Skip to main content


Dr Nick Gill

Dr Nick Gill

Professor of Human Geography, Director of Research (Human Geography)



 Amory C421


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


Nick Gill is a political geographer. He graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a degree in Geography with Economics in 2000. Following the award of his PhD in 2008 he was a lecturer in geography at Lancaster University, moving to take up a position as Lecturer in Human Geography at Exeter in 2010 and being promoted to Professor of Human Geography in 2016.

Nick has served as Book Review Editor of the journal Space & Polity and as Communications Officer and Secretary of the Political Geogeraphy research group of the Royal Geographical Society. He is a member of the ESRC's peer review college. From 2017-2018 to 2019-2020 he was the human geography external examiner of the University of Oxford's undergraduate geography degree programme and from 2023 has been the University of Swansea's undergraduate human geography external examiner.

Nick has engaged with a range of non-academic organisations through his work inlcuding as a Trustee of the charity City of Sanctuary, a national charity that promotes a culture of welcome and hospitality to those seeking safety from violence and persecution. During his trusteeship he was honoured to have the opportunity to launch the Universities of Sanctuary stream of their work, via the writing and publication of the stream's first handbook, with then-undergraduates Abigail Grace and Emma Finlinson (both now Exeter University alumni). He remains on the University of Sanctuary national steering group. He also served as a member of the charity JUSTICE's working party on immigration and asylum determination reform resulting in a report entitled 'Immigration and Asylum Appeals - A Fresh Look' that recommended a series of improvements to the first tier asylum and immigration tribunal. In October 2023 Nick delivered a keynote on the subject of the 'The Job of the Asylum Case Officer: Ethnographic Perspectives' to representatives of the asylum divisions of the EU member states during a workshop in Bratislava on the same theme organised by the EUAA.

Nick's work has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council and, since September 2016, by the European Research Council via a Starting Grant (see

Broad research specialisms:

Legal geography, carceral geography, migration and border control, mobility, political geography.


BSc (LSE),
MSc (LSE),
MSc (Bristol),
PhD (Bristol),
PGcert Academic Practice (Lancaster)

Research group links

Back to top


Research interests

My research is concerned with issues of justice and injustice. I explore this theme through a geographical approach, especially in the context of border control, mobility and its confiscation, incarceration and the law. I believe in the effectiveness of multiple methodologies, and have employed interviews, ethnography, focus groups and quantitative analysis in my work.

There are currently three strands to my research

1. Border Control, Migration and Human Mobility

Border control is one of the most topical issues of the 21st century. My work questions the utility and feasibility of the contemporary configuration of international border controls (Gill, 2009, Refuge; Gill, 2016, Wiley-Blackwell). It examines the relation between mobility and forced migration (Gill et al, 2011, Mobilities), sets the current malaise surrounding border control into the broader context of tolerance and intolerance (Gill et al, 2012, Political Geography) and examines the tactics used to respond to militarised control practices around the world (Gill et al, 2014, Annals of the Association of American Geographers).

2. Carceral Practices and Spaces

The proliferation and diversification of carceral systems is a hallmark of contemporary Western society. They are increasingly big-business, increasingly divorced from commonsense notions of justice, and increasingly obscured and obfuscated (Gill, 2013; Moran, Gill and Conlon, 2013). This strand of research seeks to take account of the emerging and increasingly intricate circuitry of carceral establishments (Gill et al, 2017, Progress in Human Geography).

3. The State, Injustice and Justice Systems

I am pursuing my long standing interest in the state and state theory (Rodriguez-Pose and Gill, 2003, EPA; Rodriguez-Pose and Gill, 2004, Regional Studies: Gill, 2010, Progress in Human Geography) via an exploration of the difference geography makes to systems of justice (even, sometimes, when it shouldn't). This strand of research has a range of issues from observed biases in judicial behaviour (Gill et al, 2017, Socio-Legal Studies), the importance of ethnographic apporaches to legal system (Gill and Good, 2018, Asylum Determination in Europe; Ethnographic Perspectives, Palgrave) and the way ethically meaningful encounters are suspended in legally institutionalised contexts (Gill, Nothing Personal? 2016, Wiley-Blackwell).

