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Staff Profile

Prof Gillian Rose

Prof Gillian Rose
Faculty of Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom

Professor of Cultural Geography



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 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.


BSc(Hons) Cantab, First Class
Phd, University of London

Professional affiliations

Fellow of the British Academy
member of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

Course development and teaching

I chaired the production of Living in a globalised world (DD205) and was presentation chair of Understanding cities (DD304).

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. I interviewed women with young children about their photos, and also looked at the politics and ethics of family snaps moving into more public arenas of display when the people they picture are the victims of violence.  I'm still very interested in everyday uses of photographs.

I'm also particularly interested in visual objects in urban spaces and how they get seen. 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.  My future work will explore this further, as those technologies evolve and become more and more embedded in the experiencing of ordinary urban spaces and places.

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, third edition 2012), 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.

Recent publications

A selection of my research publications can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Producing place atmospheres digitally: architecture, digital visualisation practices and the experience economy(2015)
Degen, Monica; Melhuish, Clare and Rose, Gillian
Journal of Consumer Culture ((In press))

Rethinking the geographies of cultural ‘objects’ through digital technologies: interface, network and friction(2015)
Rose, Gillian
Progress in Human Geography ((Online First))

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)

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)

Last updated: 5 October 2015