Professor Peter Kraftl BA (Hons), PhD, FRGS, FAcSS

Professor Peter Kraftl

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Chair in Human Geography

Contact details

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

Professor Peter Kraftl is best known for his research on children’s geographies, and especially for research into the emotions, affects, materialities and practices that make up their everyday lives. He also publishes on geographies of education and architecture. He is currently an Editor of the journals Area and Children’s Geographies and was a founding member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He is also an Honorary Professor at the School of Education, RMIT, Melbourne.

From 2018-2020, he held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship on Plastic Childhoods, which examines the many ways in which plastics are entangled with children’s lives.

Google Scholar page

Peter is a member of the Directors Collective of the Children and Childhood Network at the University. The network brings together academic staff and students from across the University who are interested in interdisciplinary childhood research. For further details visit our Children and Childhood Network pages.

Peter is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.

Qualifications

BA (Hons.) Geography, University of Wales Swansea, 2001
PhD Geography, University of Wales Swansea, 2005

Biography

Professor Peter Kraftl completed his PhD in Geography at the University of Wales Swansea in 2005. His PhD focused on utopian practices at two ecological buildings, and spawned his longstanding interest in children’s geographies, education and architecture. Peter worked at the Centre for Children and Youth at the University of Northampton between 2004-2007. He moved to the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester in 2007. There, he progressed through Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader before becoming a Chair in Human Geography in January 2014. He took up a Chair in Human Geography at the University of Birmingham in September 2015. In 2020 he was conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and awarded the prestigious Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Murchison Award for his longstanding work on geographies of childhood and education

Peter is the author of 10 books and over 100 journal articles. His work is often placed centrally within a so-called ‘new wave’ of childhoods studies, as it focuses on questions of emotion, affect, materiality, memory and much more besides. At the intersection of these theoretical debates, he has developed a longstanding, substantive interest in children’s experiences of newly-built (and ‘sustainable’) urban spaces, in alternative education spaces and environmental education, and in the design and inhabitation of school buildings.

Peter currently co-leads the Voices of the Future project as part of the UKRI Future of UK Treescapes programme and is an Executive Member of the NIHR School for Public Health Research. He recently completed a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (called ‘Plastic Childhoods’), which examines these theoretical issues through the lens of contemporary concerns about plastics in the environment. Peter has also been collaborating with colleagues in Canada and Australia as part of an SSHRC-funded project on climate change pedagogies, and with colleagues in Brazil via Newton- and European Research Council-funded projects about young people and the food-water-energy nexus (details below).

Peter has led or co-led a number of funded projects on the above themes, including the following:

UKRI, Lead Co-I, “Voices of the Future: Collaborating with Children and Young People to Re-Imagine Treescapes” (part of UKRI Future of UK Treescapes programme). Total award £1.6 million, duration August 2021-July 2024. NE/V021370/1.

NIHR, Co-I and Executive Member, “School for Public Health Research” (core member of UoB-led PHRESH consortium, as part of the 2022-2027 SPHR, with 11 other UK Universities). Total award £25 million, duration April 2022-April 2027.

Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Principal Investigator, “Plastic Childhoods”. Awarded £51,389, duration September 2018-March 2020.

European Research Commission, Co-ordinator (PI), “Building resilience in the face of nexus threats: local knowledge and social practices of Brazilian youth”. Awarded Eur. 270,327 (£240,000), duration May 2019-May 2022.

Leverhulme Research Fellowship, Principal Investigator, “Plastic Childhoods”. Awarded £51,389, duration June 2018-December 2019. Awarded £51,000, duration September 2018-March 2020.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, UK PI, “Climate Action Network: Exploring Climate Change Pedagogies with Children”. Awarded Canadian $200,000 [£120,000], duration April 2017-March 2020.

ESRC-Newton-FAPESP, Principal Investigator, “(R)econnect the Nexus: Young Brazilians’ Experiences of and Learning about Food-Water-Energy”. Awarded £425,000, duration January 2016-September 2018. 

ESRC-CONFAP (Newton Fund, Collaboration/Networking Grant), Co-Investigator, “Sharing Futures: Sustainable Urban Transformations in Water and Energy". Awarded £90,886, duration January 2015-December 2016. 

ESRC, Co-investigator, “New Urbanisms, New Citizens: children and young people’s everyday life and participation in sustainable communities” (with researchers at Warwick University and The University of Northampton). Awarded £670,000, project duration June 2009-June 2012. Website: https://newcitizens.wordpress.com/

AHRC/EPSRC, Co-investigator, “Realising participatory design with children and young people: A case study of design and refurbishment in schools” (with researchers at The University of Northampton, Coventry University and Keele University). Part of ‘Designing for the Twenty-First Century’ Programme. Awarded £330,000, project duration January 2007- April 2009.

