Dr Henry Staples

School of Geography and Planning

Research Associate

Henry Staples profile photo
Profile picture of Henry Staples profile photo

Full contact details

Dr Henry Staples
School of Geography and Planning (nee Urban Studies and Planning)
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Dr Henry Staples joined the Department of Urban Studies and Planning in September 2023, supporting Dr Melanie Lombard on the British Academy project Interrogating Urban Crisis Representation and Response in ‘Disorderly’ Southern Cities. His research agenda more broadly explores how different social groups interact and make political claims in deprived urban areas.

Henry completed his PhD in Human Geography in 2021, and has since held a variety of research, teaching and professional services roles. Since May 2022, Henry has worked in the Sheffield Methods Institute with Dr Aneta Piekut and Professor Gwilym Pryce on the international mixed-methods research project Life at the Frontier.

Research interests

My research looks at how groups of people make claims to cities, particularly in the Global South. I have researched this central theme through use of qualitative and participatory methods in Colombia, South Africa, and the UK, in the context of a number of international projects.

Social inclusion and public space:

I am interested in how people interact and make use of public space, especially at the edges of cities. I am currently exploring this within the project Life at the Frontier, which asks how ‘social frontiers’ shape the experiences of different social and ethnic groups in cities across the UK, Norway and Sweden.

I am also interested in understanding and redressing the barriers to community oversight over public spaces. I researched this topic while working on the project D.Rad: De-Radicalisation in Europe and Beyond: Detect, Resolve, Re-integrate, for which I conducted research on Windrush Square in Brixton.

Conflict and peacebuilding:

My research brings together insights from geography and political science to understand how conflict dynamics affect - and are shaped by - the spaces that people inhabit. I explored this through my doctoral research on former combatants in rural and urban Colombia, and while working on the project Improbable Dialogues: Participatory Research as a Strategy for Reconciliation.

Participatory and creative research methods:

I am enthusiastic about the potential for participatory and creative methods to generate meaningful social impact from research. I have employed participatory methods in Colombia via the Improbable Dialogues project, winner of the 2021 ESRC Outstanding Societal Impact Prize.

I have supported the use of storytelling to make sense of how marginalised residents understand different kinds of crises in Colombia and South Africa, and artistic performance as a way to express complex ideas about migration in Rotherham.

I also previously worked in the Social Sciences Knowledge Exchange team, supporting academics across the faculty to embed impact into their research.

Research projects:



  • Marín JJ, López-Lizarazo LM, Ruiz-Galvan A, Bishop ML, Díaz-Arevalo JM, Kanai JM, Lombard M, Rushton S, Shesterinina A, Staples H & Turton HL (2023) Participating in peace: violence, development and dialogue in Colombia. Bristol University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles



Teaching interests

I have taught on a range of undergraduate and masters geography, journalism, international development and research methods courses. I approach teaching in such a way that students feel empowered to express alternative viewpoints and steer their learning through open dialogue.

Teaching activities

TRP6406 - Dissertation