Research Profile

  • Professor John Horton is Research Leader in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society and Chair of the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee. John’s research mainly focuses on the geographies, cultures, politics, playful practices and social-material exclusions of contemporary childhood and youth. 

    John is currently one of the Editors of the international academic journal ‘Social and Cultural Geography’, and previously served a term as Editor of the international academic journal ‘Children’s Geographies’. John is Series Editor of a new major book series on Spaces of Childhood and Youth (Routledge) as well as co-author of the book Cultural Geographies (Routledge, 2013) and co-editor of new books on Austerity Across Europe (Routledge, 2021) and International Perspectives on Childhood and Youth in Hard Times (Policy Press, 2021).

    John has been Principal or Co-Investigator on more than thirty funded research/evaluation projects with children and young people in the UK. For example, John has been Co-Investigator on five major, interdisciplinary research projects funded by ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). 

    John is Chair of the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee, which is chiefly responsible for reviewing all ethics applications for doctoral research at the University. John is lead author of the institutional ‘Research Ethics Code and Procedures’, which summarises expectations and principles for all research at the University of Northampton. 

    Before moving to the University of Northampton, John completed a BSc and ESRC-funded MSc and Doctorate in the School for Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.

  • John contributes to undergraduate teaching in Human Geography and also a range of postgraduate and Professional Doctorate modules in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society. As Chair of the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee, John also delivers a wide range of training and development sessions on ethical research practice.

    John is an experienced supervisor and examiner of postgraduate research. John currently supervises ten PhD researchers, and has co-supervised ten doctoral researchers to successful completion. John has been External Examiner for PhD research at 20+ different international universities. John has also served as External Examiner for undergraduate programmes in Childhood Studies, Geography and Environmental Sciences at 5 UK HEIs.

  • Spaces of care, service-provision and austerity

    John has a major research interest in the processes through which spaces, services and policies for children, young people and families are produced, regulated and lived-with, particularly ‘in the current climate’ of austerity politics in the UK. John has been Principal or Co-Investigator on 30+ externally-funded studies of diverse youth organisations, public libraries, Sure Start Children’s Centres, youth involvement projects, spaces of care, and spaces of learning/teaching in the UK. For example, in 2007-09 John collaborated with colleagues from Coventry University and University of Leicester on a major AHRC/ESPSRC-funded study of pupil participation in school building (re)design and renewal policies in the UK. John is co-editor of new books on Austerity Across Europe (Routledge, 2021) and International Perspectives on Childhood and Youth in Hard Times (Policy Press, 2021).

    Everyday geographies of sustainable urbanism

    In 2009-13, John collaborated with colleagues from the Universities of Leeds, Birmingham and Leicester on the major three year ESRC-funded New Urbanisms, New Citizens study of children and young people’s lives, mobilities and participation in new, large-scale urban developments constituted by the Sustainable Communities agenda in England. Findings from the project have been published in the book Children Living in Sustainable Built Environments (Routledge, 2018) as well as an extensive programme of research outputs and impacts. John was also Mentor for Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill’s ESRC Future Research Leader project on New Urbanisms in India, and a member of the ESRC/CONFAP-funded Sharing Futures/Partilhandø Futurøs knowledge exchange programme between Brazilian Engineering Scientists and British Human Geographers. John collaborated with colleagues from Universities of Birmingham, Leicester and Sao Paulo State as Co-Investigator on the threeyear ESRC/Newton/FAPESP-funded project (R)econnect the Nexus: Young Brazilians’ Experiences of and Learning about Food-Water-Energy

    Children and young people’s play and popular culture

    John has a longstanding research interest in relation to children and young people’s play and popular culture. On one hand he has completed a number of large-scale funded projects focusing on diverse designated play-spaces, which he has written up as a sequence of peer-reviewed papers about the complex, bodily, everyday, social-material, emotional-affective, often-exclusionary geographies of outdoor play. On the other hand, John has written a series of peer-reviewed papers about children and young people’s engagements with different forms of popular culture (e.g. children’s TV, pop music, toys, books, collectables). With Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham) John has written a range of conceptual, critical and methodological reflections upon interdisciplinary work on geographies of children and young people. In their continuing work, they have sought to develop playful, creative, autoethnographic, multiperspectival styles of thinking-writing-doing in order to acknowledge the complexities of everyday, bodily, social-material, emotional-affective geographies.

  • For publications, projects, datasets, research interests and activities, view John Horton’s research profile on Pure, the University of Northampton’s Research Explorer.