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Durham Centre for Roman Cultural Studies

Members of the Durham Centre for Roman Cultural Studies

Dr Divya P. Tolia-Kelly, PhD, London (2002), BA, Nottingham (1997)

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41819
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 412

Contact Dr Divya P. Tolia-Kelly (email at

Current Research

Visual Culture and the Cultural Geographies of Landscape

Since 1997, I have, through my research collaborations with artists Melanie Carvalho, Graham Lowe, Rosanna Raymond and Kahutoi Te Kanawa, contributed to scholarship on visual culture, material culture, race and affect, visual methodologies, and the production of images that continue in circulation in national and international art collections. These images add to the grammars, vocabularies and iconographies of national cultures of landscape and identity. These canvases feature migrant sensibilities and thier experience of 'nurturing ecologies' in the landscape. These projects and linked exhibitions are: 'Describe a Landscape . . ' (1997-2003); 'Nurturing Ecologies' (2003-2009); 'Tales of the Frontier' (2007-2011); SPILL (2006-7); and currently 'Archaeologies of Race at the Museum' (2007-2014).

Geographies of Race, Memory and Materiality at the Museum

My current research interests take my material cultures research on identity through to the space of national exhibition spaces. With a particular engagement with critical race-theory and postcolonial theory at the museum cabinet. My key question of concern is: how do we exhibit national cultures in a post-Imperial world that are free seeing the world through an Imperial taxonomy? This current research is leading to a monograph entitled An Archaeology of Race at the Museum with Ashgate. This monograph builds on my recent exhibition (AHRC funded, with DU, Geography)'An Archaeology of 'race'' ( and my monograph 'Landscape, Race and Memory: Material Ecologies of Citizenship':

Public Engagement: Art and Geography at Museums and Galleries

Public engagement has been key to my praxis within the discipline. I was awarded a Beacon Fellowship for Public Engagement in 2010 ( as recognition of this work. Throughout my academic career I have been commited to engaging with theory through praxis. Using a participatory approach I have developed visual methodologies which garner landscape values of migrant communities living in Britain. My most recent co-curated exhibition 'An archaeology of race':, which drew 12,500 visitors in its life accross three sites - Segedenum, Tullie House and the Fulling Mill, Durham University. This exhibition continues its life in the form of teaching packs used in the curriculum in county durham schools and beyond (8 000 downloaded by June 2012) see: This work exemplifies my approach to thinking through ‘national culture’ and how to represent this through a lens of inclusion, of all citizens. 

I am a co-Investigator on the ERC Living Poets research project (PI Barbara Graziosi, Classics) which is about the sensory and contemporary resonances of ancient texts at heritage sites in Europe and through textural spaces.

I am currently on the editorial boards of Gender, Place and Culture, Geography Compass, and Geography. I have recently been an academic reviewer for the sub-discipline of cultural geography for Progress in Human Geography and been convenor of the Lived and Material Cultures Research Group in the department from 2005-2010.

Research Conversations

These research collaborations and conversations are in in process: Violent Imaginaries (with Kathrin Horschelmann); Transcultural Ecologies of Home (with Rosie Cox); Connected Communities (Nayanika Mookherjee); Affecting Heritage (Emma Warterton and Steve Watson) and Translating Cultures: Between Islam and Christianity (with Anna Leone).


  • University of Durham, Geography 2004 - present
  • Lecturer, Geography 2003 - 2004 (Lancaster)
  • Lecturer, Geography 2002 - 2003 (UCL)
  • ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellow 2001 - 2002 (UCL)

Research Groups

Department of Geography

Research Projects

Department of Archaeology

Research Interests

  • Cultural Geographies of Landscape
  • Cultural Geographies of Memory
  • Cultural Geographies of Race
  • Geographies of Affect and Emotion
  • Material Geographies
  • Postcolonial geographies
  • Social and Cultural Archaeologies of Ancient Monuments
  • Visual Culture
  • Visual Methodologies

Selected Publications

Articles: review

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

  • Cook I.J. & Tolia-Kelly, D.P. (2010). Material Geographies. In Oxford Handbook of Material Culture. Hicks, D. & Beaudry, M. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. (2009). Social & Cultural Geography: Hybridity. In The International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography. Kitchin, R. & Thrift, N. Oxford: Elsevier. 258-263.
  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. (2009). Social and Cultural geography: Material Culture. In International Encyclopaedia of Human Geography. Kitchin, R. & Thrift, N. Oxford: Elsevier. 500-504.
  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. (2008). Diasporic Cosmopolitanism. In Race and Racisms. Dwyer, C. & Bressey, C. London: Ashgate.
  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. (2007). Participatory Art: Capturing Spatial Vocabularies in a Collaborative Visual Methodology with Melanie Carvalho and South Asian Women in London, UK. In Participatory Action Research Approaches and Methods: Connecting People, Participation and Place. Kindon, S., Pain, R. & Kesby, M. New York, London: Routledge.
  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. (2006). A Journey through the Material Geographies of Diaspora Cultures: Four modes of environmental memory. In Histories and Memories: Migrants and their History in Britain. Burrell, K. & Panayi, P.

Journal papers: academic

Other media: research equivalent

Other publications: research

Reports: official

  • Tolia-Kelly, D.P. & Crang, M.A. (2010). Cultural Heritage: UN Environment Assessment UK Case Study. London, UK.

Show all publications

Related Links

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Museums: British History, Heritage, Art and issues of racial inclusion
  • Regional landscape & environment: Multicultural Issues and the English Lake District

Selected Grants

  • 2012: Living Poets: A New Approach to Ancient Poetry (£18654.33 from European Commission)
  • 2007: TALES OF THE FRONTIER (£46235.13 from Arts and Humanities Research Council)
  • 2006: INTERNATIONAL GEOGRAPHERS UNION (£800.00 from The British Academy)


For details of research postgraduates associated with the Roman Centre, please see our Postgraduates page.

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