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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


  • Geography PhD Public Sector Led Development in the Northumberland Heritage Cluster April 15 2009
  • Fellow (FHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2014

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Cryptocarbon: The promises and pitfalls of forest protection on a blockchain, Howson, P., Oakes, S., Baynham-Herd, Z., Swords, J. Mar 2019, In: Geoforum
  • Tyneside’s Skateworlds and their Transformation, Swords, J., Jeffries, M. 26 Sep 2018, This is not an Atlas, Transcript
  • Interpenetration and intermediation of crowd-patronage platforms, Swords, J. 17 Sep 2018, In: Information Communication and Society
  • Crowd-patronage—Intermediaries, geographies and relationships in patronage networks, Swords, J. 1 Oct 2017, In: Poetics
  • "Where does Facebook live?" Mapping identities in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, Messer, S., Swords, J., Jeffries, M. 4 Sep 2017, Architecture Connects, London, UK, Oxford Brookes University
  • Mapping The City Exhibition, Swords, J., Jeffries, M., Messer, S. 22 Oct 2016
  • A Topological Road Map of Newcastle upon Tyne, Swords, J., Carlisle, B. 15 Jun 2016, In: Environment and Planning A
  • en_counter, Jeffries, M., Messer, S., Swords, J. 13 May 2016
  • Toonsformation: skateboarders’ renegotiation of city rights, Pugalis, L., Swords, J., Jeffries, M., Giddings, B. 27 Apr 2016, Justice and Fairness in the City, Bristol, Policy Press
  • He Catches Things in Flight: Scopic Regimes, Visuality and Skateboarding in Tyneside, England, Jeffries, M., Swords, J., Messer, S. 26 Oct 2015, Skateboarding: Subcultures, Sites and Shifts, London, Taylor & Francis

PGR Supervision

Adam Jenson The use of data visualisation in English local authorities Start: 01/10/2014


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