Tara Woodyer

Tara Woodyer

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Portsmouth

I graduated from Royal Holloway (University of London) in 2003 with a BSc (Hons) in Geography. I then went on to complete an MA in Cultural Geography Research (Royal Holloway, 2004) before taking time out of academic study to work in the area of Special Educational Needs in secondary education. I then returned to Royal Holloway to complete a PhD in Human Geography (2009) and Postgraduate Certificate in Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning (2006). Following completion of my PhD (funded by an ESRC Studentship awarded through the Open Interdisciplinary Competition), I joined the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter in 2009 as a Teaching Fellow. In 2011 I was awarded an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, which I completed at Exeter alongside a period as Visiting Scholar in the Centre for Children and Children Studies at Rutgers (Camden) in the US. Following completion of my postdoctoral studies, I joined Geography at the University of Portsmouth as a lecturer.

Teaching Responsibilities

I deliver social and cultural geography components of the undergraduate teaching in the department. I am the co-ordinator of two human geography units:

Foundations of Human Geography
Place: Invented, Experienced, Represented
I also contribute to the following co-taught units:

Geography, Skills and Prospects
Social Geography: Geographies of Wellbeing
Research Design and Practice
Human Geography: critique and discourse
Independent study
I jointly teach a European residential field course to Berlin explores urban geographies, more specifically landscapes of memory, subterranean geographies and gentrification.

I have contributed chapters to the following book series:

The Wiley-Blackwell Companions to Geography series
The Open University’s Childhood series
Ashgate’s Critical Geopolitics series
I have also contributed chapters to the following reference volumes:

Springer’s Geographies of Children and Young People series
CQ Press Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture

Ludic (or playful) Geographies

My interest in play extends to it role across the lifecourse, and coalesces around three key themes: the relation of play to the everyday, a reconfiguration of the politics of play toward an inwardly oriented vitality, and the ways in which play exceeds representation. I am particularly interested in the critical and ethical potential of playful ways of being and doing and how this can operate as an affirmative mode of critique.

Geographies of Material Sensibilities

My research examines how material geographies and sensuous geographies can inform each other in productive ways around questions of tactility, affect and relational agency. As a geographer, it is not only the material relations between people and things that are of concern to me, but also the imaginative spaces that can be configured through these relations and how these spaces are enacted in and of the ‘real’ spaces of the everyday.

Creative Methodologies

Influenced by my concern with material and sensuous geographies, I am interested in exploring ways of investigating non-cognitive and profoundly practical knowledges.

Current Research Projects

Ludic Geopolitics: children’s play, war toys and re-enchantment with the British military

Funding: ESRC Standard Grant (£492,850)

This project analyses military action figures for the purpose of examining a ‘ludic geopolitics’: how contemporary geopolitics are expressed and enacted through play. Studies of the ‘military entertainment complex’ have documented the entanglement of the military and toy industry, however work has focused on videogames in a US context. Despite the iconic status of traditional toys like Action Man, and the commercial success of the contemporary HM Armed Forces brand, action figures are yet to receive critical academic attention. Using an ethnographic approach, this project examines children’s embodied practices with the HMAF range. To contextualise and historicise the brand, this work is complemented by archival and museum-based research of the British action figure’s trajectory. This research critically reviews the status of children, mundane everyday practice and the more-than-textual in critical geopolitics, and makes a significant intervention in the interdisciplinary war toy debate by addressing war toys not just as ideological texts, but as objects in playful practice.

Please see my blog for more information about my research:

Are toys becoming more violent ... and should we be worried?

Jun 03, 2016 08:21 am UTC| Insights & Views Life

A New Zealand study has reported that Lego has become more violent since the late 1970s. Debates about levels of violence within childrens media are not new, so is this significant? When we consider that Lego is famous for...



Indian government raises country of origin rule vs Amazon, Walmart

The Indian government is giving Amazons local unit and Walmarts Flipkart 15 days to explain why sellers on their platforms are not complying with a rule specifying the goods country of origin. In its notices, the...

