Follow the Things

Professor Ian Cook
Professor of Cultural Geography


Ian is a cultural geographer of trade. He's interested in ways in which academics, filmmakers, artists, activists, musicians and journalists try to make tangible to 'consumers' the lives of those who make and grow their things. He runs the spoof shopping website which curates, and researches the making, discussion and impacts of over 80 examples of this work. Once the 100th has been researched and added to the site, he and collaborators are writing a handbook of 'follow the things' activism to inform and hopefully inspire new work in the genre. If you cannot wait, live reporting on the 'follow the things' project takes place on its blog, and on twitter, facebook and flickr

Ian also coordinates Exeter's Cultural and Historical Geographies research group, a hive of fun-based productivity involving artists, academics, postdocs, postgrads, masters students and guests approaching geographical research, teaching and public engagement through collaborative, creative practice. In addition to, this has led Ian to work with artist and PhD student Paula Crutchlow and others on the Museum of Contemporary Commodities and to develop his solo/collaborative practice as a  LEGO memelord (kind of).

Beyond all of this, Ian lends what he knows about 'follow the things' cultural activism to the Fashion Revolution movement, where he's a member of the Global Coordination Team and runs its annual 'Who Made My Clothes?' online course.

Here, there and everywhere, Ian writes as 'Ian Cook et al' to acknowledge the collaborative nature of all of his work. His/their/our work is hard to own.


1986: BSc Human Sciences, University College London, UK

1992: MA Human Geography, University of Kentucky, USA

1997: PhD Human Geography, University of Bristol, UK


Ian began his academic career in the Department of Geography at the University of Wales, Lampeter (1993-9), then worked in the School of Geography at the University of Birmingham (1999-2007), before moving to Exeter in the summer of 2007.

Office hours

Mondays 12-1 + Tuesdays 9-10

Contact details

Internal tel3251
Tel+44 (0) 1392 723251
AddressAmory Building
University of Exeter
Rennes Drive

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