Kate Botterill

Kate Botterill

Dr Kate Botterill

Lecturer in Human Geography


I am a Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University and Associate Fellow in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University.

Prior to joining ENU I was a Postdoctoral Researcher on two large qualitative research projects: At Loughborough University working with Professor Karen O'Reilly on Lifestyle Migration in East Asia (ESRC); and at Newcastle University working with Professor Peter Hopkins on Young People's Everyday Geopolitics (AHRC).

I completed a PhD in human geography in 2012 that explored Polish mobilities and the re-making of self, family and community. Prior to this I worked as a policy researcher on a range of projects related to social mobility, inequality and youth in post-industrial regions.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of the Association of American Geographers and an Associate of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland.

Research Interests

My research critically engages with debates in social, political and population geography on the subjects of race, migration and security. Heavily influenced by feminist social theory and practice, I am interested in exploring/advancing:

a) the intersectional and relational dynamics of migration and mobility;
b) the multi-scalar relationship between geopolitical discourse and practice and people's everyday (in)securities;
c) participatory and co-produced research methodologies

My current research investigates Polish migration to the UK in the context of Brexit exploring the impact of geopolitical instability on psycho-social identities. This reflects a broader interest in processes of differentiation in EU mobility regimes and the strategies of resistance employed by migrants to preserve ontological security alongside political uncertainty and exclusion.

I also have ongoing involvement in collaborative research with Peter Hopkins (Newcastle University), Gurchathen Sanghera (University of St Andrews) and Rowena Arshad (University of Edinburgh) on young people’s everyday geopolitics in Scotland, focusing on the intersections of race, religion and migration against the backdrop of Scottish nationalism and the 2014 independence referendum.


I currently teach the human geography content on ENU's BA (hons) Social Sciences programme

SSC08100 Society, Space and Place
SSC09102/SSC09602 Social and Cultural Landscapes
SSC10117 Nature, Culture and Ethics.

I also run a course on urban change in Hong Kong, and contribute to undergraduate lectures on qualitative research and visual research methods.

I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.



  • Political Psychology
  • Social and Cultural Geography;
  • Annals of the Association of American Geographers;
  • International Migration Review;
  • Gender, Place and Culture;
  • Mobilities
  • Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies;


Conference Activity

  • 'Securing Disunion: nationalism, identity and (in)security in the campaign for an independent Scotland'. Paper presented at Association of American Geographers conference, Chicago: April 20th; at the RGS-IBG annual conference, London: 4th September & at the Emotional Geographies conference, Edinburgh: June 10th
  • 'Intersectional encounters, progressive politics and multicultural nationalism in the campaign for an independent Scotland'. Paper presented at Gendered Rights to the City conference, University of Wisconsin, Milwaulkee, April 17th
  • 'Flexible ethnography and practice stories for migration'. Paper presented at THEMIS ‘Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond' Conference, Oxford University, 24th-26th
  • 'The transitive spaces of youth mobility: Post-accession Polish migrants in the European Union'. Paper presented at the Association of American Geographers Annual Conference, New York, 24th February
  • Conference Chairing: 'Lifestyle migration and the state: new frontiers for population geography'. RGS-IBG annual conference, 27th-30th August
  • Conference Chairing: 'Gender, migration and mobility: conversations in population and feminist geography'. RGS-IBG annual conference 27th-30th August
  • Conference Chairing: 'The Geographies of Graduate Migration and Mobility'. RGS-IBG annual conference, Edinburgh, 3rd-6th July
  • 'Negotiating Brexit Britain: Coping strategies of Polish nationals in Scotland after the UK Referendum on EU membership'. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, 29th August - 1st September 2017, London
  • Conference Chairing: 'Negotiating Brexit - migrant identities and spatialities in a changing Europe'. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, 29th August - 1st September 2017, London
  • 'Discordant lifestyle mobilities in East Asia: privilege and precarity of British retirement in Thailand'. IMISCOE workshop on Ageing and Migration. New University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • Conference committee member of Conference on “Race, religion and migration: spaces, practices, representations” Newcastle University
  • 'Diversity and Multicultural Nationalism in Scotland': Paper presented at AHRC Symposium on Multicultural Belonging, Nationalism and Diversity, Newcastle University, 28th October 2016
  • 'Bargaining Chips or Stakeholder citizens? Polish migrant political agency in 2 UK referendums' American: Association of Geographers Annual Conference, 4-9th April, Boston, MA


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • 'Race realities, issues and disparities: evidence from Scotland'. Race Disparity Audit Committee, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, 29th November
  • 'Young people’s everyday geopolitics in Scotland: issues for educators'. Education Institute Scotland Equality Committee. Edinburgh, March 15th
  • Race Disparity Audit: Review of Ethnicity Facts and Figures website. Race Disparity Unit, Cabinet Office. Edinburgh University, 12th October


Invited Speaker

  • 'Islamophobia in Scotland: Young People’s Experiences'. Scottish Government Internal Seminar, Edinburgh, 22nd September (with Peter Hopkins and Gurchathen Sanghera)
  • 'Polish youth transitions in mobile spaces'. Perspectives on European Migration and Mobilities International Workshop, University of Sunderland and North East Strategic Migration Partnership, Sunderland, 21st March
  • 'For labour or leisure? Polish mobility in Scotland'. Work and Migration Seminar: Global Borders as Barriers and Bridges. Norwegian University for Science and Technology, Trondheim, 14th June
  • Transitions, Lifestyles, Mobilities: Becoming mobile in the European Union. Summer Mobilities Workshop, University of the West of England, Bristol, 20th June
  • 'Why Youth Identity Matters'. Scottish Universities Insight Initiative seminar on ‘Migrant Youth Identity in Scotland’. Glasgow, October 19th
  • Panel on 'Brexit, Race and Migration' : American Association of Geographers Annual Conference, 7th April, Boston:MA
  • 'Nationalism, identity and (in)security in the campaign for an independent Scotland'. Conference on Race, Religion and Migration: Space, Practices, Representations, Newcastle University, 14th January
  • 'Islamophobia in Scotland: Young People’s Experiences'. Understanding and Tackling Islamophobia Conference, Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre, Glasgow City Hall, 6th October


Media Activity

  • Eight Ways Islamophobia Operates in Everyday Life: Article in The Conversation, Oct 11th 2016
  • Young non-Muslims face Islamophobia too: Article in The Conversation, 2nd March 2017
  • ‘It’s not only Muslims who are the victims of Islamophobia’ Interview in The National


Pre-Napier Funded Projects

  • Young People's Everyday Geopolitics in Scotland
  • Lifestyle Migration in East Asia
  • Polish youth mobilities and the re-making of self, family and community

Current Post Grad projects