Dr Julian Clark BA (Hons), MSc, PhD

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Reader in Political Geography

Contact details

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

Julian Clark is Reader in Political Geography at the University of Birmingham and Research Theme Lead for Human Geography. His research focusses upon critical geographical understandings of the state, and the governance of natural resources. Within these domains, Julian examines questions of state spatialities (how states as political objects are materialized and stabilised over space and time); the practices of state representation (including through geographies of diplomacy); and critical governance approaches to environmental change through evidence-based decisionmaking and novel theoretically informed methods.

Julian has written monographs on the institutional pathways and spatial patterning of governance within the European Union (The Modalities of European Union Governance co-authored with Alun Jones (OUP), and undertaken path-breaking research on the geographical and spatial dimensions of Europeanization (Routledge 2010). He has written over 60 internationally peer reviewed publications, arising from EU, ESRC-NERC-DFID, European Science Foundation and NERC – DFID funded projects. His internationally leading research has led to appointments as specialist advisor to the UK House of Lords on governance of innovation in rural areas (2010-12), and to the UK’s Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology on precision farming (2015).


  • BA (Hons) in Geography, University of Oxford. Peter Kirk Memorial Scholar
  • MSc in Landscape Ecology, Design and Management, Wye College, University of London
  • PhD Department of Geography, University College London 


I currently contribute to undergraduate and graduate modules in the following areas:

  • Environmental assessment and management
  • Social and political geography
  • Environmental governance
  • Theoretical themes for human geography
  • Research methods for human geography

Postgraduate supervision

My research focuses in two areas – developing critical understandings of the state (particularly how states materialize and exercise power, and the practices of state representation through geographies of diplomacy); and on critical governance approaches to natural resource management (particularly water, and its complex associations with global change and social-ecological and socio-technical systems). I have 11 doctoral student completions and currently supervise five PhDs. With colleagues, I have a doctoral studentship cohort programme attached to a NERC-SHEAR consortium grant (2018-2021).

I welcome ideas for doctoral research projects in the following areas:
- governance of natural resource management
- critical geopolitics
- political geographies of the state; state spatialities; and forms of state representation, including diplomacy

Other activities

I am involved in a wide range of professional services, public outreach and other interdisciplinary activities, including: 

  • 2012 – 2016:  External examiner, Birkbeck University of London, School of Geography, Environment and Development. MSc Environmental Management; BSc Geography
  • 2010 – 2012: Specialist advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union. Advising on scrutiny of EU legislation in environmental, regional development and agricultural policy; providing guidance to members on inquiry into Innovation in European rural areas.
  • 2009 – 2012: External examiner, University of London SOAS BSc Environmental Management; MSc Environment and Biodiversity; MSc Environmental Management
  • 2007 – 2009: Adviser, Rural livelihoods programme, New Economics Foundation
  • 2004 – present: Associate Research Fellow, Institute for European Environmental Policy, London.
  • 2006 – present: Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for European Protected Areas Research, Birkbeck, University of London
  • 2009 – present:  Invited member, European Science Foundation referee panel, EUROCORES and Exploratory Workshop proposals.
  • 2004 – present:  Fellow of the Institute of British Geographers. 
  • 2004 – present: Member, Higher Education Academy.
  • 2009 – present: Editorial board, Environmental Geography, Geography Compass

I have refereed for internationally peer-reviewed journals including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; Political Geography; Area; Environment and Planning AEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy; Geoforum; Geografiska Annaler; Journal of Environmental Planning and Management; Land Use PolicyJournal of Rural Studies; International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology; International Journal of Water Management.


Recent publications


Alemie, TC, Buytaert, W, Clark, J, Tilahun, SA & Steenhuis, TS 2022, 'Barriers to implementing poverty alleviation through livelihood strategies: A participatory analysis of farming communities in Ethiopia's upper Blue Nile basin', Environmental Science and Policy, vol. 136, pp. 453-466. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2022.07.002

McGinlay, J, Jones, N, Clark, J & Maguire-Rajpaul, VA 2021, 'Retreating coastline, retreating government? Managing sea level rise in an age of austerity', Ocean and Coastal Management, vol. 204, 105458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2020.105458

Russell, C, Clark, J, Hannah, D & Sugden, F 2021, 'Towards a collaborative governance regime for disaster risk reduction: exploring scalar narratives of institutional change in Nepal', Applied Geography, vol. 134, 102516. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apgeog.2021.102516

Clark, J 2021, '‘The Darroch affair': assemblage lines, components, and transformations', Political Geography, vol. 84, 102304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102304

Docherty, JM, Mao, F, Buytaert, W, Clark, JRA & Hannah, DM 2020, 'A framework for understanding water-related multi-hazards in a sustainable development context', Progress in Physical Geography, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 267-284. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309133319900926

Vij, S, Russell, C, Clark, J, Parajuli, BP, Shakya, P & Dewulf, A 2020, 'Evolving disaster governance paradigms in Nepal', International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, vol. 50, 101911. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2020.101911

Karpouzoglou, T, Dewulf, A, Perez, K, Gurung, P, Regmi, S, Isaeva, A, Foggin, M, Bastiaensen, J, Van Hecken, G, Zulkafli, Z, Mao, F, Clark, J, Hannah, DM, Chapagain, PS, Buytaert, W & Cieslik, K 2020, 'From present to future development pathways in fragile mountain landscapes', Environmental Science and Policy, vol. 114, pp. 606-613. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2020.09.016

Cieslik, K, Shakya, P, Uprety, M, Dewulf, A, Russell, C, Clark, J, Dhital, MR & Dhakal, A 2019, 'Building Resilience to Chronic Landslide Hazard Through Citizen Science', Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 7, 278. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00278

Mao, F, Zhao, X, Ma, P, Chi, S, Richards, KS, Clark, J, Hannah, D & Krause, S 2019, 'Calibration of biological sensitivity values using environmental conditions and ridge regression methods', Ecological Indicators. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.105478

Mao, F, Zhao, X, Ma, P, Chi, S, Richards, K, Clark, J, Hannah, DM & Krause, S 2019, 'Developing composite indicators for ecological water quality assessment based on network interactions and expert judgment', Environmental Modelling and Software, vol. 115, pp. 51-62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.01.011

Clark, J & Jones, A 2019, 'Geopolitical teleconnections: diplomacy, events and foreign policy', Political Geography, vol. 75, 102049. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2019.102049

Mao, F, Khamis, K, Krause, S, Clark, J & Hannah, D 2019, 'Low-cost environmental sensor networks: recent advances and future directions', Frontiers in Earth Science, vol. 7, 221. https://doi.org/10.3389/feart.2019.00221

Jones, A & Clark, J 2019, 'Performance, emotions, and diplomacy in the United Nations assemblage in New York', Annals of the American Association of Geographers, vol. 109, no. 4, pp. 1262-1278. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2018.1509689

Jones, A & Clark, J 2019, 'Political Geography and Political Science: common territory?', Geopolitics. https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2019.1643161

Review article

Mao, F, Khamis, K, Clark, J, Krause, S, Buytaert, W, Ochoa-Tocachi, BF & Hannah, DM 2020, 'Moving beyond the Technology: A Socio-technical Roadmap for Low-Cost Water Sensor Network Applications', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 54, no. 15, pp. 9145-9158. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07125

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