Rowan Jaines

PhD student Rowan in office
Rowan Jaines
PhD student
Supervised by Dr Jessica Dubow and Dr Eric Olund
Geographies of Discontent. Uncanny materiality and the Cambridgeshire Fens. | +44(0) 7868535253

Current research

My PhD research seeks to explore elements of the rural that have been disavowed, denied and dispossessed by contemporary human geography through a specific focus on the district of Fenland in the North of Cambridgeshire.

I am particularly interested in the materiality of these rural forgettings and the manner in which they link to wider contemporary repressions and suppressions. How, I ask, does the rural render corporeal those elements obscured by the speed, transformation and connectivity of the metropolis? How can we discuss the ways that whilst a growing majority of the world’s population is centred in urban localities, it is within the imagined ‘passive’ nature of rural that resources for industrialisation and globalisation are harvested?

Through a mixed-methods approach I investigate the phantasy of a ‘passive’ and ‘ahistorical’ rural in the Cambridgeshire fens. I ask what is the unseen prehistory/legacy of this in the disavowed life of the English rural? I am interested here in how the rural manifests alternative embodiments of the strange materiality of landscape, place and belonging. Indeed, the ways through which the production of English rural space- its construction and the perception of the landscape – wield an uncanny power in the crises of the contemporary. 

Research interests

  • Psychoanalytic Geographies
  • Critical theory
  • Creative Research Methods
  • Poetics of place
  • Rural Geography

Ph.D., Geography (2016-present). University of Sheffield.  

M.A., Anthropology (2016). University of Sussex.

P.G., Dip., Arts in Therapy and Education (2014). University of East London

B.A., Social Work (2009). University of East Anglia

External funding


White Rose Social Science Scholarship (Geography) Economic and Social Research Council.  (Tuition Fees plus Stipend).

Institutional grants


Faculty Research Support Grant (£450).


Faculty Research Support Grant (£450). 


Culture Space and Difference Research Cluster Funding (£250).

Fellowships, honours and awards


The Bill and Scarlett Epstein Prize for the best MA dissertation in Anthropology


Book chapters

(Forthcoming) Jaines, R. (2020). Getting started: Writing about the Fens. In: R. Phillip and H. Kara (eds.), Creative Writing in Social Research (161-178). London: Polity Press 

Additional research experience


Research Assistant (observing and coding team behaviours). Behaviour in Teams Project. Sheffield University Management School. 


Research Assistant. The Cultural Vernacular of Concrete. Urban Institute, University of Sheffield

Undergraduate supervision


SURE SCHEME, Selina Treuherz (second supervisor). 

Teaching experience
  • GEO257: Qualitative Methods (GTA 2019 academic year)
  • Guest Lecturer MA Sociology- Brexit Masterclass
  • GEO383: Urban Transformations (GTA 2019 academic year)
  • GEO269: Social and Cultural Geography (GTA 2017, 2018, 2019 academic years) 
  • GEO117: New Horizons in Geography (GTA 2017 academic year) 
  • GEO358: Geographies of Europe Field Class (Berlin) (Spring 2018) 
Other professional experience

2009-2015       Mental Health Practitioner (Registered Social Worker), NHS (various). 

Conference papers and panels


The Fallen-Out Element: Metaphor and Symptom. Third Culture//Literature and Sociology, University of Warwick

The Landscape Gazes Back: Towards a Topological Unconscious. Lacanian Geographies Panel. American Association of Geographers. Washington DC.


Voting “Leave in Fenland”: A Spatial History. Geographies of Discontent Panel. American Association of Geographers. New Orleans.       


Rural Subjectivities: Understanding the Embodied Demands of Global Capitalism. Spaces and Flows Research Network. Hull, UK.

Conference and workshop leadership


Poetic Methods in Social Science Research. Workshop organiser and leader for 5 PhD researchers in English and Geography and 5 poets from across the UK.


Fog, Froth and Foam (Guest Lecture from Professor Esther Leslie, Birkbeck) followed by interdisciplinary panel. University of Sheffield. 


Intimate Infrastructures in Liminal States and Peri-Urban Locations (co-organizer with Matt Barlow). Australian Anthropology Association. Adelaide, Australia. 

Academic workshops


Poetry In/As Research. University of Edinburgh.


Creative Writing in Social Sciences. University of Sheffield

International Symposium on the Global Countryside. University of Aberystwyth (Gregynog), UK. 

Critical Theory Summer School, Birkbeck University, UK 


Youth Transitions and the “Crisis in Mental Health”: A transdisciplinary analysis. University of Sheffield. UK.

Services to the profession

RGS-IBG RACE Working Group Undergraduate Dissertation Prize Reviewer (2019 and 2020). 


Article reviewer: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

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