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Dr Luke Dickens

Dr Luke Dickens


Lecturer in Urban Futures
Name: Dr Luke Dickens
Department: Geography
Tel: +44 (0) 207 7848 8085
Office: Bush House North East Wing, Room 5.18








Luke is an urban cultural geographer with an interdisciplinary background situated across work in the humanities and social sciences. He is known for his research exploring ideas of place, belonging, and citizenship within urban youth cultures, his innovative use of visual and participatory methods, and his sustained commitment to community collaborations and public engagement. His research has focused primarily in London, and draws on a wide range of policy, practitioner and community networks.

Luke became a Lecturer in Urban Futures in September 2017, having joined the Department of Geography at King’s College as a Teaching Fellow in 2016. Prior to this he was a Departmental Lecturer in the School of Geography and Environment at the University of Oxford (2015-16).

Luke has worked as a Research Associate on the AHRC-funded Energy Generation and ESRC-funded Creating Hackney as Home projects at the Open University (2013-16); the EPSRC-funded Storycircle project at Goldsmiths, University of London (2011-13); and as a researcher at The National Foundation for Youth Music (2010-11). He was a Visiting Scholar at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center (2006-7), and a Fellow at the urban studies think tank The Young Foundation (2015-17).

Luke’s ESRC-funded doctoral thesis on 'The Geographies of Post Graffiti' (2004-2009) traced how contemporary street art was performed in relation to understandings of youth culture, and through networks of London’s art world and cultural economy.

Luke is currently working on a joint British Academy/Leverhulme funded research project called ‘The Fun Palace and the Future City’ (2017-19), which explores forms of youth work and utopian thought in the reimagining of London’s East End from the 1960s to the present.

Research interests
  • Cultural politics of urban change and the urban future
  • Youth cultures, and the geographies of children and young people
  • Urban belonging, place-making and citizenship
  • Participatory, public and creative methodologies

Luke’s research seeks to better understand the cultural politics that give shape to, and are shaped by, processes of urban change. This agenda increasingly centres on notions of the urban future and is developed across three related themes.

1. Youth cultures, and the geographies of children and young people.

Luke’s interest in the cultural politics of urban change has been addressed primarily via the spatial practices and experiences of children and young people. His work on this theme has argued for the need to address a deep-seated disconnection between the centrality of ‘youth’ as a cultural category shaping imaginations of the urban future, while significant cohorts of children and young people remain marginalised from these same processes.

2. Urban belonging, place-making and citizenship.

Theoretically, Luke’s research has sought to advance relational, affective and embodied epistemologies of urban change, as a means of examining the experiential registers of place, belonging, and citizenship. This attention to the unfolding, ambivalent and contested experience of transformation in these terms poses an important challenge to the persistent dominance of representational and technocratic modes of knowing the urban.

3. Participatory, public and creative methodologies.

Methodologically, Luke’s research and pedagogical practice is informed by a sustained participatory ethics, prioritising the capacities for everyday geographical knowledges to engage public and policy debates regarding urban change. Such approaches are intended to support the ongoing struggle for equitable, socially-just, and collective forms of urban life, through both critical and creative interventions.

PhD supervision and collaboration

Luke is an active member of the Urban Futures research domain, and would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students or collaborators who might share his research interests outlined above.

Please feel free to get in touch for an informal discussion.


For the 2018-19 academic year, Luke is a contributing lecturer on the following modules:


  • 4SSG1016 - Geography in Action (Geographies of Urban Inscription)
  • 5SSG2017 - Historical Geographies of Urbanism
  • 5SSG2047 - San Francisco Field Course
  • 5SSG2058 - Urban Geography: Exploring the City [Convenor]
  • 5SSG2061 - Research Skills (Text)
  • 6SSG0610 - Independent Geographical Study (IGS) [Convenor]


  • 7SSG5002 - Practising Social Research
  • 7SSG5179 - Understanding the Sustainable City 

For a full list of Luke’s publications, please see his research profile.

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