Peter is currently Honorary Secretary of the Research and Higher Education Division of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). He was an Editor of Area and Children’s Geographies journals. He was a founding member of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and was the Research Group’s Chair from 2012-15. He has given invited talks around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Canada, and held visiting Professorships in those countries. He is fortunate enough to be a member of the incredible Common Worlds collective, whose global membership examines children’s lives as they are embedded with/in more-than-human relations.

Peter has worked with a range of international, national and local organisations, largely based on his work with children and young people in new or emerging urban places. He is currently advising national and local agencies involved in the delivery of large, master-planned housing developments in the UK about how best to include children and young people in their design processes.

Peter is a Coordinating Lead Author for UNESCO's International Science and Evidence Based Assessment of Education, as part of their Futures of Education Initiative (https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/)

Teaching

I currently teach on the following modules:

  • Year 1 Contemporary Human Geography (module convenor)
  • Year 1 Tutorials and Study Skills for Human Geographers
  • Year 3 Geographies of Childhood and Education (module convenor)
  • Master’s Doing Human Geography (module convenor)

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise eleven PhD students, working on a variety of topics. I welcome applicants from prospective students on any of the following topics.

  • Children’s geographies - especially (but not exclusively) with conceptual interests in nonrepresentational, posthuman and new materialist theories.
  • Geographies of education – especially alternative education
  • Geographies of architecture (including sustainable urban design)
  • Utopia, hope, everyday ‘alternatives’

Research

Peter is part of the Human Geography Research Group. His work falls into the following sub-themes:

  • Geographies of Childhood, Youth and Education
  • Adapting to Energy and Environmental Uncertainties
  • Embodied Geographies

Research interests

  • Children’s geographies (especially child-friendly cities and children & environmental change)
  • Geographies of education – especially alternative education
  • Geographies of architecture (including sustainable urban design)
  • Utopia, hope, everyday ‘alternatives’

Other activities

  • Honorary Secretary, Research and Higher Education Division, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Former Editor of Area journal and Children’s Geographies journals
  • Founding member and Chair (2012-15), Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
  • Editorial Board member and Volume Editor, Springer Major Reference work on Geographies of Children and Young People
  • External Examiner, Coventry University BA Geography Degree, 2013-
  • External Examiner, University of Gloucestershire Playwork Degrees, 2012-
  • External Examiner, Cardiff University Geography Degree, 2016-
  • Editor, Spaces of Childhood and Youth book series (Routledge)
  • Member of ESRC Peer Review College, 2010-
  • Member of GCRF Peer Review College, 2018-
  • Visiting positions at Warwick, Otago, Linkoping, Western (Ontario) and RMIT Universities

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Kraftl, P 2020, After childhood: re-thinking environment, materiality and media in children's lives. Routledge Spaces of Childhood and Youth, 1st edn, Routledge, London. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315110011

Article

Kraftl, P, Hadfield-Hill, S, Jarman, P, Lynch, I, Menzel, A, Till, R & Walker, A 2022, 'Articulating encounters between children and plastics', Childhood. https://doi.org/10.1177/09075682221100879

Singh, S, Pykett, J, Kraftl, P, Guisse, A, Hodgson, E, Humelnicu, UE, Keen, N, Kéïta, S, McNaney, N, Menzel, A, N’dri, K, N’goran, KJ, Oldknow, G, Tiéné, R & Weightman, W 2022, 'Understanding the ‘degree awarding gap’ in geography, planning, geology and environmental sciences in UK higher education through peer research', Journal of Geography in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098265.2021.2007363

Kraftl, P, Andrews, W, Beech, S, Ceresa, G, Holloway, S, Johnson, V & White, C 2021, 'Geographies of education: a journey', Area. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12698

Andres, L & Kraftl, P 2021, 'New directions in the theorisation of temporary urbanisms: Adaptability, activation and trajectory', Progress in Human Geography, pp. 030913252098532. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132520985321

Kraftl, P, Lynch, I, Jarman, P, Menzel, A, Walker, A, Till, R & Hadfield-Hill, S 2021, 'So you’re literally taking the piss?! Critically analysing and accounting for ethics (and risk) in interdisciplinary research on children and plastics', Children's Geographies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2021.1875124

