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
- Davies T. (2018) 'Toxic Space and Time: Slow Violence, Necropolitics, and Petrochemical Pollution' Annals of the American Association of Geographers
- Dhesi S., Isakjee A. and Davies T. (2018) 'Public Health in the Calais Refugee Camp: Environment, Health, and Exclusion' Critical Public Health
- Harrowell E., Davies T., and Disney T. (2018) 'Making Space for Failure in Geographic Research' Professional Geographer
- Davies T., Isakjee A. and Dhesi S. (2017) 'Violent Inaction: the necropolitical experience of refugees in Europe' Antipode
- Alexis-Martin B., and Davies T. (2017) 'Towards Nuclear Geography: Zones, Bodies, and Communities' Geography Compass
- Davies T., and Isakjee, A. (2015). ‘Geography, migration and abandonment in the Calais refugee camp’. Political Geography Vol. 49
- Davies T. and Polese A. (2015) ‘Informality and Survival in Ukraine’s nuclear landscape: living with the risks of Chernobyl’. Journal of Eurasian Studies Vol. 6 No. 1 pp34-45
- Davies T. and Polese A. (2015) 'Informalidad y supervivencia en Chernóbil: etnografía de un espacio nuclear'. Methaodos.Revista de Ciencias Sociales Vol. 3 No. 2 pp221-238
- Davies T. (2013) ‘A visual geography of Chernobyl: double exposure’. International Labor and Working-Class History Vol. 84 pp116-139
- Davies T. (2012) ‘Eyewitness, Birmingham’ Criminal Justice matters Vol. 87
- Spalek B., Isakjee A. and Davies T. (2012) ‘Panic on the streets of Birmingham? Struggles over space and belonging in the Revanchist City’. Criminal Justice matters Vol. 87
- 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.
- Polese A. and Davies T. (2016) 'Informality between private and state initiative' in Polese A. [ed] Limits of a Post-Soviet State: How Informality Replaces, Renegotiates, and Reshapes Governance in Contemporary Ukraine. Columbia University Press: New York
- Davies T. (2015) ‘Nuclear Borders: informally negotiating the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone’ in Morris J. and Polese A. [eds] Informal Economies in Post-Socialist Spaces: Practices, Institutions and Networks. Palgrave: London
- Davies T. (2017) Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States / Carl Zimring. Ethnic and Racial Studies
Selected Media Publications
- Alexis-Martin B. and Davies T. (2017) Finger on the button: should Trump's nuclear weapons access be restricted? The Guardian
- Alexis-Martin B., Malin S. and Davies T. (2017) The Anthropocene is a nuclear epoch – so how can we survive it? The Independent
- Alexis-Martin B. and Davies T. (2016) If nuclear war broke out where's the safest place on Earth? The Guardian
- Isakjee A. and Davies T. (2016) As the Calais camp is demolished, a hidden crisis continues for refugees living in squalor. The Conversation
- Davies T. (2016) Toxic Life? The Slow Violence of refugee abandonment, Toxic News
- Alexis-Martin B., Malin S. and Davies T. (2016) Will mankind survive the anthropocene? Experts warn nuclear weapons will make the 'age of man' even more dangerous - and could wipe us out entirely, The Daily Mail
- Alexis-Martin B. and Davies T. (2016) Japan earthquake: social aftershocks of Fukushima disaster are still being felt. The Conversation
- Davies T., (2016) Post-Atomic thoughts: Remembering Chernobyl and Fukushima, Toxic News
- Davies T., Dhesi S., and Isakjee A. (2015) ‘Is this really Europe?’: refugees in Calais speak of desperate conditions', The Conversation
- Davies T. (2014) ‘Ukraine’s other crisis: Living in the shadow of Chernobyl – where victims receive just 9p a month and are left to fend for themselves’, The Independent
- Mah A., Davies T., Wang C. and Holmes I. (2016) Toxic Expertise: Environmental Justice and the Global Petrochemical Industry University of Warwick, Briefing Paper: November 2016
- Dhesi S., Isakjee A., and Davies T. (2015) An Environmental Health Assessment of the New Migrant Camp in Calais. University of Birmingham [submitted as evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the ‘Migration Crisis Inquiry’ and discussed in The Guardian here]