Dr Katie Higgins

Urban Studies Foundation Fellow

Room number: D7a
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 6931
Email: katie.higgins@sheffield.ac.uk
Twitter: @katiewhiggins


I joined the department in May 2018 as an Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow. My research explores issues of urban inequality through ‘studying up’. It will focus on wealth and the wealthy in second-tier cities, the ways in which the social reproduction of wealth is gendered, and the relationship of wealthy elites to their local urban environment.

In 2010, I graduated from the University of Sussex with a BA in Geography. I returned to the University of Sussex for an ESRC-funded MSc in Social Research Methods and a PhD in Human Geography, for which I received an Unconditional Pass. While carrying out my PhD, I spent 12 months as a visiting researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand and four months as an ESRC-OIV funded researcher at the Department of Geography, Queen’s University, Canada.

Prior to joining USP, I worked as a Research Associate at the University of Sussex and a Teaching Fellow at the University of Keele.


My research interests span the following themes:

  • wealth and urban inequality
  • elite studies
  • the interplay of class and gender
  • privileged migration
  • multiculture in settler colonial societies
  • urban ethnography and qualitative methodologies

Research projects

Little Capital: the life of wealth elites in the everyday metropolis, 2018-2021 (funded by the USF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship)

The Fellowship will be used to develop a study of wealth and the wealthy in Manchester and its surrounds. In doing so, it will contribute novel research on wealth outside of global cities, the interplay of class and gender among the wealthy, and the utility of concepts of social and spatial withdrawal to describe their relationship with the local urban environment.

The response of British migrants living in other EU Member States to the EU referendum: national belonging, mobility and emotions, 2017-2018

This project surveyed 909 predominantly pro-Remain British nationals living in other EU Member States, asking for reflections on their national identity, future plans and whether they had experienced uncertainty following the EU referendum. It sought to understand how their national identity and sense of belonging was being renegotiated post-referendum through a lens attentive to the cultural politics of emotion.

Ambiguous migrants: contemporary British migrants living in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand, 2012-2016 (funded by ESRC 1+3)

My doctoral research explored what the idea of ‘the postcolonial’ meant in concrete, everyday terms for contemporary British migrants living in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. It drew on a combination of qualitative methods – creative, biographic and ethnographic – to explore British nationals’ migration biographies, personal geographies of the city and encounters with Auckland’s cultural and ethnic landscapes. The project has contributed to debates on urban multiculture in settler colonial societies, the colonial continuities of lifestyle migration, British migration and the interplay of racial and settler imaginaries.


Journal Articles

Book Chapters

Higgins, K., W. (In print). Britishness abroad: British migrants in Aotearoa New Zealand, in: Leonard, P and Walsh, K (Eds.) British Migration. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Public scholarship

Higgins, K., W. (2018). Britons across continental Europe left with feelings of shame and loss after Brexit. The Conversation.