PhD Opportunity: Geographies of the body / urban environments and embodiment
A variety of technologies have emerged in the last decade that make it easier and cheaper than ever before to capture, analyse and transform everyday embodiment:
• lightweight wearable cameras such as the GoPro allowing users to record footage of their most banal everyday activities;
• devices such as the Fitbit and Apple Watch bringing continuous physiological monitoring out of the medical realm and into mainstream culture;
• apps like Strava allowing people to quantify their cycling, running and walking activities;
• VR and AR blurring the boundaries between real and virtual spaces;
• lightweight devices for measuring brain activity (EEG) and stimulation (EDA) becoming sufficiently robust and discreet to be used in non-lab environments.
None of the underlying technologies are novel, but as they are made accessible in cheaper and more user-friendly packages, new techniques and sources of data are becoming more readily available for geographical analysis. Engagement with these technologies has created a rapidly expanding area of investigation within geography.
Students are sought to explore the potential of different technologies to reshape understandings of space. A broad variety of different projects are encouraged, examining the interface of technology and embodiment. These might include using wearable technologies to examine people's embodied and emotional responses to different environments – for example urban green space. The emphasis, however, is on projects that are driven by critical theories of embodiment, rather than a positivist enthusiasm for the potentials of big data and surveillance.
UK applicants are eligible to apply to the University's ESRC DTC funding: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/dr-fees/esrc/index.aspx and AHRC Midlands3Cities funding:
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