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Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Professor Joe Painter, BA (Cambridge) PhD (Open University)

Personal web page

Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41906
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 413

Contact Professor Joe Painter (email at

Current Research

My current research focuses mainly on the prosaic geographies of the state. I am interested in both the everyday lives of state institutions and actors and the manifestation of what Timothy Mitchell calls the 'effect of the state' in the everyday lives of people and places. One strand of this work considers how mundane socio-technical practices (such as accounting, statistical analysis, economic modelling, bureaucratic record-keeping and strategizing) generate specific state effects and state geographies. Another strand will look at the incomplete, uneven, but often intensive and unnoticed permeation of 'stateness' into diverse aspects of social life.


I was born in London and grew up in Hertfordshire and then in Dorset, where I went to Weymouth Grammar School (now Budmouth College). After seven months' voluntary work in rural India in 1984, I took up a place to study geography at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University, graduating in 1987. I then moved to the Open University to do research for a PhD on the geography of trade unionism in Britain under the supervision of Doreen Massey and John Allen. In 1990 I joined the University of Wales, Lampeter (then St David's University College) as Lecturer in Geography. I moved to Durham in 1993, first as Lecturer, then as Reader (2000), Professor (2004) and Head of Department (2010-2013). I spent 12 months as a visiting fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra (2004-05). I have also held visiting positions at the University of Cambridge and the University of British Columbia, among others.

Research Groups

Research Projects

Research Interests

  • Political geography
  • Geographies of the state and citizenship
  • Urban and regional theory
  • Urban politics and governance
  • Regionalism and regionality in Europe

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Featherstone, D. & Painter, J. Spatial politics: essays for Doreen Massey. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell; 2013.
  • Atkinson, S., Fuller, S. & Painter, J. Wellbeing and place. Farnham: Ashgate; 2012.

Conference Paper

  • Painter, J. Territory-network. Chicago, USA: Association of American Geographers. Annual Meeting; 2006.

Other (Print)


Show all publications

Related Links

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Geography: Regional Politics and Government
  • Regional Affairs: Regional Politics and Government
  • Geography: Cities and urban development
  • Europe: Politics, institutions & law: European citizenship and identity
  • Citizenship, state and governance: European citizenship and identity

Selected Grants

  • 2015: Urgent Invite - GRentry: Documenting and Mapping the Unfolding Migrant Crisis at the EU/Greek Entry Point (£117604.00 from ESRC)
  • 2014: Cofund Round 4 (£81311.00 from European Commission)
  • 2012: Localism, Narrative and Myth (£4340.00 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
  • 2012: Reframing Citizen Relationships with the Public Sector in a Time of Austerity: Community Empowerment in England and Scotland (£23964.12 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
  • 2011: Connecting Localism and Community Empowerment (£17656.46 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
  • 2005: Transnational Spaces of Citizenship & Belonging in (£29340.13 from ESRC)
  • 1999: EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP (£128991.00 from ESRC)
  • 1998: OVERVIEW OF PROJECT REPORTS (£2100.00 from ESRC)