Peter Merriman

Prof, BA and PhD degrees, School of Geography at the University of Nottingham Certificate in Further Professional Studies in Higher Education, The University of Reading

  • Aberystwyth University
    Llandinam Building

    United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Personal profile


Peter Merriman is a human geographer specialising in human geography, and mobility and transport studies. He is a leading scholar in both cultural geography and mobility studies, and has written widely on geographies of mobility, roads and driving, and theoretical approaches to space and place. He currently leads a major project on ports, coastal communities and trans-oceanic social and cultural connectivity.

Pete completed his BA and PhD degrees in the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham, and was a Lecturer at The University of Reading from 2000 to 2005. Pete joined the DGES as a Lecturer in July 2005, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer and then Reader, before being awarded a Personal Chair in 2014. He is co-Director of the University's Centre for Transport and Mobility (CeTraM), a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and UKRI Talent Peer Review College, and has served on a range of national and international grant awarding panels. He is Editor of the 'Routledge Research in Culture, Space and Identity' Book Series, and General Editor of Bloomsbury's forthcoming 6-volume collection on 'A Cultural History of Transport and Mobility' (due 2025). He sits on the editorial boards of the journals 'Cultural Geographies', 'Mobilities', 'Transfers', 'Applied Mobilities', and 'Mobility Humanities', and the boards of two book series. He has previously served as an Associate Editor of 'Transfers' and as Reviews Editor of 'Cultural Geographies'. He was conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2022, and is also a Fellow of the RGS-IBG and the Higher Education Academy.

Responsibilities: * Head of the Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group

Research interests


My first main research interest is in social science and humanities approaches to mobility and transport. I am co-Director of Aberystwyth University's Centre for Transport and Mobility (CeTraM), and have published two monographs in this area ('Driving spaces: a cultural-historical geography of England's M1 motorway' (Blackwell Publishing, 2007) and 'Mobility, Space and Culture' (Routledge, 2012)), and co-edited four agenda-setting books: 'Geographies of Mobilities: Practices, Spaces, Subjects' (Ashgate, 2011), 'The Routledge Handbook of Mobilities' (2014), 'Mobility and the humanities' (Routledge, 2018, Korean translation 2019), and 'Empire and Mobility in the Long Nineteenth Century' (MUP 'Studies in imperialism' series, 2020). I am a member of the editorial boards of 'Mobilities', 'Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies', ‘Applied Mobilities’ and 'Mobility Humanities'. From 2012 to 2020 I served as Associate Editor of 'Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies', and from 2015 to 2017 I authored the annual progress reports on mobilities for 'Progress in Human Geography'. I have won grant funding from ESRC, AHRC and ERDF for work on this theme, including a UK-South Korea networking grant with colleagues in Lancaster, Royal Holloway and Konkuk.

Theories of Space and Place

I have completed an advanced text-book on 'Space' for Routledge's 'Key ideas in Geography' Series (2022) which aims to be the first comprehensive accessible examination of approaches that have crossed between such diverse fields as philosophy, physics, architecture, sociology, anthropology, and geography. The text examines the influence of geometry, arithmetic, natural philosophy, empiricism, and positivism to the development of spatial thinking, as well as focusing on the contributions of phenomenologists, existentialists, psychologists, Marxists, and post-structuralists to how we occupy, live, structure, and perform spaces and practices of spacing. The book emphasises the multiple and partial construction of spaces through the embodied practices of diverse subjects, highlighting the contributions of feminists, queer theorists, anthropologists, sociologists, and post-colonial scholars to academic debates. In contrast to contemporary studies which draw a clear line between scientific and particularly quantitative approaches to space and spatiality and more ‘lived’ human enactments and performances, this book highlights the continual influence of different mathematical and philosophical understandings of space and spatiality on everyday western spatial imaginations and registers in the twenty-first century. Prior to this I edited a four-volume major reference work on ‘Space’ in the ‘Critical Concepts in Geography Series (Routledge, 2016).

Port Heritage, Tourism and Place

I am AU Principal Investigator on the ERDF-funded 'Ports Past and Present' project (funded through the Ireland-Wales programme), working with Rhys A. Jones, and colleagues at University College Cork, UWTSD and Wexford County Council. This €3.2 million project involves work with tourism stakeholders and local communities to make tourists aware of the deep history of 5 major Irish and Welsh ferry ports and the history of journeys through them. We have produced 9 films with Mother Goose Films, as well as working with creative practitioners, developing a tourism app, and developing a new tourism network.


Areas of Ph.D. and D.Prof. supervision:

  • Cultural and historical geography
  • History and philosophy of geography
  • Mobility and transport
  • Cultural heritage
  • Port histories and heritage
  • Theoretical approaches to Space and Place
  • Cultures of landscape
  • National Identity and Nationalism
  • Twentieth century Britain
  • Welsh cultural history

Current PhD and DProf Students:

  • Lowri Ponsford
  • Kirsty Usher
  • Vaughan Williams

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 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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