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Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Cultural Geography
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Polis, Phil, Econ, Dev, Geog
  • Geography
  • gillian.rose

Professional biography

I received my PhD from the University of London in 1990, and worked at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Edinburgh before arriving at The Open University in 1999.  I became a Professor of Cultural Geography in 2004.  In 2012 I was awarded the Royal Geographical Society’s Murchison Award for "publications judged to have contributed most to geographical science in preceding recent years". I was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2015.


Research interests

My research interests lie broadly within the field of visual culture.  I approach images of all kinds by thinking of them as objects embedded in a wide range of social practices.  What really interests me is not so much the content of an image what happens when someone does something with it, whether that's putting it in a frame on their mantelpiece, uploading it to a social media website, or glancing at it on a public screen in a city square. 

One long-term project, which resulted in a book from Ashgate Press in 2010, looked at family photos and how their making, display and circulation created particular kinds of domestic and public spaces.

More recently I've become more interested in ways of seeing urban spaces.  I completed an ESRC-funded project which explored this theme with Dr Monica Degen from Brunel University in 2009 (ESRC grant number RES-062-23-0223), in which we compared how people experienced two rather different town centres: Milton Keynes and Bedford.

Monica Degen, Clare Melhuish and I started a new ESRC-funded project in the autumn of 2011 (RES-062-23-3305). 'Architectural atmospheres, branding and the social: the role of digital visualizing technologies in contemporary architectural practice' was a two-year ethnographic study exploring how digital visualizing technologies are being used by architects in a number of architects' studio in London.  This project made me particularly interested how digital technologies are being used to visualise cities, and in the uses of digital technologies in urban spaces more generally.  In January 2017, with a team of OU colleagues, I'll be starting a two-year project - again funded by the ESRC - looking at a range of 'smart city' technologies as they roll out in Milton Keynes.  We're particularly interested in how these technologies interact with existing social differences, as well as create new ones, and I'll be leading a strand of work looking at the role of diverse digital visualisations in a smart city like MK.

I'm also interested in more innovative ways to produce social science research, especially using visual materials.  I'm the author of Visual Methodologies (Sage, fourth edition 2016), and I was involved in organising the ESRC Seminar Series 'Visual Dialogues: New Agendas in Inequalities Research' (2010-2012). Please visit the 'Visual Dialogues: New Agendas in Inequalities Research' for more details.

I am part of the team that delivers three online modules in Advanced Image Elicitation Methods each year.

I'm a member of the OpenSpace Research Centre.

PhD supervision

I am prepared to supervise PhD students in the following areas: contemporary visual culture; domestic and other forms of photography; visual methodologies; urban visualities; smart cities.

Teaching interests

I chaired the production of Living in a globalised world (DD205) and was presentation chair of Understanding cities (DD304). I regularly teach masterclasses in visual research methods both in the UK and abroad.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
OpenSpace Research CentreCentreFaculty of Social Sciences


