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 currently co-editing books on children, young people and care (for Routlege) and young people and austerities (for Policy Press).
Everyday geographies of sustainable urbanism
In 2009-13, John collaborated with Prof. Pia Christensen (University of Leeds), Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Leicester) and Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill (University of Birmingham) on the major 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. They are currently co-authoring a book (for Routledge), and an extensive programme of publications and outputs, from the project. John is also Mentor for Dr. Sophie Hadfield-Hill’s ESRC Future Research Leader project on New Urbanisms in India, and a member of the ESRC-funded Sharing Futures/Partilhandø Futurøs knowledge exchange programme between Brazilian Engineering Scientists and British Human Geographers.
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 poular 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). This line of work began with John’s ESRC-funded doctoral research, and will continue via a forthcoming monograph (sales pitch: will feature geographies of Disney princesses, Star Wars figures, football stickers, death metal and Postman Pat).
Thinking-writing-doing children’s geographies
With Prof. Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham) John has written a range of conceptual, critical and methodological reflections upon subdisciplinary work on geographies of children and young people. Their collaborative work has chiefly, though not uncritically, developed through engagements with nonrepresentational theories in Social and Cultural Geography. 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.