Professor Catherine Leyshon (nee Brace )
Associate Professor of Human Geography


Catherine became interested in historical and cultural geography as an undergraduate and pursued this interest through an MA by research at the University of Toronto. In 1996 she was appointed as a Lecturer in Human Geography at Exeter. Catherine completed her PhD thesis on "Finding England Everywhere: Representations of the Cotswolds 1880-1950" during her first year as a lecturer and has since developed lines of inquiry from her PhD work. Her research is unified by an interest in landscape, place, and identity.

Outside the department, Catherine is actively involved with various aspects of the work of AHRC, as a member of the Peer Review College (2008-2015), two grant awarding panels, the Knowledge Exchange College (2012-date) and the Strategic Reviewers' Group (2013-date). She is a member of the Partnership Board of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (2013-date) and a member of the Board of Trustees of Volunteer Cornwall (2012-date). Catherine is also an active member of the Linking the Lizard Countryside Partnership ( She was a contributor to WP 4 of the National Ecosystem Services Assessment Follow On.

Broad research specialisms:

Catherine is a member of the Department of Geography's Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group. As a cultural geographer, Catherine's research interests revolve around the themes of landscape, place and identity. She has researched landscape, national identity and regional identity; geography and film; geography and literature; geography and religion; cultural landscapes and climate change; and cultural ecosystem services; volunteering and resilient communities; place-based, person-centred approaches to care.

Most recently, Catherine’s research has followed two main strands looking at: i) landscape as both cultural and natural heritage, and the particular challenges of managing culturally iconic and ecologically important landscapes through multi-agency working with different knowledge communities; ii) the role of volunteers in place-based and community projects such as the delivery of elderly health and social care. She has extensive experience of working with research parterners and stakeholders including Natural England, the National Trust, the AONB partnership, Cornwall Council, Age UK, Volunteer Cornwall, NHS Kernow, and others. She has research collaborations with colleagues at the University of Hamburg and elsewhere in the EU.

Catherine is the co-director of the Social Innovation Group with Michael Leyshon. Visit our website (hyperlink below) to learn more about our work on place-based, person-centred approaches to care and resilient communities.

Personal Interests

Catherine likes to run and she completed three half marathons and three marathons. She proudly finished in the 80th percentile in every race. But at least she finished. In 2013, Catherine took up sea swimming and is trying to devise a means of zipping a hot water bottle into her wetsuit. When she is not running or swimming, Catherine enjoys baking cakes. Her particular specialisms are lemon drizzle cake and fruit cake but she has recently developed a recipe for salted caramel cupcakes that are life-changingly delicious. She also likes baking bread and trying new recipes. Catherine likes to read restaurant reviews, cook books, and novels. She has recently rediscovered her childhood love of Sci-Fi novels. Catherine is especially vigilant about the misuse of apostrophes, having been converted to their proper use in her twenties. With the zeal of the converted, Catherine is also critical of the improper use of 'less' instead of 'fewer'. Catherine dislikes shopping, except for groceries.


MA (Toronto),
PhD (Bristol)


Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1326 371810
AddressPeter Lanyon Building
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
Treliever Road
TR10 9FE
Office hours


Term 1: Thursdays 1.30-2.30 and Fridays 10.30-11.30.

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