Queering the coast: a research project exploring the geographies of sexuality on the East Kent coast

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Sch of Geog, Geol & the Environment


The research for my PhD will use the city of London as an anchor in understanding much of the connections between cultural and social changes
happening on the coast and the city respectively. Given the proximity of the two places - London and Kent - there is undoubtedly a spill-over effect of ideology, and a series of mobilities by people, and culture from the urban to rural. This comparison of two separate (yet connected) places is important in recognising how (young) urban populations are returning to 'ordinary' suburban areas (Brown 2008, 2012; Browne and Bakshi 2013; McGlynn 2018) and creating new artistic cultural scenes that may be increasing, affecting, or redefining 'queer' places and subsequently creating new 'queer' identities. Meanwhile, the increasing cultural, physical (infrastructural) and economic development of East Kent (such as HS1 and 2 rail, the redevelopment of Dover port, harbour board, and the surrounding amenities, as well as the regeneration of Margate as a "vintage" seaside resort) are particularly important areas when considering the position of the UK in relation to international exchanges of people and technology. Kent connects the UK with Europe (the English Channel) as well as with London (and subsequently the rest of the UK via rail and road), therefore the area will undoubtedly hold a key role in the UK's ability to forge new international relationships post-Brexit. It will also provide new homes and social lives for those moving out of the city and those moving in from mainland Europe and further afield. It is because of Kent's important position economically, culturally and indeed, spatially, that it deserves and requires critical research to open up an understanding of how wider global
processes are shaping the social and physical landscapes of towns in this area. As my home, it is also important for me to place queer understandings within this research; my experience growing up in this area was decidedly heteronormative, through education institutions as well as lived experience in social environment. It is my hope that in combining pressing (inter)national, political and cultural matters in human geography alongside the queer experience in place, more work will be influenced by it and more queer lives will be noticed and mapped for future research.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000711/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2095901 Studentship ES/P000711/1 30/09/2018 19/12/2019 Georgia Raine Gilling