Elsbeth Robson

I am a human and development geographer with research and teaching interests in sub-Saharan Africa concerning social inequality and social justice particularly with respect to women and children/youth. I embrace qualitative, participatory and quantitative research methods. My career so far has been rooted in Europe (mainly UK) and Africa (especially Kenya, Nigeria and Malawi).

Gaining my BSc Hons Geography from Durham University (1990) included a year studying as an ERASMUS student at Tübingen University, Germany, and an independent research project in Kenya on peri-urban land-use transformations. My doctorate (Oxford University 2002) focused on the work of rural Hausa women in Northern Nigeria using feminist theories of empowerment applied to socio-spatial mobilities and inequalities. As a Lecturer in Development Studies (within Geography) at Keele University (1995-2005) I led numerous undergraduate fieldtrips to Kenya and developed research on young people’s caregiving work within the AIDS pandemic in Southern Africa engaging in fieldwork in Zimbabwe. I also gained an MA in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Keele University 2006).

During 2004-2013 I was based in Blantyre (Malawi) managing the Malawi component of large multi-country, inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary ESRC-DFID research grants, working for Nanzikambe Arts (Malawi’s leading theatre for development NGO), as well as undertaking consultancy for partners (including DFID, UNICEF, USAID, Cordaid) and sometimes leading field courses for geography undergraduates.

I joined the University of Hull in the summer of 2013. I am engaged in various research projects encompassing topics including on youth and mobile phones, pilgrimage and social cash transfers in Lesotho, Ghana, South Africa and Malawi. I supervise PhD students working in and of Southern Africa. A regular field course to Malawi for undergraduates is the highlight of my teaching.

Fellow member
University of Hull