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Much looking forward to this – inaugural VC Fellowship Lecture on November 22, with my fellow Fellows following through the year! 

Fellowship Inaugural Lectures

Holding image for Fellowship Inaugural Lectures. Photo of Tracey Bhamra at Research Conference 2015.

This prestigious lecture series showcases Loughborough University’s Research Fellows, who will present their cutting-edge research and outline their career to-date. The lectures will offer some insight into the careers of some of Loughborough’s leading Early Career Researchers, and will be followed by the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the University.

Dr Antonis Vradis

School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

The New Spatial Contract: the way we move (and live) in cities today

We perfectly understand the meaning of being “on time”. So much of our daily lives revolves around this : scheduling meetings, meeting deadlines, running errands and doing chores at set intervals―in short, managing when we do what. But what about where we do what? Here, I believe, there is a gap in our understanding. Even though we are equally―if not more―aware of the invisible barriers that separate the spaces through which we move, we lack the words to describe these. Take the example of the campus: a lecture theatre is the space to deliver lectures, a kitchenette is where you will prepare a cup of tea or some food, an office is where an academic will work, meet colleagues, etc. Mix up any of these spaces and their use, and things can get pretty strange, pretty fast.

I call this invisible human agreement a “spatial contract”. I believe it works in ways that are very similar to the social contract, this implicit agreement we have with the authorities that govern us in terms of how we are meant to act and what we can expect in exchange. And similarly with our conceptualisation of time, the barriers are socially constructed but nevertheless extremely robust. To understand what breaking them could possibly entail, I have been studying contemporary cases where the spatial contract is tested to its limits. From the Brazilian favelas, to migrant camps, to the Greek riots, my aim is to understand the state of the spatial contract today: how and why people challenge the current spatial status quo, and what it might look like in the future.


Antonis grew up in Patras, Greece’s port city and gateway to the West: he has been fascinated by people moving in and through cities ever since. Antonis studied Sociology at University of Leeds, the academic home of Zygmunt Bauman, before moving to London School of Economics to study for two Masters, followed by his PhD, completed under the supervision of Diane Perrons in 2013. Antonis was a Junior Research Fellow at Durham University (2014-2016) before moving to Loughborough as a Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow in September 2016.

Time and Place

This lecture takes place Wednesday 22 November 2017, 12.30-13.30, Brockington U005.

Please make sure you book your seat.

Planning for the Future

This lecture will be followed by the workshop “Planning for the Future: Fellowships, collaboration & transdisciplinary research“, which aims to provide information about fellowships and encourage cross campus collaboration leading to transdisciplinary research. The workshop is being organised in conjunction with the Disaster Risk Management theme of the Secure and Resilient Societies Global Challenge within the CALIBRE framework.  Visit the Eventbrite page to find out more and to sign up to this exciting event!

Last month, we officially started work on NutriCities, one of the grants awarded through the British Academy Cities&Infrastructure Programme. This is very exciting: working with good colleagues and friends Dr Timo Bartholl and Dr Christos Filippidis (PDRAs), Dr Oonagh Markey and Dr Richard Pithouse (from Loughborough and Wits University, South Africa as Co-Is), plus two local researchers on the ground in the Maré complex of favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Starting from questions on food scarcity and food sovereignty, our aim is to understand how informal populations are managed and pacified – how, beyond the official practices of militarisation and control, the city’s populations are now rendered governable and docile through and ever-increasing set of technologies of government. Stay tuned for updates from Rio!

I am back in the States, for the second time in as many months, for the beginning of what will be a long journey of documenting and trying to get a grip of urban life in Trump’s America – the affirmatively captivating contradictions, the tensions, the despair and the hope that oozes through the great cities of a not-so-great country. As the narrative of crisis is repeated, time and time again, in the places that I happen to traverse the world over―Athens to London, to New York―and as the present as we have known it evaporates, the only question that feels to matter is, what next? A permanent displacement of the present into the future leaves an ever-pending present.

What happens in the city in these times? A quiet revolt, a denial the grandiose spectacle, a retreat―but is it defeatist?―to the intimacy of our minuscule, everyday space where the catastrophe can be skived off, perhaps even averted, it feels.

To be continued.

Two Fully funded PhD studentships in the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

PhD applications on Space and Communication – Loughborough University

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University (CRCC) welcomes applicants for ESRC funded doctoral studentships in Communication and Media.

The CRCC is a large, interdisciplinary research centre that has been at the forefront of research in the field internationally for twenty five years. The CRCC has a large, vibrant and cosmopolitan post-graduate community working on a range of subjects in the fields of sociology, media and cultural studies, social psychology and geography.

Dr Antonis Vradis (Geography) would be particularly keen to support applications from students with an interest or expertise in the intersection of space and communication, with a particular focus in one of the following areas:

  • Critical urban studies at a time of crisis, including but not limited to both the communication and representation as much as the actual marginalisation of urban populations; the shifting representations of public space and the communication of dissent and the right to protest in cities across Europe.
  • Critical migration studies, particularly on the dynamics of dominant and mainstream representation of the current migration wave in Europe and the transformations of media, state and other institutions in the process. Research here could lead up from Transcapes (, the ESRC/DFID grant where Vradis acts as PI.
  • Social movement studies, including the portrayal and representation of grassroots social innovation, alternative currencies and grassroots resistance in face and in spite of the prevalence of neoliberal policies in Europe. Research here would relate to PURSI (pursi) the ESRC Urban Transformations project where Vradis acts as Co-I.
  • Contemporary Brazilian social and spatial studies, with a particular focus on the representation and the lived experience of the country’s marginalised urban populations and its communication in the mainstream, in the midst of the country’s currently unfolding crisis.

For further information or to discuss your proposal, please contact Antonis Vradis at a.vradis [ a t ]

The CRCC leads the communication and media pathway of the ESRC Midlands Graduate School doctoral training partnership, a consortium of six research intensive universities based in the English Midlands. Full details of how to apply can be found here:

Co-organised with my colleague Yorgos Mattes as part of our research project, Police Science in Digital Environments, funded by Greece’s Research Centre for the Humanities in 2016. Our other research collective, Transcapes, will also partake in the conference, which will take place at Athens University’s Department of Philosophy and History of Science (Lecture B at UoA’s Zografou Campus) on December 7, 2016 from 5 to 9pm. Programme follows (in Greek).

Continue Reading…

Joining Loughborough

September 15, 2016 — Leave a comment

I am excited to have joined Loughborough’s Geography Department as Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow as of last week – one of the five that have been recruited across the entire University. The fantastic post comes with fully-funded, nationality/residence-free PhD studentship – do consider applying if you want to join a great cohort of critical geographers in the East Midlands!

The last 2,5 years at Durham have been absolutely wonderful. I will of course still be working with Joe Painter, Sue Lewis, Paul Langley and Colin McFarlane on the PUrSI project – and looking forward to the projects to come!