I am the human geography Director of Research for the department in 2021-2

Research projects


  • 2023-2024 'Forcibly Displaced Students in Higher Education' GW4 Generator Fund (PI) with Co-Is Lisa Lucas (Education, Bristol), Katharina Lenner (Social Policy, Bath), Sin Yi Cheung (Sociology, Cardiff) and Isabelle Schafer (Migration Studies, Exeter)
  • 2016-2022 'Fair and Consistent Border Controls? A Critical, Multi-Methodological and Inter-Disciplinary Study of Asylum Adjudication in Europe' European Research Council Starter Grant (PI).
  • 2013-2014 'Research Matchmaking: Linking the Demand and Supply of Research with Migrants' Dr. Nick Gill (Exeter) (PI), Dr. Dierdre Conlon (Co-I), ESRC Knowledge Exchange Grant.
  • Three year project from 2013 ESRC standard grant Exploring Differences Between Asylum Appeal Hearing Centres in the UK £559 000 FEC (PI).Project website:
  • 2012-2014 ESRC Seminar Series 'Exploring Everyday Practice and Resistance in Immigration Detention'. Dr Nick Gill (Exeter) (PI), Prof Mary Bosworth (Oxford), Dr Imogen Tyler (Lancaster), Dr Dominique Moran (Birmingham), Dr Alex Hall (York, UK).
  • 2010 – 2012 ESRC Small Grant ‘Making Asylum Seekers Legible and Visible: An Analysis of the Dilemmas and Mitigating Strategies of Asylum Advocacy Organisations in the UK and US’, £99,000 FEC (PI). See the project website here and view the final report here.
  • 2009 Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster, Workshop Grant leading to Special Issue of Mobilities entitled ‘Mobility and Forced Migration’, £1,000 with Drs. Javier Caletrio and Vicky Mason.
  • 2008 – 2009  Nuffield Foundation Small Grant ‘Polish Migration to the UK: The Material Effects of Imagined Geographies’, £6,884 (PI).
  • 2007 Lancaster University Faculty of Science and Technology Research Grant ‘Polish Immigrants in the North West of England’, £1,000.
  • 2003 - 2007  1 + 3 ESRC Research Scholarship, £42,000.
  • 2001 Graduate Merit Award for outstanding degree performance, London School of Economics, £5,000.


Back to top



Gill N, Good A (eds)(2018). Asylum Determination in Europe Ethnographic Perspectives. [Open Access], Palgrave Macmillan. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gill N (2016). Nothing Personal ? Geographies of Governing and activism in the British Asylum System., Wiley-Blackwell.
Moran D, Gill N, Conlon D (2013). Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention. Aldershot, Ashgate.
Gill N, Caletrio J, Mason V (2013). Mobilities and Forced Migration. Abingdon, Talyor & Francis.

