Danny McNally

Danny McNally


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Personal profile

Academic Biography

I am Senior Lecturer in Human Geography and teach across the Geoscience degrees at Teesside University.

My research draws from concepts and practices of aesthetics to think across, between, and with cultural geography, urban and environmental planning, and contemporary art. I like to work with aesthetics in three different but connected ways: 1) as a form of spatial ordering; 2) as a form of sensing the world; and 3) as a methodological framework. 

Central to my research ethos is interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues and practitioners within the academy, as well as research and practice-based collaborations with urban, environmental and arts practitioners, such as curators, artists and policy makers. I have a MA and PhD in Cultural Geography from Royal Holloway, University London.

Before joining Teesside University I held academic positions at Royal Holloway, Leeds Beckett University, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, and University of Reading.

Summary of Research Interests

My current research has three main focuses: 

1) Geography, art practice, and art theory

I am interested in the relationship between geography (human and physical), art theory, and art practice, particularly in exploring the type of encounters, spaces and politics generated by art practice. I have explored contemporary social geography and art theory concerns including meaningful encounter, relational poverty, and relational aesthetics through challenging the extent to which participatory art acts as a connective technology in diverse urban space (McNally 2016a; 2016b; 2017). I have also written about the relationship between ‘site-based’ methodologies in geography and art theory work on collaboration as a form of making (McNally 2018). Much of this work was developed in my MA and PhD at Royal Holloway. 

I am currently developing work with artist Laura Harrington which explores sites of environmental knowledge through art practice, archives and cultural geography (see McNally and Harrington 2020 for initial discussions). 

2) Embodied geopolitics, urban planning and deathscapes 

I am interested in death, remembrance and memorial as spaces of embodied geopolitics. This work was established through the research project Deathscapes and Diversity which investigated the extent to which death and remembrance practices in minority and established migrant groups were being effectively planned for in England and Wales. We have published work on issues of infrastructural violence, territory and cultural exclusion (Maddrell et al. 2021), methodological negotiations of identity, place and embodiment (Mathijssen 2021), and the spatial and imagined peripheralisation of minority groups within planning for death (Beebeejaun et al. forthcoming). 

3) Comfort and discomfort 

I am also interested in comfort and discomfort as an emerging and important topic in human geography, aesthetic theory, and the built environment. In this project we have been keen to develop a deeper understanding of the nuances, distinctions and politics around comfort and discomfort, and how these intersect humanist, cultural-political and materialist registers of understanding the world. This work can be found in our book Geographies of Comfort (McNally, Price and Crang 2021). 

Academic Responsibilities

I lead the ongoing development of the human geography components of the BSc Geography programme. I currently lead or teach on a range of modules on our BSc Geography and MSc Environmental Management degrees including, Human Geography and Globalisation, Cities and Sustainable Futures, Cultural Geography, Interpreting Environments, and Sustainability and Society.

PhD and Research Opportunities

Current PhD Students

2022 - Duncan Evennou (Primary supervior / Director of Studies)

“Petrified Museum” Performing the present tense through geological archives 

2021 - Danae Contou  (External/third supervisor, with Prof Phil Steinberg and Prof Paul Harrison, Durham University)

Cartographic Arctic Uncertainties

Lesley Hicks (second supervisor)

Drawing upon Landscape

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Royal Holloway University of London

Award Date: 1 May 2016

Master, Royal Holloway University of London

Award Date: 31 Aug 2010

Bachelor, Leeds Metropolitan University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2009


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