Chinese to post 5.2% Q3 surge, on track for 2.3% full-year growth

Chinas economic recovery surged in the third quarter with growth expected to come in at 5.2 percent due to consumer spending gradually stepping up as fears about coronavirus waned, AFPs survey revealed. AFPs survey,...

Biden's poll lead boosts shares of gun manufacturers

Shares of gun makers have been surging as Democratic candidate Joe Biden who vowed to increase gun regulation widened his lead in the polls against President Donald Trump since their debate. Smith Wessons stock is up...

UK is not doing enough to get Irish-facing ports ready for Brexit

Much of the UK debate surrounding Brexit has revolved around two kinds of border. The first is the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. We have seen a combination of economic concerns about the...

India offers incentives to Samsung, iPhone suppliers to boost smartphone industry

India is giving 16 companies involved in manufacturing smartphones and components incentives to invest in the countrys smartphone industry. The list of companies includes Samsung, Austrias ATS, several Indian firms, and...


Joe Biden warning: Former VP says he expects more attacks from Donald Trump and allies about Hunter Biden reports

A big talking point amongst Donald Trump and his allies is former vice president Joe Bidens son Hunter Biden and his business dealings in Ukraine. Following the widely disputed New York Post reports about his son, Biden...

Ivanka Trump backlash: White House adviser criticized for environmental support tweet amidst father's anti-environment agenda

Environmental conservation and protection is one of the biggest challenges that people face today aside from climate change as a prevalent issue. However, Ivanka Trumps sudden support for conserving trees was criticized,...

Melania Trump slams former friend in White House statement following DOJ lawsuit

While a handful of books have already been written about first lady Melania Trump, she has usually remained mum or has already dismissed all the claims in the book. However, following the tell-all written by her former...

Donald Trump revelation: POTUS' new golf course in Scotland criticized by conservationists

Donald Trump is known for having properties in and outside the United States. Trumps new venture in building another golf course in Scotland was met with criticism coming from conservationists. Trump has received the...


Climate change discovery: Changing global temperatures may have been the cause of human extinction in the past

Climate change today is becoming more and more of a problem that the toll it has taken on the environment has become more evident especially in recent years. Aside from leading to the extinction of certain species of...

NASA discovery: New study suggests Moon once protected Earth from solar rays

Earth has often been hit by solar rays and solar radiation, but the atmosphere has protected us from the intense and dangerous amount of radiation given by the sun. A new study by NASA, however, suggests that at some point...

Asteroid alert: 11-meter space rock to fly past Earth this weekend

Asteroids regularly pass by our planet during their journey through space. This weekend, another rock is set to approach Earth, as NASA has detected. NASA has detected an asteroid traveling through space at a rate of...

Climate change discovery: 6.4 million year-old fossil reveals monkeys learned to adapt to rising temperatures

Over time, Earth has experienced the problem of climate change. Unfortunately, it has become even more evident today, with the temperatures continuously rising due to human activity. An archaeological discovery has...


iPad Air 4 release date listed as Oct. 23 by several retailers

More evidence has surfaced online suggesting that the iPad Air 4 pre-order will open on the same day as the iPhone 12 on Friday, Oct. 16. Reports have it that third-party retailers have also listed the tablet with a...

Playstation 5: Pre-orders of PS5 console units sold out faster than expected

PlayStation 5 is arriving next month and Sony officially opened its pre-order options last month. The company already announced months ago that it will only offer a limited number of PS5 units due to the COVID-19 pandemic...

‘Valorant’: New map Icebox arrives in Competitive mode at a later date

The addition of the Icebox map has to be one of the reasons Valorant patch 1.10 was widely anticipated. However, the new gameplay map will not roll out on all game modes just yet as Riot Games confirm it is going live at a...

‘Overwatch’ Halloween Terror event is back; Blizzard launches Junkenstein’s Revenge challenges, new skins and more

Overwatch holds its Halloween Terror event every year and this 2020, this annual spooky fest is returning with new challenges, Halloween skins and more. Blizzard also launched the Junkensteins Revenge co-op mode and there...
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