Journal articles

Gill N (2023). Epilogue: Asylum Law and Linguistic Fragility. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 24(S4), 811-821. Abstract.
Gill N, Riding J, Kallio KP, Bagelman J (2022). Geographies of Welcome: Engagements with ‘Ordinary’ Hospitality. Hospitality and Society, 12, 123-143.
Feneberg, Gill N, Hoellerer N, Scheinert L (2022). It’s Not What you Know, it’s How you Use it:. On the Application of Country of Origin Information in Judicial Refugee Status Determination Decisions. International Journal of Refugee Law
Gill N, Hoellerer N, Allsopp J, Burridge A, Fisher D, Griffiths M, Hambly J, Paszkiewicz N, Rotter R, Vianelli L, et al (2022). Rethinking commonality in refugee status determination in Europe: Legal Geographies of Asylum Appeals. Political Geography
Till K, Gill N, Jacobsen M, Darling J, O'Reilly Z (2022). The In-Between Spaces of Asylum and Migration: a Participatory Visual Approach - Review Forum. The American Association of Geographers' Review of Books, 10, 41-50.
Hoellerer N, Gill N (2022). ‘Assembly-Line Baptism’: Judicial discussions of ‘free churches’ in German and Austrian asylum hearings. Journal of Legal Anthropology, 5(2), 1-29.
Gill N, Hynes J (2021). Courtwatching: Visibility, publicness, witnessing, and embodiment in legal activism. Area, 53(4), 569-576. Abstract.
Schmid-Scott A, Marshall E, Gill N, Bagelman J (2021). Rural Geographies of Refugee Activism: the Expanding Spaces of Sanctuary in the UK. Revue européenne des migrations internationales, 36(2-3), 137-160.
Gill N, Allsopp J, Burridge A, Fisher D, Griffiths M, Paszkiewicz N, Rotter R (2021). The Tribunal Atmosphere: on Qualitative Barriers to Access to Justice. Geoforum, 119, 61-61.
Fisher D, Gill N, Paszkiewicz N (2021). To Fail an Asylum Seeker: Time, Space and Legal Events. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Vianelli L, Gill N, Hoellerer N (2021). Waiting as Probation: Selecting Self-disciplining Asylum Seekers. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Hynes J, Gill N, Tomlinson J (2020). In defence of the hearing? Emerging geographies of publicness, materiality, access and communication in court hearings. Geography Compass, 14(9). Abstract.
Hambly J, Gill N (2020). Law and Speed: Asylum Claims and the Techniques and Consequences of Legal Quickening. Journal of Law and Society, 47(1), 3-28.
Hambly J, Gill N, Vianelli L (2020). Using multi-member panels to tackle RSD complexities. Forced Migration Review
Gill N, Allsopp J, Burridge A, Fisher D, Griffiths M, Hambly J, Hoellerer N, Paszkiewicz N, Rotter R (2020). What’s missing from legal geography and materialist studies of law? Absence and the assembling of asylum appeal hearings in Europe. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 45(4), 937-951. Abstract.
Gill N, Fisher D, Hynes J (2019). 25 years of protest: migration control and the power of local activism. Geography, 104, 134-140.
Fisher DX, Burridge A, Gill N (2019). The Political Mobilities of Reporting: Tethering, slickness and asylum control. Mobilities Abstract.
Gill NM (2019). Unsettling Work. Dialogues in Human Geography, 9(1), 106-109.
Gill N, Conlon D, Moran D, Burridge A (2018). Carceral Circuitry: New Directions in Carceral Geography. Progress in Human Geography, 42, 183-204.
Gill N (2018). The suppression of welcome. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 196(1), 88-98. Abstract.
Burridge A, Gill N, Kocher A, Martin L (2017). Introduction: Polymorphic Borders. Territory, Politics, Governance, 5(3), 239-251.
Gill N, Rotter R, Burridge A, Allsopp J (2017). The limits of procedural discretion: Unequal treatment and vulnerability in Britain's asylum appeals. Social and Legal Studies
Burridge A, Gill N (2016). Conveyor‐Belt Justice: Precarity, Access to Justice, and Uneven Geographies of Legal Aid in UK Asylum Appeals. Antipode, 49, 23-42. Abstract.
Gill N, Rotter R, Burridge A, Allsopp J, Griffiths M (2016). The consolations of linguistic incomprehension: Interpretation and communication in British asylum appeal hearings. Anthropology Today Abstract.
Gill N, Conlon D (2015). Editorial: Migration and Activism. Acme: an international e-journal for critical geographies, 14(2), 442-452.
Gill N, Rotter R, Burridge A, Griffiths M, Allsopp J (2015). Inconsistency in asylum appeal adjudication. Forced Migration Review, 50, 52-54. Abstract.
Coe, N, Dittmer, J. Gill N, Secor A, Staeheli L, Toal G, Jeffrey A (2014). Book Review of the Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia by Alex Jeffrey. Political Geography, 39, 26-35.
Conlon, D. Gill N, Tyler I, Oeppen C (2014). Impact as Odyssey. Acme: an International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 13(1), 33-38.
Tyler I, Gill N, Conlon D, Oeppen C (2014). The Business of Child Detention: Charitable Co-option, Migrant Advocacy and Activist Outrage. Race & Class, July–September(1), 3-21.
Coe NM, Dittmer J, Gill N, Secor A, Staeheli L, Toal (Gearoid O Tuathail) G, Jeffrey A (2014). The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia. POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY, 39, 26-35.  Author URL.
Gill N, Conlon D, Tyler I, Oeppen C (2014). The tactics of asylum and irregular migrant support groups: Disrupting bodily, technological, and neoliberal strategies of control. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 104(2), 373-381. Abstract.
Conlon D, Gill N (2013). Gagging Orders: Asylum Seekers and Paradoxes of Freedom and Protest in Liberal Society. Citizenship Studies, 17(2), 241-259.
Williams A, Jeffrey A, McConnell F, Megoran N, Askins K, Gill N, Nash C, Pande R (2013). Interventions in teaching political geography: Reflections on practice. Political Geography, 34, 24-34.
Gill N, Rodríguez-Pose A (2012). Do Citizens Really Shop between Decentralised Jurisdictions? Tiebout and Internal Migration Revisited. Space & Polity, 16(2), 175-195. Abstract.
Gill N, Gill M (2012). The limits to libertarian paternalism: two new critiques, and seven best practice imperatives. Environment and Planning C, 30(5), 924-940. Abstract.
Gill N, Johnstone P, Williams A (2012). Towards a Geography of Tolerance: Post-Politics and Political Forms of Toleration. Political Geography, 31(8), 509-518. Abstract.
Clark G, Gill N, Walker M, Whittle R (2011). Attendance and Performance: Correlations and Motives in Lecture-Based Modules. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 35(2), 199-215.
Gill N, Caletrio J, Mason V (2011). Editorial: Mobilities and Forced Migration. Mobilities, 6(3), 301-316. Abstract.
Pykett J, Jones R, Whitehead M, Huxley M, Strauss K, Gill N, McGeevor K, Thompson L, Newman J (2011). Interventions in the Political Geography of 'Libertarian Paternalism'. Political Geography
Gill N, Bialski P (2011). New Friends in New Places: Network Formation during the Migration Process Among Poles in the UK. Geoforum, 42(2), 241-249. Abstract.
Gill N (2011). Review of "Seeking Asylum: Human Smuggling and Bureaucracy at the Border" by Alison Mountz. Journal of Refugee Studies, 24, 419-420.
Gill N (2011). Whose ‘No Borders’? Achieving No Borders for the Right Reasons. Refuge, 26(2), 107-120. Abstract.
Gill N (2010). "Environmental Refugees" Key Debates and the Contributions of Geographers. Geography Compass, 7(4), 861-871. Abstract.
Gill N (2010). New state-theoretic approaches to asylum and refugee geographies. Progress in Human Geography, 34(5), 626-645. Abstract.
Gill N (2010). Pathologies of Migrant Place-Making: Polish Migration to the UK. Environment and Planning A, 42(5), 1157-1173. Abstract.
Gill N (2010). Tracing Imaginations of the State: the Spatial Consequences of Different State Concepts among Asylum Activist Organisations. Antipode, 42(5), 1048-1070. Abstract.
Gill N (2009). Governmental Mobility: the Power Effects of the Movement of Detained Asylum Seekers around Britain's Detention Estate. Political Geography, 28, 186-196. Abstract.
Gill N (2009). Presentational State Power: Temporal and Spatial Influences over Asylum Sector Decision Makers. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 34(2), 215-233. Abstract.
Gill N (2009). ‘Longing for Stillness: the Forced Movement of Asylum Seekers’. M/C Journal: a Journal of Media and Culture, 12(1).
Rodríguez-Pose A, Gill N (2006). How Does Trade Affect Regional Disparities?. World Development, 34(7), 1201-1222. Abstract.
Rodríguez-Pose A, Gill N (2005). On the ‘Economic Dividend’ of Devolution. Regional Studies, 39(4), 405-420. Abstract.
Rodríguez-Pose A, Gill N (2004). Is There a Global Link Between Regional Disparities and Devolution?. Environment and Planning A: Environment and Planning, 36(12), 2097-2117. Abstract.
Rodríguez-Pose A, Gill N (2004). Reassessing Relations Between the Centre and the States: the Challenge for the Brazilian Administration. Regional Studies, 38(7), 833-844. Abstract.
Rodriguez-Pose A, Gill N (2003). The Global Trend Towards Devolution and its Implications. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 21(3), 333-351. Abstract.


