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Our staff

Staff categories 

These are our Birkbeck staff categories within the Department of Geography.

Head of department

  • Melissa Butcher, Assistant Dean, Professor in Social and Cultural Geography

Academic staff 

Teaching and scholarship staff

Honorary Research Fellows

  • Jan Etienne
  • Jo Abbess
    • Jo Abbess is a published author on the topic of Renewable Gas, having started to ask the question about what can be done to decarbonise gas whilst a Climate Change Management MSc student at Birkbeck. Jo is now working on a second book on Renewable Gas around the demands of her full-time online tutoring in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English.
    • Read Jo's blog
  • Harry Langford
    • Harry studied at the City of Liverpool College of Higher Education for a degree in physical geography and geology awarded by Lancaster University in 1981. In 1999 he was awarded a PhD by Anglia Polytechnic University for a thesis on Sedimentological, Palaeogeographical and Stratigraphical Aspects of the Middle Pleistocene Geology of the Peterborough Area. His research interests are fluvial and glacial sedimentology, British Pleistocene history and stratigraphy, and Pleistocene history of the Peterborough area. He currently leads a multidisciplinary project on producing a long terrestrial fluvial record of the past 200,000 years based on Quaternary deposits at Whittlesey, near Peterborough.
  • Ismael Al Ameri
    • Dr Ismael Al Ameri’s research focuses on climate change, paleoclimate, paleoenvironment, arid regions and biodiversity. His Honorary Research Fellowship started with an Iraqi Government award in 2017-2018, before which he was a lecturer in applied climatology at the University of Baghdad, Iraq (2012-2016). He has a BA (Hons) in Geography ranked 1 out of 208 graduated students (2001), MA in Physical Geography (2005), and PhD in Physical Geography (2012) all from the University of Baghdad and was a visiting student at Dalhousie University, Canada in 2010. Ismael has on Mesopotamian paleoclimate, paleoenvironment, paleo shorelines, and marshes and modern climatology.
  • View list of Ismael's publications.
  • Girma Shimelish Muluneh

Emeritus professors

  • Professor John Shepherd
    • John graduated from LSE in 1966. His first job was as a Research Officer at the Royal Commission on Local Government in England. Following a period teaching at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario he returned to LSE to work on his PhD joining the Department of Geography at Birkbeck in 1975. John’s teaching and research was in the field of applied human geography including in urban and regional planning and environmental policy. From 1985 to 2004 he directed the ESRC core funded South East Regional Research Laboratory which was established to demonstrate the role of Geographic Information Systems in applied research. From 2004 to 2009 he led Defra’s Rural Evidence Research Centre which developed the evidence base for important aspects of rural policy in England. Among the major achievements of the RERC was a new and much emulated definition of rurality, the spatial modelling of rural project funding and studies of the social and economic geography of small towns. John retired from Birkbeck in 2015 but continues his personal research on social enterprise in rural areas. He is a member of Defra’s Rural Academic Panel. Among his publications is a curious book entitled Postcodes the New Geography.

Professional Support staff 

  • General Enquiries - email geography@bbk.ac.uk  or tel: +44 020 3926 1000
  • Chrys Papaioannou - Administrator. Tel: +44 020 3926 1848
    • Development and Globalisation (BSc) 
    • Geography and International Development (BSc)
    • Social Sciences (BSc) 
    • Children, Youth and International Development (MSc)
    • Cities (MA/MSc)
  • Laura Gittens - Administrator. Tel: +44 020 3926 1844
    • Environment and Sustainability (BSc)
    • Environmental Management (BSc)
    • Geography (BSc)
    • Human Geography (BA)
  • Hurmine Dormer-Dobson Administrator. Tel: +44 020 3926 1846
    • Community Leadership (CertHE)
    • Community Development and Public Policy (BSc)
    • Geographic Data Science (MSc, PGDip, PGCert) 
    • Geographic Information Science (MSc, PGDip, PGCert) 
    • Geography, Environment and Development Studies (MPhil, PhD)
  • Shirley Collins – Senior Administrator. Tel: +44 020 3926 1842
    • Climate Change (MSc, PGDip, PGCert)
    • Environment and Sustainability (MSc, PGDip)
    • Geography (MSc, PGDip, PGCert)
    • International Development (MSc, PGDip, PGCert)
    • International Development and Social Anthropology (MSc, PGDip)
    • Social and Cultural Geography (MA)
  • Megan Bennett - Team Leader. Tel: +44 020 3926 1710
  • Harriet Smith - Assistant School Manager. Tel: +44 020 3926 1804