Research Grants

Below are details of research grants I have received.

2011 – 2012: ‘The Perception of the Cycling Environment: Infrastructures, Atmospheres, and the Experience of Sustainable Cycling’. Funded by the RGS-IBG Small Grant scheme (£2889).

Project abstract:

In the last fifteen years the encouragement of cycling and the development of cycling-related infrastructure has been an ongoing Government policy objective. Taking Plymouth as a case study, and drawing on interviews with key stakeholders in cycling planning and advocacy, the analysis of recent cycling policy and provision, and video-interviews with cyclists, this research seeks to develop understandings of cycling behaviour in two key ways. Firstly, much of the study of cycling, and particularly that related to the evaluation of policy provision, has been quantitative in nature. As such, this research takes a qualitative approach in studying cycling and the provisions made for it by examining the interrelation of cyclists and the planned environments they move through at an experiential level. Secondly, drawing on recent work related to non-representational theory and discussions of embodied practices, this research expands upon the small amount of existing research which has begun to examine the more general experience of cycling by focusing on the affective elements of this interrelation. As such, the research draws attention to the significance of the various atmospheres (both meteorological and felt) experienced by cyclists in their moving through the planned urban environment to the uptake of this practice.

2010 – present: ‘Sensory Enigmas of Contemporary Urban Mobilities’ (~€200,000).


International research network funded by L’Agence nationale de la recherché (French National Research Agency) examining the affective atmospheres of mobile spaces. Led by colleagues at ‘CRESSON’ (University of Grenoble) and in collaboration with ‘Emerging Securities’ (Keele University) and other international partners.

2005-2009 – ESRC 1+3 Postgraduate Studentship (~£61,500).

Thesis abstract:

This thesis examines the complex geographies of street performance and the multitude of ways in which this practice is situated within, and therefore shaped by, the specific spaces in which it takes place. Emerging from, and contributing to, the turn to practice in human geography, and particularly developments in non-representational theory relating to a reinvigorated engagement with work in phenomenology in the articulation of a post-phenomenology, the thesis takes an ecological approach to practice. This approach pays attention to the complex relatedness of practices to the socio-cultural, political, material-built, and atmospheric environments in which they take place and the embodied subjectification that occurs in this relatedness. In light of this ecological approach and conceptual development, the thesis pursues two lines of enquiry relating to street performance. Firstly, the thesis recognizes that artistic performances can open up possibilities for something different to emerge in the everyday life of the city. As such, it examines how street performers produce a specific form of convivial space in the city, but also how their interventions may be guarded against through restrictions placed on the access to, and use of, public space. The thesis asks: ‘What happens when the street space is transformed into a performance place?’ Secondly, drawing on ethnographic experiences of performing and observing performances, and recognizing that an engagement with such performances is inescapably an engagement with the body, the thesis research examines the embodied experience of street performance by looking at what it is like to actually undertake and experience such a practice in such (legislated) spaces. The thesis asks: ‘How do the spatialities and materialities of the street, and the socialities that emerge therein, affect the embodied experience of performing?’ This is pursued in terms of both the performer and the urban communities watching those performances. Finally, the pursuit of these empirical questions is framed by the development of the post-phenomenology mentioned above, and particularly through asking: ‘How can the subject-centred nature of much of phenomenological thought be supplanted while still emphasizing the centrality of embodied experience, and the situatedness of the body, to understandings of practice?’

2 Responses to Research Grants

  1. Rob Youde says:

    Dear Paul,
    I am currently researching for my dissertation piece which is of the performance of cycling in Plymouth, and how it may be improved for the cyclist. The research grant you received for: ‘The Perception of the Cycling Environment: Infrastructures, Atmospheres, and the Experience of Sustainable Cycling’. is of great interest to me and i was wondering if you had any scripts/papers on this matter? Thanks for your time, i look forward to speaking with you,
    Robert Youde (Geography with Ocean Science BSc at Plymouth University)

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