Gill N (2023). Courtroom Ethnography: Exploring Contemporary Approaches, Fieldwork and Challenges: Foreword. In Flower L, Klosterkamp S (Eds.) Courtroom Ethnography Exploring Contemporary Approaches, Fieldwork and Challenges, Palgrave Macmillan, v-ix.
Gill N (2021). Remote Justice and Vulnerable Litigants: the Case of Asylum. In Cowan D, Mumford A (Eds.) Pandemic Legalities: Legal Responses to COVID-19 - Justice and Social Responsibility, Bristol: Bristol University Press.
Gill N, Simon O (2020). Carceral Journeys. In Adey P, Bowstead J, Brickell K, Desai V, Dolton M, Pinkerton A, Siddiqi A (Eds.) The Handbook of Displacement, 329-343.
Gill N (2019). Border abolition and how to achieve it. In Cooper D, Dhawan N, Newman J (Eds.) Re-imagining the State: Theoretical Challenges and Transformative Possibilities, Routledge, 231-250.
Gill NM, Allsopp J, Burridge A, Griffiths M, Paszkiewicz N, Rotter R (2019). Law, Presence and Refugee Claim Determination. In Mitchell K, Jones R, Fluri J (Eds.) Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration, Edward Elgar.
Giannopoulou C, Gill N (2018). Asylum Procedures in Greece: the Case of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Minors. In Gill N, Good A (Eds.) Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan, 109-130. Abstract.  Author URL.
Gill N (2018). Conclusion. In Gill N, Good A (Eds.) Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan.
Gill N, Good A (2018). Introduction. In Gill N, Good A (Eds.) Asylum Determination in Europe: Ethnographic Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan.  Author URL.
Gill N (2016). Health and Intimacies in Immigration Detention. In Conlon D, Heimstra N (Eds.) Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention: Critical Perspectives, London: Routledge.
Marshall E, Pinkowska P, Gill NM (2016). Virtual presence as a challenge to immobility: Examining the potential of an online anti-detention campaign. In Turner J, Peters K (Eds.) Carceral Mobilities: Interrogating Movement in Incarceration, Abingdon: Routledge. Abstract.
Gill N (2014). Forms that Form. In Thrift N, Tickell A, Woolgar S (Eds.) Globalization in Practice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Conlon D, Gill N, Tyler I, Oeppen C (2014). Going public: Reflections on predicaments and possibilities in public research and scholarship. In  (Ed) The Entrepreneurial University: Public Engagements, Intersecting Impacts, Palgrave.
Moran D, Conlon D, Gill N (2013). Carceral Spaces: Linking Imprisonment and Migrant Detention. In Moran D, Gill N, Conlon D (Eds.) Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention, Ashgate, Farnham.
Gill N, Conlon D, Moran D (2013). Dialogues across Carceral Space: Migration, Mobility, Space and Agency. In Moran, D. Gill N, Conlon D (Eds.) Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention, Ashgate, Farnham.
Gill N (2013). Mobility versus Liberty? the Punitive Uses of Movement Within and Outside Carceral Environments. In Moran D, Gill N, Conlon D (Eds.) Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention, Ashgate, Farnham.
Gill N (2011). Migration. In Krossa S (Ed) Europe in a Global Context, Palgrave MacMillan.
Gill N (2009). Asylum, Immigration and the Circulation of Unease at Lunar House. In Ingram A, Dodds K (Eds.) Spaces of Security and Insecurity: Geographies of the War on Terror, London: Ashgate.


