Christopher Perkins

Christopher Perkins


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Personal profile



BA (Cantab), MA (Sheffield)

  • Programme Director Geography with International Study
  • Chair International Cartographic Association Maps and Society Research Commission 2007-2015.

I have taught and researched in Geography in Manchester since 1998, having previously run the university map libraries. My interests lie at the interface between mapping technologies and social and cultural practices, with ongoing research into performative aspects of contemporary mapping behaviour and play, alongside an emerging interest in island studies. These interests are reflected in eleven edited and authored books and numerous academic articles and in my teaching with courses currently focusing on Visual Studies, and Islands.  In addition I lead a Second Year Field Course to Crete.

Research interests

My interests have focused upon the changing nature of the map as a representation, with research charting the social contexts of map production. I co-convened with Martin Dodge the Mapping Manchester Project, including the eponymous exhibition. More recently my interest has come to focus upon critical and ethnographic approaches to contemporary mapping, with an emphasis upon the role of actor-network-based approaches to real world mapping practices, see Maps in Society for further details. In the last 5 years I have collaborated with other members of the Playful Mapping Collective in ongoing research into the productive relations between media studies, STS and critical cartography, including researh roles with the ERC funded Charting the Digital Project and the Erasmus+ funded GoGoGozo project. Emerging research also focuses on Island Studies and the cultural relations between islands and mapping practice.


Further information

Administrative experience

At the University of Manchester

  • Programme Director Geography with International Study
  • Chair Geography Mitigating Circumstances Committee

Wider professional service

  • Editorial Board member Cartographica 2010 -
  • Reviews Editor Cartographica 2010 -2015
  • Editorial Board member Cartographic Journal 2009 -
  • Chair International Cartographic Association Maps and Society Research Commission 2007 - 2015

Further information

Recent presentations

 21 national and international expenses paid invited keynotes

44 papers presented at conferences across Europe, North America, Australasia and Asia


Postgraduate opportunities

I am interested in supervising PhDs that reflect my research interests, in particular focusing upon playful mapping and ethnographies of contemporary mapping practice and island studies.


Kate McLean: (Joint with Royal College of Art from 2013) Smell Maps as Cartographic Portraits of Sensory Perception in the Urban Environment.

Amy Barron ESRC Doctoral Collage Funded 2016- The age friendly city: more than representational practice

Amy Mulvenna School/Faculty funded 2016-  Post conflct mapping across sectarian divides

Dan Evans ESRC Doctoral College 1+ 3 funded 2015- White masculinities

Lauren Greeley ESRC Doctoral College 1+3 funded  2017-  Following the smell: performing perfume

Esteban Arevalo Maldonado External Ecuadorian scholarship 2017- Historical mapping browsers


Jennifer O'Brien: Conceiving maternal child healthscapes in rural Uganda, PhD, School of Environment and Development Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) (with N Coe) (PhD 2011)

E. Ann Gardiner: The role of the tactile map in environmental education and recreation (PhD 2001).

Taki Sonbli: (From 2011) Lead Supervisor The politics and practices of planning mapping in the Middle East. (Phd 2016)

Alex Gecker: (Joint with University of Utrecht and University of Warwick) Digital mapping interfaces as casual, navigational, political devices. (PhD 2016)

Samuel Hind: (Joint with University of Warwick and University of Utrecht) Digital mapping technologies and the co-production of protest events. (PhD 2016)

Clancy Wilmott: (SED Studentship from 2012) Lead Supervisor Placing mobile mapping: technology and the global city. (PHD 2017)


Other research

Recent research projects

October 2016-September 2017 RGS-IBG Environment And Sustainabilty Research Grant

Restoring the Function and Resilience of Ecosystems on St Helena (REFRESH)              £9 560

Human geographic co-i in interdisciplinary project 


August 2015-July 2016 ERC Utrecht Warwick Charting the Digital Project                £ 29 395

Charting the Digital: Digital Mapping Practices as New Media Cultures


Research affiliate to ongonig Charting the Digital Project


January 2015-August 2015 CHERIL University of Manchester                                      £ 9292

Evaluating Field-based Learning: Multidisciplinary Mobile Mapping Methods

Student-led evaluation of field practice


October 2014- September 2017 Erasmus + Mobile Mapping Methodologies           €210 000

Interdisciplinary and international field programme in Gozo exploring the potential of playful field encounters


September 2012- 2017 ERC Utrecht Warwick Charting the Digital Project               £35,000

Funded Manchester based PhD attached to the project 


2012 SED Research Stimulation Fund                                                            £2,930

Smells of the city: detection representation and recall of place odours.  

Ran workshops and instigated collaboration leading to the publcation of 


2010 Manchester Geographical Society                                                           £1,100  

Towards the cost of mounting Mapping Manchester exhibition.                             


2009-10 SED Research Stimulation Fund                                                          £2,950

Mapping Manchester’s Urban Histories Web Portal

Scanned and made accessible key commercially published maps of the city.                                                 


2007-2008 Leverhulme Artist in Residence Fund                                               £12,000

Michael Mayhew: Principles of Mapping.                                    

Explored the links between mapping and artistic practice


2006 Manchester Geographical Society                                                               £450                      

MapChester OpenSource Mapping Workshop.

Onje of the First OpenStreetMap mapping parties.


2004-6 Joint Health Unit of the City of Manchester                                          £100,000              

Community Mapping.                                                                     

Developed a suite of on-line and hard copy walking and cycling map products reflecting community views.


2003-4 British Academy                                                                                £1,750                  

Ethnographies of Contemporary Mapping.  

Case study based explorations of mapping pracxtices across the digital divide


1991-2 British Library and Rylands Research Institute                                                 £40,000

Evaluation of online map library systems.




Current teaching

Year 1

Keswick fieldcourse
GEOG 12011 - Tutorials

Year 2

GEOG 20310 - Envisioning Space
GEOG 20072 - Crete fieldcourse (Course leader)
GEOG 20820 - Skills (Visual methods)
GEOG 20062 - Dissertation tutorials

Year 3

GEOG 30502 - Islands


Masters in GI Science

Ideas in Mapping

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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