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Thom Davies


Dr Thom Davies is a human geographer and photographer interested in how communities experience and informally negotiate exclusion, forced migration and the contested expertise of environmental risks. He has conducted in-depth comparative and ethnographic research in Ukraine, Japan, France, and the USA using a range of qualitative and participatory techniques. Thom joined the University of Warwick in September 2015 from the University of Birmingham, where he worked as a Teaching Fellow and completed his doctorate in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Thom is contunuing to publish his work in academic journals including Antipode, Political Geography, and the Journal of Eurasian Studies. He is working as a Research Fellow on the ERC funded project ‘Toxic Expertise: environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Company’ and is conducting research in ‘Cancer Alley’, Louisiana.

Thom is an editor of Toxic News Magazine and reviews articles for journals including Annals of Association of American Geographers, Social Science & Medicine, Political Geography, Journal of Borderlands Studies, and Professional Geographer.


In 2015 Thom was awarded urgency funding from the ESRC (IAA) to research the refugee crisis in Calais. Working with NGOs and colleagues in Public Health and Geography, he produced the first academic study of the ‘New Jungle’ refugee camp, submitting the report as evidence to Home Affairs Select Committee on the ‘Migration Crisis Inquiry’.

Thom’s PhD research focussed on the social fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine, where he conducted long-term ethnographic research with fenceline communities living around the nuclear Exclusion Zone. In 2014 he received a JSPS fellowship to research the impacts of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. Based at the University of Tokyo, Thom employed qualitative methods to research marginalised groups impacted by the technological disaster.

Thom is working with Dr Alice Mah and Dr Cynthia Wang on a major ERC funded project that critically examines the Toxic Expertise of the global petrochemical industry, revealing the claims, debates, and actions of industrial corporations and local fenceline communities. He will be conducting ethnographic research in Louisiana, USA.

His photographic work has been exhibited in various galleries including Portrait Salon, and he has been published in several British Newspapers. Thom has used visual methods such as photography, participatory photographic and ‘blank mapping’ techniques as part of his research methodology and research output.

Dr Thom Davies has been interviewed about his research on BBC radio, RT, as well as Italian and Russian national radio, and his research has been featured in the Independent, Guardian, Telegraph and on Channel 4 News.

Current Research Projects

  • Toxic Expertise: environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry’ – Sociology. Funded by ERC Starting Grant, (PI: Dr Alice Mah) work package one and two, 2015-2020 (project website)
  • Refugee crisis: health and wellbeing in the ‘new Jungle’ camp in Calais’- Human Geography and Public Health. Co-PI, together with Dr Surindar Dhesi and Dr Arshad Isakjee (University of Birmingham). Funded by: ESRC urgency award (IAA), 2015

Selected Academic Publications

Journal Articles


  • Davies T. and Mah A. (2019) 'Environmental Justice and Citizen Science in a "post truth" age'. Manchester University Press
  • Davies T., Isakjee A., Dhesi S. (2019) 'Informal Migrant Camps' in Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration, Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer Fluri [eds], Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Book Chapters

Book Reviews

Selected Media Publications



Email: /
Room: E.0.21
Telephone: +442476524881
Twitter: @ThomDavies

Calais research in the Guardian