Congratulations to recent graduate Noah Hurton (2016, Mansfield College) who has been awarded the 2019 dissertation prize by the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism Research Group (GLTRG).

Noah Hurton with his dissertation, outside the Examination Schools“My dissertation explored the embodied geographies of fell running as a distinctive landscape practice,” explained Noah, “drawing on a combination of empirical data generated by in-depth interviews with fell runners and auto ethnographic insight to do so.

“Two distinct but interrelated lines of questioning were considered. The first asked what modes of being in and experiencing landscape are characteristic of fell running. In this respect, fell running offered an opportunity for exploring how landscapes are experienced through embodied, affective, and mobile practices, rather than gazed upon from a disembodied, static viewpoint.

“The second line of questioning asked how these modes of being in and experiencing landscape are being transformed by technologies. Drawing on examples ranging from relatively mundane items such as shoes and clothing, to more recent inventions such as GPS watches and the mobile application Strava, the research considered the role of such technologies in mediating the relations between their bodies and the environment.

“Overall, the dissertation served to complicate a commonly-held perception of areas such as the Lake District as static, picturesque landscapes that should be conserved.”

The GLTRG review panel judged Noah’s dissertation, which he wrote at the end of his undergraduate degree earlier this year, to be excellent. “This is a fascinating account of fell running,” commented one reviewer, “which not only enhances our understanding of this leisure activity, but helps us to better understand landscapes and how technology affects our relationships with them. It is beautifully written in an engaging style and employs an innovative and brave (mobile) methodology. The analysis is very advanced and mature for an undergraduate dissertation and although I have read work with a more comprehensive evidence base, rarely have I read undergraduate work which tackles complex ideas with such confidence and enthusiasm.” Another reviewer added that Noah’s work was “well beyond expectations for an undergraduate study.”