“The Real Modernity that Is Here”: Understanding the Role of Digital Visualisations in the Production of a New Urban Imaginary at Msheireb Downtown, Doha (2016-08-04)
Melhuish, Clare; Degen, Monica and Rose, Gillian
City and Society, 28(2) (pp. 222-245)
Rethinking the geographies of cultural ‘objects’ through digital technologies: interface, network and friction (2016-06)
Rose, Gillian
Progress in Human Geography, 40(3) (pp. 334-351)
Cultural geography going viral (2016)
Rose, Gillian
Social & Cultural Geography, 17(6) (pp. 763-767)
Producing place atmospheres digitally: architecture, digital visualisation practices and the experience economy (2015)
Degen, Monica; Melhuish, Clare and Rose, Gillian
Journal of Consumer Culture ((Early view))
On the relation between 'visual research methods' and contemporary visual culture (2014-02)
Rose, Gillian
Sociological Review, 62(1) (pp. 24-46)
Networks, interfaces, and computer-generated images: learning from digital visualisations of urban redevelopment projects (2014)
Rose, Gillian; Degen, Monica and Melhuish, Clare
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 32(3) (pp. 386-403)
The sensory experiencing of urban design: the role of walking and perceptual memory (2012)
Degen, Monica Montserrat and Rose, Gillian
Urban Studies, 49(15) (pp. 3271-3287)
Bodies and everyday practices in designed urban environments (2010)
Degen, Monica; Rose, Gillian and Basdas, Begum
Science Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Science and Technology Studies, 23(2) (pp. 60-76)
More on ‘big things’: building events and feelings (2010)
Rose, Gillian; Degen, Monica and Basdas, Begum
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35(3) (pp. 334-349)
Who cares for which dead and how? British newspaper reporting of the bombings in London, July 2005 (2009-01)
Rose, Gillian
Geoforum, 40(1) (pp. 46-54)
Using websites to disseminate research on urban spatialities (2009)
Rose, Gillian; Basdas, Begum and Degen, Monica
Geography Compass, 3(6) (pp. 2098-2108)
Landscape, mobility and practice (2008)
Merriman, P; Revill , G; Matless, D; Rose, Gillian and Wylie, J
Social & Cultural Geography, 9(2) (pp. 191-212)
Experiencing visualities in designed urban environments: learning from Milton Keynes (2008)
Degen, Monica; DeSilvey, Caitlin and Rose, Gillian
Environment and Planning A, 40(8) (pp. 1901-1920)
Landscape, mobility, practice (2008)
Merriman, Peter; Revill, George; Cresswell, Tim; Lorimer, Hayden; Matless, David; Rose, Gillian and Wylie, John
Social & Cultural Geography, 9(2) (pp. 191-212)
Spectacle and spectres: London 7 July 2005 (2007-10)
Rose, Gillian
New Formations, 62(1) (pp. 45-59)
Working a fraction and making a fraction work: a rough guide for geographers in the academy (2005-09)
Birnie, Jacky; Madge, Clare; Pain, Rachel; Raghuram, Parvati and Rose, Gillian
Area, 37(3) (pp. 251-259)
'Everyone's cuddled up and it just looks really nice': an emotional geography of some mums and their family photos (2004-12)
Rose, Gillian
Social & Cultural Geography, 5(4) (pp. 549-564)
Family photographs and domestic spacings: a case study (2003-03)
Rose, Gillian
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 28(1) (pp. 5-18)
All or nothing? Politics and critique in the modernism - postmodernism debate (1992)
Pile, S. and Rose, G.
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 10(2) (pp. 123-136)
Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials (3rd ed.) (2011)
Rose, Gillian
ISBN : 9780857028877 | Publisher : Sage | Published : London
Doing Family Photography: The Domestic, The Public and The Politics of Sentiment (2010-04)
Rose, Gillian
Rematerialising Cultural Geography
ISBN : 978-0-7546-7732-1 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Kent, UK
Visual methodologies: an introduction to interpreting visual materials. 2nd edition (2006-12-13)
Rose, Gillian
ISBN : 9781412921909 | Publisher : Sage Publications Ltd | Published : UK
Screening smart cities: managing data, views and vertigo (2017-01-26)
Rose, Gillian
In: Hesselberth, Pepita and Poulaki, Maria eds. Compact Cinematics: The Moving Image in the Age of Bit-Sized Media ((In press))
ISBN : 9781501322266 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London
Looking at digital visualizations of urban redevelopment projects: dimming the scintillating glow of unwork (2016-02-25)
Rose, Gillian; Degen, Monica and Melhuish, Clare
In: Jordan, Shirley and Lindner, Christoph eds. Cities Interrupted: Visual Culture and Urban Space (pp. 105-120)
ISBN : 9781474224420 | Publisher : Bloomsbury | Published : London
How digital technologies do family snaps, only better (2014)
Rose, Gillian
In: Larsen, Jonas and Sandbye, Metter eds. Digital Snaps: The New Face of Photography (pp. 67-86)
ISBN : 9781780763316 | Publisher : IB Tauris | Published : London
The question of method: practice, reflexivity and critique in visual culture studies (2012-01)
Rose, Gillian
In: Heywood, Ian and Sandywell, Barry eds. The Handbook of Visual Culture (pp. 542-558)
ISBN : 978-1-84788-573-9 | Publisher : Berg | Published : London
Photography and its circulations (2011)
Rose, Gillian
In: Daniels, Stephen; DeLyser, Dydia; Entrikin, J. Nicholas and Richardson, Doug eds. Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds: Geography and the Humanities (pp. 287-292)
ISBN : 978-0-415-58977-2 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Visual methodologies (2006)
Rose, Gillian
In: Griffin, Gabrielle ed. Research Methods for English Studies (pp. 67-90)
ISBN : 748621547 | Publisher : Edinburgh University Press | Published : Edinburgh
You just have to make a conscious effort to keep snapping away I think': A case study of family photos, mothering and familial space (2006)
Rose, G.
In: Wiedmer, Caroline and Hardy, Sarah eds. Motherhood and Space: Configurations of the Maternal Through Politics, Home, and the Body (pp. 221-240)
ISBN : 9781403967855 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
Visuality/Materiality: Images, Objects and Practices (2012-04)
Rose, Gillian and Tolia-Kelly, Divya P. eds.
ISBN : 9781409412229 | Publisher : Ashgate Publishing Ltd. | Published : Farnham, Surrey
Deterritorialisations: Revisioning Landscape and Politics (2003)
Dorrian, Mark and Rose, Gillian
Dorrian, Mark and Rose, Gillian eds.
ISBN : 1901033937 | Publisher : Black Dog Publishing | Published : London, UK