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Dr Simon Dickinson
Lecturer in Human Geography


Please note: I am no longer in a teaching post at the university. If you have a teaching related question, please contact another staff member who teaches on the relevant module. 

Broad research specialisms

My current research focuses on voluntary sector organisations that emerge after disasters, and explores how they demonstrate fidelity to that event by pushing for forms of ethical, political and social change during recovery. I'm interested in exploring how the rupture afforded by different extreme events open up possibilities for the dominant practices of complex political assemblages to be challenged through the emergence of new and previously restrained claims to urban spaces. Specifically, my current research examines how emergent organisaions and activisms demonstrate fidelity to the perceived nature and potential of the 'event' - and in doing so acknowledge and give credence to the non-human agencies of these violent and unexpected ruptures. My current work is situated in the recovery landscape of the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-11 in New Zealand.

In addition to the disaster/crisis context, I have a research interest in the political possibilities of the voluntary sector. I am broadly interested in the organisational practices that foster alternative logics of performative expression, political engagement and cultural imagination alongside formations of political rationalities and ideologies. Much of this builds upon the recent work of Jane Wills, Paul Cloke and David Featherstone.

In addition to this research, I have conducted previous work that explores the role of insurance in the disaster landscape, the emotional landscapes of forced relocation and the emergent forms of social connectedness that occur in crisis events

I have experience in a broad range of qualitative methods. My current research emerges from participatory observation techniques (including interview and ethnographic methods) employed during a time volunteering for emergent disaster recovery organisations.  


BSc (Canterbury, NZ)

MSc (Canterbury, NZ)

PhD (University of Exeter)


Contact details

AddressAmory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive
Office hours



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