Börner, S, Kraftl, P & Giatti, LL 2020, 'Blurring the '-ism' in youth climate crisis activism: every agency and practices of marginalized youth in the Brazilian urban periphery', Children's Geographies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2020.1818057

Zara, C, Coles, B, Hadfield-Hill, S, Horton, J & Kraftl, P 2020, 'Geographies of food beyond food: transfiguring nexus-thinking through encounters with young people in Brazil', Social and Cultural Geography. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2020.1809010

Hadfield-Hill, S, Horton, J, Kraftl, P, Antonio Perrella Balastieri, J, Ricardo Nogueira Vilanova, M, Alves Dias, R & Valladares Soares, P 2020, 'Spaces of interdisciplinary in/congruity: the coming together of engineers and social scientists in planning for sustainable urban environments', International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2020.1759606

Chapter

Rodrigues, L, Soares Gonçalves, JC, Tubelo, R, Porter, N, Mirzaei Ahranjani, P, Kraftl, P, Andres, L, Michalski, RLXN, Mülfarth, RCK & Monteiro, L 2020, Exploring Urban Regeneration Through Temporary Uses in Central São Paulo, Brazil. in Urban Book Series. Urban Book Series, Springer, pp. 199-213. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61753-0_14

Börner, S, Kraftl, P & Giatti, LL 2020, Saberes e ações dos jovens: reflexões e práticas na educação para a sustentabilidade. in Educar para a sustentabilidade: visões de presente e futuros. IEE-USP: Reconectta. Editora Na Raiz, Sao Paulo, pp. 68.

Commissioned report

Acton, J, Anderson, P, Andres, L, Angus, M, Amor, P, Arrowsmith, J (ed.), Asmelash, H, Bartington, S (ed.), Bengtsson, F, Bhullar, L, Bloss, W, Bonet, B, Börner, S, O Bonsu, N, Bryson, JR, Burns, V, Burrows, A, Calvert, C, Cassidy, N, Cavoski, A, Chadyiwa, M, Chapman, H, Chapman, L, Cockram, M, Degendardt, L, Dickinson, D, Ding, Y, Dobrzynski, D, Dolo, M, Dora, J, Ercolani, M, Ersoy, A, Farag, H, Ferranti, E, Fisher, R, Freer, M, Goldmann, N, Goode, CE, Greenham, S, Gulati, S, Hadfield-Hill, S, Harper, G, Hegerl, G, Hillmansen, S, Holmes, J, Huang, JJ, Huser, C, Jackson, R, Jaroszweski, D, Jefferson, I, Johnson, J, Kaewunruen, S, Kelly-Akinnuoye, F, Kettles, G, Kraftl, P, Krause, S, Leckebusch, GC, Lee, R, Lockwood, B (ed.), Lohse, J, Luna Diez, E, Lynch, I (ed.), MacKenzie, R, Maddison, D, Makepeace, J, Mann, V, Marino, R, Mavronicola, N, McDonald, M, McGowan, K (ed.), Metje, N, Ng, K, Nicol, J, O'Sullivan, C, Phalkey, N, Prestwood, E, Pyatt, N, Quinn, A, Radcliffe, J (ed.), Ravi, M, Reardon, L, Reeder, T, O’Regan, P, Remedios, L, Roberts, J, Rogers, C, Rungskunroch, P, van Schaik, W, Swan, J (ed.), Thomson, I, Toft, H (ed.), Tong, J, Botello Villagrana, F, Walton, A, Wason, C (ed.), Weir, C, Wood, R & Zhong, J 2021, Addressing the climate challenge. University of Birmingham. https://doi.org/10.25500/epapers.bham.00003451

Editorial

Kraftl, P, Datta, K & Geoghegan, H 2020, 'Editorial introduction: Revisiting Jacqueline Tivers’ “How the other half lives”', Area, vol. 52, no. 4, pp. 766-769. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12662

Kraftl, P, Taylor, A & Pacini-Ketchabaw, V 2020, 'Introduction to Symposium: childhood studies in the Anthropocene', Discourse, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 333-339. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2020.1779448

Preprint

Greene, S, Antell, G, Atterby, J, Bhatia, R, Dunne, E, Giles, S, Groh, S, Hanson, E, Hilton, J, Knight, H, Kraftl, P, Morgan, E, Rhodes, I, Rockey, F, Singh, S, Stevenson, C, Sun, S, Warren, B, Wheeley, J & Yamoah, K 2021 'Safety and belonging in the field: a checklist for educators' EarthArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31223/x53p6h

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