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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).

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where John Horton is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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geography Social Sciences
childhood Social Sciences
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Research Output 2007 2019

Disabling and enabling geographies: Celebrating 20 years of research in Social and Cultural Geography

Wilton, R. & Horton, J., 5 Oct 2019, In : Social and Cultural Geography. p. 1-9 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
cultural geography
social geography

‘The show must go on!’ Fieldwork, mental health and wellbeing in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Tucker, F. & Horton, J., 5 Feb 2019, In : Area. 51, 1, p. 84-93 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
mental health

(Re)thinking (Re)connection: young people, ‘natures’ and the water-energy-food nexus in São Paulo State, Brazil

Kraftl, P., Balestieri, J. A. P., Campos, A. E. M., Coles, B., Hadfield-Hill, S., Horton, J., Soares, P. V., Vilanova, M. R. N., Walker, C. & Zara, C., 11 Nov 2018, In : Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access

Children’s geographies and the 'new wave' of childhood studies

Kraftl, P., Horton, J., Spyrou, S. (ed.), Rosen, R. (ed.) & Cook, D. (ed.), 23 Jan 2018, (Accepted/In press) Reimagining Childhood Studies. London: Bloomsbury

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


For the love of cuddly toys

Horton, J., 4 Jul 2018, In : Children's Geographies. 16, 4, p. 446-454 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
Material Culture

Neon bright: Cool Places, youth cultures and hopeful political-theoretical futures

Kraftl, P. & Horton, J., 7 Nov 2018, In : Children’s Geographies. 17, 1, p. 17-23 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
youth culture
political attitude
Open Access
social geography
cultural geography
popular culture
media culture

Children, Young People and Care

Horton, J. (ed.) & Pyer, M. (ed.), 28 Apr 2017, 1 ed. Routledge. 274 p. (Routledge Spaces of Childhood and Youth Series)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Press / Media


Kathleen Mortimer, John Horton, Holger Siemons & Glyn Daly


1 item of Media coverage



A part of community or apart from community? Young people's geographies in mixed community developments

Author: Ryder, R., 2015

Supervisor: Tucker, F. (Supervisor) & Horton, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Experiences of young Polish migrants living in Northamptonshire.

Author: Callender, M., 2011

Supervisor: Tucker, F. (Supervisor) & Horton, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Growing up sustainably? Young people and 'sustainable' urban development.

Author: Ryder, R., 2014

Supervisor: Tucker, F. (Supervisor) & Horton, J. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The difference that difference makes: leisure, space and teenage wheelchair users

Author: Pyer, M., 2009

Supervisor: Horton, J. (Supervisor) & Tucker, F. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis