We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Geography

Current Postgraduate Students

Mr Matt Finn, BA, MA (Research Methods)

Research Postgraduate (PhD) in the Department of Geography
Telephone: 41815 / 41817
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 601

Contact Mr Matt Finn (email at


Running through my research is a consistent thread of engagement with schools and the relations conducted with and within them. Through this I have had the opportunity to consider a range of social, cultural, economic and political issues which inform the basis of my PhD studies exploring the relationship between data and futures in schools.

Before becoming a student at Durham I had a variety of jobs including being a Human Resources administrator with a City Council, an unqualified teacher, a local education administrator and a church-based pastoral worker with students.


PhD Geography | 2011-present, Durham University.

Education, Data and Futurity. This is described further in 'Current Research' below.

MA Research Methods (Geography) | 2010-2011, (Distinction), Durham University.

Thesis: How to hear a voice? ‘Student Voice’ and exploring Participatory Action Research in a school.

BA Geography | 2007-2010, (1st Class), Durham University.

Dissertation: Men in primary schools: negotiated masculinities in a feminised space?

I would like to acknowledge the funding of my Masters and PhD studies (ESRC Quota Studentship - 000471227).

Current Research

Data and Schools in the news

Education, Data and Futurity

My PhD research explores the school as a site for the production of futures and hence the relationship of education to futurity.

Over the last decade an emerging and now highly significant way by which futures are being imagined and enacted in schools is through the increased production and use of data. Attending to the changing place and scope of data in contemporary schooling in the UK provides a timely and important means by which to investigate the wider themes of education and futurity.

Drawing on and seeking to extend emerging accounts of the geographies and temporalities of data in schools it will ask: what is the place of data in the process of education and the production of futures? Through gathering new empirical material it will explore the kind of staff and student subjectivities anticipated and produced through this ‘data work’, and relate this to wider questions about futurity and the purpose and politics of schooling.


Parkside Group


As well as involving lesson observations and interviews with pupils and staff my research led to working alongside pupils to develop their own research projects about their school. In July 2013 they presented their results and recommendations to staff members at the school and also to colleagues in the Geography Department.


Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • Geographies of education
  • Futurity, temporal logics and anticipatory techniques
  • Participatory Action Research (PAR)
  • Childhood, youth and young people
  • The place and politics of 'data' in subject/identity formation and contemporary governance

I am also interesting in issues of pedagogy and have sought to bring this to the tutoring and demonstrating roles I undertake.

Tutoring and Demonstrating Duties


2012-present: Human Geography Space and Place in a Changing World (Level 1)
2011-present: Social Research in Geography (Level 2)
2013-present: Political Geography (Level 2)
2011-present: People, Participation and Place (Level 3)
2012-present: Politics / Space - Drawing Lines, Writing the World (Level 3)


2011-2012: Introduction to Geographical Research (Level 1)
2012-2013: Learning and Teaching Representative (Postgraduate Committee)



  • Atmospheres of progress in a data-based school (revised) - Education, Emotions and the Future Seminar, Geography Department, University of Leicester, UK
  • Invited presentation: Forging futures in a data-based school (revised) - code acts in education seminar, University of Edinburgh
  • Forging futures in a data-based school (revised) - AAG, Tampa, USA, in 'Data-based living: peopling and placing 'big data'' session
  • Forging futures in a data-based school (revised) - RGS-IBG, London, UK, in 'The co-productions of data-based living' session organised with Nat O’Grady (Southampton University)
  • ‘Co-producing methods/knowledge in geographies of childhood and youth’ session organised with Grace Sykes and Thomas Grant (University of Leicester) for the RGS-IBG, London, UK


  • Atmospheres of progress in a data-based school - RGS-IBG Conference
  • Governing futures in a data-based schoolRGS-IBG Conference, (part of the 'Governing the self: young people's futures, aspirations and ambiguous agency' session organised with Jo Pike)


  • (In)dividuals and data-based futures in schools - 2nd International Education Conference on Geographies of Education, Loughborough University
  • How to hear a voice? ‘Student Voice’ and Participatory Action ResearchRGS-IBG Conference
  • How to hear a voice? ‘Student Voice’ and Participatory Action ResearchSt. John's College, Broaderlands Seminar


  • Engaging Geography students in participatory action research with communities - with Rachel Pain, RGS-IBG Conference
  • Faith, encounter and confession: an undergraduate’s experience of the lecture theatre as a site of geographies of religion, Geographies of Religion: a new dialogue conference, Newcastle University

Is supervised by


Journal papers: academic