Academic Profile

Professor Gillian Rose joined the School of Geography and the Environment in 2017, moving here from The Open University. She was awarded her PhD from the University of London in 1990 and has since taught at the University of London and Edinburgh University as well as being an Andrew W Mellon Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Pretoria in 2015. Professor Rose was Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University and also Head of the Geography Department there for four years. In 2015 she was elected a fellow of the British Academy.

Gillian is a cultural geographer. Although her empirical research interests have shifted over time, she has long been concerned with the politics of knowledge production: who creates what kinds of knowledges, how those knowledges circulate and transform, and what kinds of worlds are thus constituted.

Research Interests

In her first book, Feminism and Geography: The Limits to Geographical Knowledge (1993) Gillian explored questions surrounding the politics of knowledge production in relation to the discipline of geography itself. The book is a poststructural critique of masculinist geographies and made a significant contribution to the emergence of feminist geography.

As part of the project she drew heavily on various feminist theorisations of visuality, and ever since then her work has sat broadly within the field of visual culture. Gillian's book Doing Family Photography: The Domestic, The Public and the Politics of Sentiment (2010) looks at family photos as objects embedded in a wide range of practices and explores the different 'politics of sentiment' in which family snaps participate in both their domestic spaces and in the public space of mass media.

Her more recent work has explored the visual mediation of urban spaces. Gillian completed an ESRC-funded project on this theme with Dr Monica Degen at Brunel University in 2009 (ESRC grant number RES-062-23-0223), in which they compared how people experienced two rather different town centres: Milton Keynes and Bedford. Working with Monica Degen and Clare Melhuish, she completed a further ESRC-funded project in the autumn of 2013 called 'Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the role of digital visualizing technologies in contemporary architectural practice' (RES-062-23-3305). This project comprised a two-year ethnographic study of computer-generated images and their role in the architectural design process. The project prompted Gillian to think more about digital visualisation technologies and their mediation of urban spaces. She is now leading an ESRC-funded project called 'Smart cities in the making: learning from Milton Keynes' (ES/N014421/1) which focuses on the wide range of ways in which images are put to work as part of making cities 'smart'.

Professor Gillian Rose has always been concerned to theorise with her empirical work. She is also interested in employing more innovative ways to produce social science research, especially using visual materials. The fourth edition of her book Visual Methodologies was published in 2016.


Professor Gillian Rose contributes to a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the School.

Current Graduate Research Students

Cheli Cresswell

Using big data and citizen science to map geographic and temporal trends in human-elephant conflict in Asia

Alice Watson

"And now on Radio 4...": imaginative geographies of migration on the airwaves

Selected Publications

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Journal Articles

  • Rose, G., Degen M. and Melhuish C. (2014) Networks, interfaces and computer-generated images: learning from digital visualisations of urban redevelopment projects, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32: 386-403.
  • Rose, G. (2014) On the relation between 'visual research methods' and contemporary visual culture, Sociological Review 62: 24-46.
  • Degen, M. and Rose, G. (2012), The sensory experiencing of urban design: the role of walking and perceptual memory, Urban Studies 49: 3269-3285.
  • Rose, G., Degen M., and Basdas, B. (2010) More on 'big things': building events and feelings, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35: 334-349.
  • Rose, G. (2008) Spectres and spectacle: London 7 July 2005', New Formations 62: 45-59
  • Rose G. (2000) Practising photography: an archive, a study, some photographs and a researcher, Journal of Historical Geography, 26: 555-71
  • Rose G. (1997) Spatialities of 'community', power and change: the imagined geographies of community arts projects, Cultural Studies, 11: 1-16.
  • Rose G. (1997) Situating knowledges: positionality, reflexivities and other tactics, Progress in Human Geography, 21: 305-20.
  • Rose G. (1997) Engendering the slum: photography in East London in the 1930s, Gender, Place and Culture, 4: 277-300.
  • Chapters

  • Rose, G. (forthcoming) Look InsideTM: Visualising the Smart City. In An Introduction to Geomedia, edited by Linda Ryan Bengssten, Linda Fast, AndrĂ© Jansson, and Mekonnen Tesfahuney. London: Routledge.
  • Rose, G. (2017) Screening smart cities: managing data, views and vertigo, in Compact Cinematics, edited by P Hesselberth and M Poulaki. Bloomsbur, pp177-184
  • Rose, G., Degen M., and Melhuish, C. (2015) Looking at digital visualisations of urban redevelopment projects: dimming the scintillating glow of unwork, in Jordan S and Lindner C (eds) Cities Interrupted: Visual Culture, Globalisation and Urban Space, Bloomsbury, pp.105-120.
  • Rose G. (2012) The question of method: practice, reflexivity and critique in visual culture studies, in Heywood I and Sandywell B (eds) The Visual Culture Handbook, Berg, pp542-558.