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Personal profile

Research Interests

John Horton is a Human Geographer based in the Faculty of Education and Humanities. His research mainly focuses on the spaces, cultures, politics, playful practices and social-material exclusions of contemporary childhood and youth. 

John is currently one of the Editors of the international academic journal ‘Social & Cultural Geography’, and previously served a term as Editor of the international academic journal ‘Children’s Geographies’. He is co-author of the book Cultural Geographies (Routledge, 2013), and Series Editor of a new major book series on Spaces of Childhood and Youth (Routledge, 2015-25).

John has been Principal or Co-Investigator on more than thirty funded research/evaluation projects with children and young people in the UK. For example, he has been Co-Investigator on five major, interdisciplinary research projects funded by ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council). 

John is Chair of the University of Northampton’s Research Ethics Committee, which is chiefly responsible for reviewing all ethics applications for doctoral research at the University. He is lead author of the updated institutional ‘Research Ethics Code and Procedures’, which summarises expectations and principles for all research at the University of Northampton. 

Before moving to the University of Northampton, John completed a BSc and ESRC-funded MSc/Doctorate in the School for Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.


John is an experienced supervisor and examiner of postgraduate research. He has co-supervised seven doctoral researchers to successful completion. Current doctoral supervisions include:

Jacqueline Dalton: How are community service providers hearing the voices of teenagers and what are the impact of these on service design and delivery in Northamptonshire during a time of austerity?

Wendy Bannerman: Improving life chances and enhancing employability for young people leaving care in England and Japan

Debbie Kilsby: Transitions to parenthood; care experienced young fathers' perspectives

Jo Alexander: Deconstructing Intergenerational Transmissions of Family Violence

Nicola Smithers: The lived experience of parents involved in the decision to withhold or withdraw treatment from their critically ill baby?

Georgia Laganakou: What feasible macro scale interventions could stimulate a sustainable growth in the UK housing retrofit market?

Tim Curtis: Social Innovation and Intensive Engagement in Neighbourhood Policing

Teaching Interests

John contributes to undergraduate teaching in Human Geography: 

  • GEO1006 Introducing Human Geographies 
  • GEO2028 Issues in Human Geography 
  • GEO2029 Approaches to Research in Human Geography 
  • GEO4007/8 Geography/Human Geography Dissertation 

John is an experienced supervisor and examiner of postgraduate research. He currently supervises ten PhD researchers, and has co-supervised six doctoral researchers to successful completion: 

  • 2008: Michelle Pyer – Play, space and teenage wheelchair users
  • 2011: Lee Dunkley – Sure Start and social capital
  • 2012: Matthew Callender – Urban lives of young East European migrants
  • 2015: Rebekah Ryder – Young people in ‘mixed’ communities
  • 2018: Wendy Turner – Young people and health literacy
  • 2018: Rana Hassan – Cyber-activisms and the Egyptian revolution

John has been External Examiner for PhD research at 15+ different international universities.

John also currently serves as External Examiner for undergraduate programmes in Childhood Studies (Northumbria University) and Geography (York St. John University).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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