Gill N, Allsopp J, Burridge A, Fisher D, Griffiths M, Hambly J, Hynes J, Paszkiewicz N, Rotter R, Schmid-Scott A, et al (2020). Experiencing Asylum Appeals 34 Ways to Improve Access to Justice at the First-tier Tribunal.  Author URL.
Cranston R (2018). Immigration and Asylum Appeals - a Fresh Look. JUSTICE,  London.  Author URL.
Gill N, Fisher D, Jennifer S, Burridge A (2018). Submission to Home Office Immigration Detention Consultation 2018. Abstract.
Beduschi AC, Gill N, Patsianta K (2016). Situation of children that migrate unaccompanied or separated from their parents: legal framework and evidence from practice in Greece., United Nations Committee on Migrant Workers.
Gill N, Burridge A (2016). Submission to Ministry of Justice Consultation on Proposals to Amend Immigration and Asylum Chamber Fees. University of Exeter.
Finlinson E, Grace A, Gill N (2016). Universities of Sanctuary Resource Pack., City of Sanctuary and Minuteman Press.  Author URL.
Gill N, Rotter R (2015). Written Evidence Submission to the Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons Conducted by Stephen Shaw at the Request of the Home Office. University of Exeter.
Gill N, Conlon D, Hall A, Tyler I (2014). Written submission of evidence to 2014 Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention, hosted by the APPG on Refugees and the APPG on Migration. University of Exeter.
Gill N, Conlon D, Oeppen C, Tyler I (2012). Networks of Asylum Support in the UK and USA: a Handbook of Ideas, Strategies and Best Practice for Asylum Support Groups in a Challenging Social and Economic Climate. Abstract.  Author URL.

Back to top


I am the Human Geography Director of Research in 2023-4.



Back to top

Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Sian Pearce
  • Souvik Saha
  • Laura Scheinert
  • Sophia Simelitidou
  • Stephen Wise De Jong


  • Shoker Abobeker
  • Cevdet Acu
  • Joanna Hynes
  • Phil Johnstone
  • Emma Marshall
  • Julian M�ller
  • Katie Orchel
  • Keumjoo Park
  • Pat Pinkowska
  • Lindsay Whetter

Back to top

Office Hours:

Wednesday 1st May: 15:30 - 16:30 and 16:30 - 17:30

Back to top

Edit Profile