Dr Jo Southworth

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Teaching Fellow

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


I gained my BA (Hons) in Geography from the University of Leeds in 1994. After working at GMAP Ltd for 3 months and conducting 7 months of voluntary work at an inner city American school in Richmond, VA, I went to the University of Bristol in October 1995 where I completed an MSc in Society and Space (1996), worked as an RA (1996-1997), and completed my PhD (2002) entitled The Changing Nature of the Census? Counting race, ethnicity and religion in Britain and America. I joined the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences as a lecturer in 2001, before moving to concentrate more on the teaching side of the discipline as a teaching fellow in 2005.

Postgraduate supervision

Research Students since 2001

2002-2005 Elizabeth Mavroudi, Being Palestinian in Athens: Constructing Citizenship, Identities and transnational political networks (ESRC) completed at University of Durham.

2004-2011 Sunita Dewitt, Geographies of Asian ‘Alternative’ Economic Spaces in the West Midland: understanding enterprise creation, embeddedness and access to finance and advice (ESRC)


Research interests

My current research interests can be divided into the following areas:

  • Public geographies and pedagogy: thinking through how to get volunteering into the undergraduate curriculum as part of a larger working group on public geographies
  • Urban communities and urban social issues
  • Geographies of race, ethnicity and religion: religious communities and welfare, mixed-ethnic communities, multiracial communities; identity politics and policy implications; building cohesive communities; especially relating to Britain and America
  • Statistical and census geographies; the social use/misuse of statistics; the racial, ethnic and religious map of Britain and America and its implications; the importance of being counted and its links to identity

Current and recent research

New Formations of Religion and Welfare: ‘Charitable Choice’ in Richmond, Virginia
Funded by British Academy Small Research Grants
Joint with Dr Chris Haylett, the University of Manchester

The project focused on Charity Family Life, an after school program run by Charity Mission, a small African American church in the heart of a government housing project area in Richmond, Virginia. The aim was to look at the issue of faith communities providing welfare services to local communities. In an initiative begun under the Clinton administration, and developed further by President George W. Bush, the federal government has been aiming to open up funding opportunities to faith-based communities. This project looked firstly at how this supposed ‘levelling of the playing field’ as regards funding was working in practice, and second at how this particular community was delivering welfare, and the potential success or otherwise of this.


Key Publications since 2001

Southworth, J.R. (2005) ‘Religion’ in the 2001 Census for England and Wales Populatio, Space and Place 11, 75-88

Southworth, J. (2001) ‘Count me in?’ Radical Statistics 78, pp.32-39

View all publications in research portal