Dr Alice Watson
Alice is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Geography and a Lecturer in Human Geography at St Peter's College. She is also a co-ordinator of the School's Political Worlds research cluster.
Alice recently completed an ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the School of Geography. Prior to this, she was Principal Investigator on an AHRC-funded project engaging the public in research about the BBC for its centenary in October 2022. Alice worked with the BBC to co-produce a 28-part podcast series which illuminated the cultural impact of Call the Midwife, one of the BBC's most popular and celebrated television dramas set in the East End of London in the 1950s and 60s. By recording fans of the show from across the UK who remembered, had experienced, or been touched by Call the Midwife's storylines, Alice documented the programme's 'place' in people's lives, its ability to spark memories and speak to contemporary lived experiences, and amplify marginalised voices and stories.
Alice completed her ESRC-funded DPhil in the School of Geography at Oxford under the supervision of Professor Gillian Rose and Professor Fiona McConnell. Her thesis was entitled '"And Now on BBC Radio 4…": Imaginative Geographies of Forced Migration and Refugee Settlement in Europe on the Airwaves'. During her DPhil, Alice was a 450th Anniversary Scholar at St John's College.
In addition to her doctorate, Alice holds an MA (First Class Hons) in Geography from the University of St Andrews and an MSc (with distinction) in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford. Whilst at St Andrews, Alice received the Miller Prize as the most outstanding, graduating student in the Faculty of Arts and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Medal for the best Honours degree in Geography. At Oxford, Alice received the Examiners' Prize for the best overall performance in the MSc.
Alice is a political, cultural, and media geographer. Her interests broadly lie across the following four areas of research:
- Critical and Popular Geopolitics
- Geographies of Media, Broadcasting, and Popular Culture
- Migration, Displacement, and Borders
- Sounds and Sonic Geographies
Alice is interested in the role of media and popular culture in shaping audiences' geographical imaginations around the urgent geopolitical stories of our times. She is particularly interested in the construction and circulation of geopolitical discourses and imaginaries in radio and podcasts as understudied spaces of knowledge production. Alice studies the representational and affective power of sounds and audio broadcasts, and the changing geographies of media production and consumption.
Alice's research to date has focused principally on media representations of migration and displacement. Her doctoral thesis explores how imaginative geographies of Europe's migration 'crisis' were constructed on BBC Radio 4 between 2014 and 2019, and examines how broadcasts were produced by journalists and heard, interpreted, imagined, and felt by listeners. By uncovering patterns of representation, reportage, and storytelling across Radio 4 programming, and studying audiences responses to them, Alice's thesis offers a timely intervention into current debates about media representations of migrants and refugees, and develops theorisations of radio's discursive, affective, and experiential power.
Alice is also interested in creative methodologies and public engagement. Her work with the BBC and media audiences reflects this interest and speaks to a commitment to undertaking innovative and impactful research.
Teaching and Advising
Alice is a Lecturer in Human Geography at St Peter's College where she teaches the following modules:
- Prelims: Human Geography; Geographical Controversies; Geographical Techniques.
- Final Honours School (FHS): Space, Place and Society; Environmental Geography; Geographical Thought; Dissertation Supervision.
- Watson, A. (2023) Radio and the Anti-Geopolitical Ear: Imaginative Geographies of a Syrian Family's Journey to Europe on BBC Radio 4. Social and Cultural Geography. pp. 1-20.
- Watson, A. (2023) Radio geopolitics: Imaginative geographies of Europe's migration 'crisis' on BBC Radio 4. Political Geography, 107: 1-10. 102993.
- Watson, A. (2022) Prisms of prejudice: mediating the Middle East from the United States, Karin Gwinn Wilkins. Social and Cultural Geography, 23(8): 1196-1199.