About Me


Dr Hilary Geoghegan is an Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Reading. She joined the Department of Geography and Environmental Science in September 2013. Prior to this Hilary held an ESRC Future Research Leader award at UCL. As a cultural geographer, Hilary’s research aims to develop new areas of thinking at the interface of the social and natural sciences. In particular, she is interested in how knowledge is made and expertise is performed around issues such as climate change, nature conservation, tree health and plant biosecurity, as well as the role of emotions and enthusiasm in science, policy and everyday life. At the core of her approach to research is asking important questions through ethnographic methodologies and participatory action research. A significant part of her research to date has focused on tree health issues in the UK and the rise of citizen science approaches. She has ongoing research projects: on oak tree health (with Jackson and Shaw), Chalara dieback of ash, and tree health citizen science. Hilary is on the editorial board of the journal Geo: Geography and Environment, represents the ESRC on the UK Environmental Observation Framework Citizen Science Working Group, and advises Defra’s Tree Health Citizen Science fellowship. Hilary supervises 4 PhD students, one of whom is writing their PhD about the role of plants in the development of Colombian cities. Hilary also hosts a successful blog and Twitter account with over 2000 followers.

Academic Biography: I graduated from the University of Exeter in 2002 with BA (Hons) Geography with European Study. I then joined the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, where I completed the MA Cultural Geography (Research) and my PhD on the culture of enthusiasm. In 2008, I was awarded a one-year ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to disseminate my PhD findings. Since March 2009, I have worked as Associate Research Fellow on the ESF-funded project ‘From Climate to Landscape: Imagining the Future’ (CLIF), which connects my work on enthusiasm to understanding the local effects of climate change. I have also secured research funds from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), for a study exploring the role, contribution and value of the volunteer wetland bird counters to knowledge of the effects of climate change and subsequent conservation policy. I am also Co-I (with Dr Hannah Neate (UCLan)) on a British Academy small grant researching ‘Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm’ in order to investigate how volunteer guides articulate, experience and interpret 20th century architecture. From April to September 2012, I worked as an AHRC research fellow at the Science Museum on a project gathering the stories and memories of women who worked on the telephone switchboard in Enfield between 1925 and 1960. This also involved an exhibition and project blog.

Professional Contribution: I am a member of the ESRC Peer Review College, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Dissertation Prize Coordinator for the Society’s Historical Geography Research Group and Associate of the Science Museum’s Research and Public History Department.

4 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hilary,
    This looks really great! I’m friends with Klaus Dodds and Alasdair Pinkerton and they told me of your arrival. Would love to meet sometime and talk about common research interests!

  2. Hi Hilary!

    Great Blog – I ran across it when I was looking for this Vintage Tech radio show on BBC 3.

    Oddly enough, I am a new Ph.D. student at Royal Holloway this year!

    Let’s meet up for a drink and a chat when you have a chance!

  3. Hi again Hilary,

    Thought I should leave you a message on here as well. I found the website after reading your very interesting and thought-provoking paper you very kindly sent me. This is a great website. I especially like the personal touches: e.g. what your desk says about you and your enthusiatic twitterings…

    It would be great to meet you in person at somepoint. I may have asked you this before but are you going to the RGS Annual Conference this year? If so it would be great to catch you there especially seeing that I am hoping to do a paper with my supervisor (Dave Matless) in the Geographies of Collections Seminar.

    Anyway, take care, speak soon and once again a great website!

    Many thanks,

    James Fenner x

    PhD Research Student (1st Year)
    School of Geography
    University Nottingham

  4. Hi there Hilary

    First, thank you for adding my blog to your list – I was pleasantly surprised to see it linked – it’s fairly new, and I hope to sustain it (as enthusiastically as you!) in time to come.

    In scrolling through some of your entries, I’m excited to see that there are many useful leads to help me think through some of my personal ‘enthusiams’ on objects and ‘things’. I’ve added 2 entries to my blog (based on fieldwork reflections of urban ethnography in a Urban Geography class last year). In both entries, I highlighted how my experiences are disrupted and punctuated with (affective?) fascinations with urban materialities in their diverse forms.

    I have no better vocabulary to describe my experience, and I must say that your blog has really got me drawn into re-thinking through that ethnographic exercise, again!

    Yi En

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