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Dr Jon Swords

Associate Professor

Department: Geography and Environmental Sciences

Jon’s work relates to two main areas: cultural and creative industries and visual methodologies.

In relation to the cultural and creative industries, Jon is PI of Memoryscapes an AHRC-EPSRC funded project that brings together an inter-disciplinary team from the Departments of Geography & Environmental Sciences, Architecture & Built Environment, Computer & Information Sciences and Humanities. The project involves two research partners: Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM) and FaulknerBrowns Architects. The research explores how heritage assets can be re-contextualised into public spaces using immersive technologies.

Jon has also explored changing geographies and funding systems of the creative industries. For example, through my British Academy-funded project he examined the emergence of ‘crowd-patronage’ which provides new ways to understand how traditional modes of arts funding are being re-shaped with the rise of platform capitalism, and in so doing changing the nature of cultural production and consumption.

In relation to visual methodologies, Jon’s work explores how innovative visual methodologies help us understand and engage with complex phenomena. For example, through work with skateboarders and young people he has developed new ways of mapping how the city is experienced. This research has led to a series of exhibitions which presents work created by young people themselves, as well as pieces created in collaboration with colleagues Mike Jeffries and Sebastian Messer.

Campus Address

Room D213, Ellison Building
Ellison Place
Newcastle upon Tyne

0191 243 7942


PhD in Geography, MA Human Geography Research

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Economic geography; cultural and creative industries; visualisation; cartography

Sponsors and Collaborators

Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

FaulknerBrowns Architects

Juice Festival

Current/Recent Projects

Memoryscapes: re-imagining place through immersive and participatory experiences that re-contextualise memory assets. Swords, J. (PI), Watson, R., Charlton, J., Nally, C., Rogage, K. and Kirk, D. [2017-2018] AHRC-EPSRC

Creative Fuse North East. Five university consortium, (Co-I) [2016-2018] AHRC.

Mapping the City – building a young person’s manifesto for Newcastle-Gateshead. Jon Swords, Mike Jeffries and Sebastian Messer [2015-2017] Juice Festival

Cyberpatronage – geographies of crowdfunding and the arts in the digital age [2015-2016]. Jon Swords (PI). Funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Trust

Key Publications

Swords, J. (in press) "Interpenetration and intermediation of crowd-patronage platforms" Information, Communication and Society, in press

Swords, J. and Jeffries, M. (2018) “A Map of Tyneside’s Skateworlds – How young people produce the city” in C. Lambio (ed) This is not an Atlas. Transcript: Bielefeld.

Swords, J. (2017) "Crowdpatronage – Intermediaries, Geographies, and Relationships in Patronage Networks." Poetics, 64, 63-73

Swords, J. and Carlisle, B. (2017) "A Topological Road Map of Newcastle upon Tyne" Environment and Planning A, 49(2), 245-247

Jeffries, M., Swords, J. and Messer, S. (2016) “He Catches Things in Flight: Scopic Regimes, Visuality and Skateboarding in Tyneside, England” in Lombard, K-J (ed) Skateboarding: Scenes, Sites and Shifts. Routledge: Abington. pp.57-72

Swords, J. and Jeffries, M. (2015) "Tracing Post-Representational Visions of the City – Representing the Unrepresentable Skateworlds of Tyneside." Environment and Planning A, 47: 1313-1331

My Northumbria Research Link can be found here

PGR Supervision

Neil Percival (2015-present - part time) - Supervised by Keith Shaw and Jon Swords.

An exploration of entry level working conditions and experiences in the film and TV industries, and of appropriate educational strategies to prepare students for those circumstances.


Lionel Playford (2015-present) - Supervised by John Woodward and Jon Swords.

Art from climate science in landscapes of scientific research: a systematic interaction with climate science to explore novel artistic approaches to landscape in the context of global warming.


Matt Durey (2015-present) - Supervised by John Clayton and Jon Swords.

Exploring ‘post-industrial’ urban identities through the cultural and creative sector: A comparative study of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England and Hamburg, Germany.


Adam Jenson (2014-present) - Supervised by Jon Swords, Helen King and Peter Taylor.

Local authority use of visualisation.


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