity and sustainable lifestyles. My work on identity and performativity challenges contemporary studies that serve to homogenise rural youth and position them as a passive marginal other. By focusing on the way in which rural youth identities are created, contested and recreated my research demonstrates that young people are far from being marginal or powerless and that they lead diverse lifestyles. My work on sustainable lifestyles seeks solutions to contemporary issues faced by young people in rural communities such as finding employment, affordable housing and skills training. Whilst a great deal of my previous work has spoken directly to audiences in geography and rural studies, my current research interests on contemporary cultural geography, marginality, rural communities, youth culture, the use of participation and identity has broader academic appeal as it draws substantially on a range of geographical and cultural theory.

My other research specialism concerns the role and function of volunteers in society (I am Co-Director of the Social Innovation Group at the University of Exeter - more infomration on the work of the group can be found by clicking on the link at the bottom of the page). Current changes to financial systems means that the state in western economies is withdrawing from certain forms of care provision. Voluntary organisations are being mandated to deliver these services through a process of substituion. My research explores the ways in which this occurs and evaluates the extent to which volunteer agencies and local communities can meet these new demands.

For more information about my work see my Research Gate profile @


Or my Acdemia Education profile @


I am a the Co-Director of the Social Innovation Group at the University of Exeter, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers and an Associate of the Centre for Rural Policy Research, University of Exeter. I am also a member of the RGS/IBG LLWP Committee for Participatory Geographies.


BA (Wales),
MPhil (Staffs),
PhD (Exon)


Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1326 371867
AddressPeter Lanyon Building
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
Treliever Road
TR10 9FE
Office hours

My Office Hours this week are:

Friday 10am to 11am

Friday 12noon to 1pm 

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