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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Lizzie Richardson, BA (Cambridge); MA, PhD (Durham)

Research Fellow in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43475
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 205

Contact Dr Lizzie Richardson (email at elizabeth.c.richardson@durham.ac.uk)

Lizzie’s research focuses on the performance and qualification of work as an economic activity. She is interested in the historically and geographically specific processes of definition of work and their implications for mobilisations of “the economy” variously as an urban, regional, national and global entity. Ongoing empirical foci are:

1. Cultural production: this takes the micro-practices of cultural production such as rehearsal spaces, writing workshops, open mic nights and street performance. These sites illustrate that “culture” has its own devices of production, and that these operate more broadly in economic activity beyond a designated cultural sector. Functioning at the fringes of recognised institutions, with short-term resource horizons and the requirement for ongoing qualification of work, cultural production is therefore one model for systems of production operating outside the “standard employment relation”.

2. Office technologies: this explores the development of the office as a site for the communication of information that configures distinctions between private and public. The office illustrates the historical development of technologies that make information and its communication into work, and through this standardise occupational roles. Contemporary office technologies are geared towards evermore instant communication over greater distances, apparently undoing the importance of office location and of worker occupation in the office. These pose a challenge to the definition of the office, for example as a signifier of economic development, or as a place of controlled work that is distinct from life.

3. Consumption work: this examines how urban last-mile delivery is changing practices of shopping and food consumption in the UK. E-commerce and platforms have shifted the geographies of retail and consumption, with a general tendency away from self-selection in a shop towards online purchase, distribution centres and delivery. The delivery worker thus arises as a flexible and mediating agent of service, somewhat distinct from previous labour roles in the retail and hospitality sectors. The marketplace of the platform reconfigures socially reproductive activity, continuing the movement of the work of food preparation outside of "the home".

Lizzie also has a long running interest in cultural studies, and in particular how modes of political articulation are complexly performed through shifting and contested relations that may include but cannot be reduced to (infra)structures of state citizenship. This has led her to publish on matters of racial and diasporic identity in Britain, queer theory and mediation, and feminist approaches to technology.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Chapter in book

Book review

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2016: Digital workplaces: technology and the self-organisation of work (£83100.00 from Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2015: Creative workplaces: the changing geographies of self-employment, RGS-IBG, £3000
  • 2015: Making work outside prison: offenders and informal economies, Cambridge Humanities Research Grant, £13,000 (with Dr Tatiana Thieme, UCL)