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Hilary Geoghegan

Photograph of Hillary Geoghegan

Areas of interest

  • Cultural geography
  • Science and technology as leisure and work
  • Natural environment and climate change through landscape and volunteering
  • Architecture, heritage and museum collections
  • Citizen science, civic geographies and public histories

Research centres and groups

Human Geography Research Cluster


Hilary is a cultural geographer specialising in enthusiasm. Through her research, she seeks to understand more fully what motivates and sustains individual and collective participation in activities, hobbies, interests, projects and research.

Hilary is interested in relations between people and the material world, particularly as they change over space and time. To date her research has examined passions for technology, architecture, wetland birds, weather and trees.

Hilary has a PhD in Human Geography on the cultures of enthusiasm (with MA in Cultural Geography (Research) and BA (Hons) in Geography with European Study). Prior to joining the University of Reading, Hilary worked at UCL on her ESRC Future Research Leader award researching what motivates and sustains participation in citizen science projects relating to tree health.

She has also held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-09), as well as worked at the University of Exeter on the ESF-funded project 'From Climate to Landscape: Imagining the Future' (2009-12), which connects her work on enthusiasm to understanding the local effects of climate change.

She has also secured research funds from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), for a study exploring the role, contribution and value of the volunteer wetland bird counters to knowledge of the effects of climate change and subsequent conservation policy. Hilary is also Co-I (with Dr Hannah Neate (UCLan)) on a British Academy small grant researching 'Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm' in order to investigate how volunteer guides articulate, experience and interpret 20th century architecture.

From April to September 2012, she worked as an AHRC research fellow at the Science Museum on a project gathering the stories and memories of women who worked on the telephone switchboard in Enfield between 1925 and 1960. This also involved an exhibition and project blog.


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