Dr Diarmaid Kelliher

Published: 7 February 2020

Historical and labour geography


Dr Diarmaid Kelliher

School of Geographical and Earth Sciences

Type of fellowship          British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Area of research             Historical and labour geography

Why did you choose to pursue a fellowship in your research career?

To develop my career! I was an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, then studied for my master’s at Birkbeck, University of London. I did my MA part-time while working at the Trades Union Congress and I had a number of other jobs in libraries between my degrees. I studied for my PhD at Glasgow and really enjoyed it. After that I had a couple of short-term posts focused on impact, but fellowships let me do something more long term, that was organised and led by my own research. I was part way through an Urban Studies Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship when I applied and was awarded this position. The British Academy Fellowship is also prestigious and allowed me to keep working in this field.

Why work at the University of Glasgow?

I really enjoyed my time during my PhD and understood that the School was a great place to do research with a strong research culture. Also, as I wasn’t from a geography background pre-PhD, it was good to study in the School which has a diverse mixture of researchers with different backgrounds. I liked the University and liked the city too, and this fellowship was aimed at allowing me to keep going at Glasgow.

How would you describe your research in 20 words or less?

I’m a historical geographer with a focus on the spatial politics of labour and social movements.

What is your research highlight?

One of the short-term IAA projects I worked on was developing impact from my PhD research. It was oral history based and the result was we produced a booklet of first-hand testimonies focusing on London and the 1984-5 miners’ strike, which we were able to distribute for free, including to many of the people, groups and organisations we interviewed.

What do you look for in a collaboration?

My research is unavoidably political so it’s important that we have a similar world view, although with complementary research ideas and expertise.

How do you see your research impacting society?

I see my research as part of wider discussions within the labour movement and the left on the meaning and practice of solidarity, class politics, and so on. Rather than making a straight-forward, individual impact, I hope that my research can contribute to broader efforts to challenge inequalities of wealth and power within society.

What next?

At the end of the fellowship I’m progressing to a position as a lecturer in GES, so I’m looking forward to doing more teaching, and particularly developing courses informed by my research. I’m also looking forward to collaborating across social and physical sciences, within and beyond GES, highlighting the contribution my expertise on the labour movement can make.

First published: 7 February 2020