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...



Why every company needs a Chief Fun Officer

It has long been recognised that all work and no play is likely to lead to less productive, dissatisfied workers. As far back as the 1930s, management researchers such as Elton Mayo and Mary Parker Follett noted that...

How we consume electricity has changed dramatically in the past 20 years – and the market has failed to keep up

Its been more than two decades since Britains retail electricity market was opened to full competition in 1999. Before that, retail supply was provided by state-owned entities with regional monopolies. Today, all...

Australia’s headline inflation seen at 0.7 pct q/q in Q4, rise to 1.9 pct y/y: ANZ Research

Australias headline inflation is expected to come in at 0.7 percent q/q in Q4, with the annual rate rising to 1.9 percent, according to the latest report from ANZ Research. The largest contributor to the headline figure...

NZ headline CPI likely to rise 0.5 pct q/q in December quarter, says ANZ Research

New Zealands headline consumer price inflation (CPI) for the December quarter is expected to have risen 0.5 percent q/q, with annual inflation accelerating to 1.9% from 1.5% in Q3, according to the latest report from ANZ...

BI likely to maintain policy rate at 5 pct on Jan 23, remain open to future rate cuts: Scotiabank

The Bank Indonesia (BI) is expected to maintain its policy rate at 5 percent at its monetary policy meeting on January 23, but with the door remaining open to future rate cuts amid Indonesias benign inflation outlook,...


Fans defend Michelle Obama as Donald Trump attacks former FLOTUS on her birthday

Former First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated her 56th birthday anniversary on Friday, January 17. However, President Donald Trump spoilt Obamas special day when he attacked the former FLOTUS School Nutrition Guidelines on...

Heading into Iowa: Where do the Democratic candidates stand on health care coverage?

As Democratic presidential hopefuls gather in Iowa for the seventh debate, Iran and foreign policy will likely play a central role. But health care will remain the most important topic of debate for many Americans. No...

How politics and poverty affect electricity provision in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwes economic challenges are numerous, but one of the most pressing is electricity scarcity. Around 40% of the countrys population has access to electricity. The country has access to vast and diverse possible...

Three reasons why Boris Johnson's promise to revitalise the north could come back to haunt him

For his forthcoming Budget on March 11, Chancellor Sajid Javid has promised to unleash Britains potential uniting our great country, opening a new chapter for our economy and ushering in a decade of renewal. This was on...

Ivanka Trump revelation: The truth about the First Daughter’s relationship with Melania Trump

Ivanka Trump and her dads third wife, Melania Trump are rarely seen together and there are reports that the two do not see eye to eye which means they have personal issues. And because of this, it is easy to assume that...


Black hole: Scientists spot strange objects near the Milky Way

Black holes reside in the heart of galaxies, and in a span of billions of years, can consume everything it can come across, including light. Recently, some scientists have spotted strange celestial objects lurking around...

UFOs: Leaked footage can threaten national security, says US Navy

The presence of UFOs or Unidentified Flying Objects has continuously baffled many, from enthusiasts to government agencies. Recently, the United States Navy has warned that having to release more footage of these...

NASA: Hidden room at Cape Canaveral revealed agency's secret space reconnaissance mission

The Cold War saw the United States and the Soviet Union go head to head in what was deemed the Space Race in the early 1960s. A documentary reveals how a secret space mission by NASA was revealed. The documentary NASAs...

NASA: Hubble Space Telescope captures Eta Carinae star system eruptions

If there is one thing to know about space, it is that the phenomena that take place within the galaxies and star systems can be amazing. The Hubble Space Telescope for one, recently captured one of the brightest star...


‘Wasteland 3’ release date, gameplay: inXile’ upcoming role-playing game to introduce a few changes

With the Wasteland 3 release date just four months away, interest about the upcoming squad-based role-playing video game from inXile Entertainment is starting to pick up. Heres whats currently known about the highly...

Are self-driving cars safe? Expert on how we will drive in the future

Cars are changing fast. But are innovations such as autonomous and flying cars a bright new dawn, or just a wild pipe dream? And if they become the futures way of getting from A to B, can we trust them to take us there...

Virtual reality could expand therapy options in remote areas

In recent years, experts have focused on finding better ways to improve remotely delivered mental health care. Now, virtual reality (VR) may pave the way for myriad new opportunities. Using VR for remote therapy...

‘Overwatch 2’ release date, rumors: New heroes joining the fray

Overwatch 2 has already been confirmed by Blizzard at the BlizzCon 2019. Since then, numerous rumors and speculations have been floating around, which includes the possibility that the title might already be out this...

‘Elder Scrolls 6’ release date, rumors: Why Black Marsh could be an interesting location choice

The Elder Scrolls 6 release date will definitely arrive - Bethesdas Todd Howard already confirmed that the studio is working on it in E3 2018. But the bad news is, its going to be a long wait for fans. Bethesda Is...
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