Dr Kate Dawson

Dr Kate Dawson

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Geography and Environment

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Key Expertise
African cities, postcolonialism, urban political ecology (UPE)

About me

Kate holds BA and MSc degrees from LSE in Human Geography and Urban Studies.

Her research is interested in the relationships between sand and urbanisation - or the ways in which sand, mixed with cement and water, becomes the building blocks of the city. Her PhD fieldwork was conducted in Accra, Ghana, a growing city on the West African coast. Over the course of fourteen months, she used a variety of ethnographic methods, including moving with sand truck drivers across the city and stationing herself at sand mines at the edges of Accra. This research was accompanied by a broad set of interviews with city inhabitants, traditional authority and both local and central government officials. Her research unpicks the socio-natural production of the city, detailing the colonial histories that continue to shape the ways in which sand turns to city and the intersection of sand with the daily lives of Accra’s inhabitants.

She is currently expanding her engagement with sand and city in Accra, and working on the production of a documentary.

Kate is a keen photographer and hosted her first solo exhibition at the Hoxton Basement in July 2019 entitled ‘Shifting Sands: Anxious Landscapes in Urban Worlds.’ This multimedia installation presented images from her fieldwork in Accra, including her work at the sand pits and her documentation of inhabitants’ experiences in the shifting contours of the city. She is also co-founder of Gold Host, a growing platform for the representation and collaboration of artistic expression.

Kate has taught as a GTA on a number of courses in the Geography and Environment Department, including GY100, GY206, GY309 and GY246.

PhD Title: 'Shifting Sands in Accra, Ghana: The ante-lives of urban form.'

Expertise Details

extraction; urban ethnography