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About the Speakers

Dr. Nazgol Bagheri, University of Texas at San Antonio

Critical Qualitative GIS – Monday 21 June 14.15-15.15 BST

Professor Bagheri was born and grew up in Tehran. She started to enjoy the complexity of urban landscapes in high school when she observed the city while riding the bus. She received a Bachelor of Architecture in September 2004, a Bachelor of Computer Science in September 2006, and a Master of Urban Design in November 2007 from the National University of Iran (Shahid Beheshti). She worked as an architect for urban projects at an international design firm between 2004 and 2007. She earned her Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Geography and Sociology from University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2013.

Professor Bagheri is interested in navigating disciplinary terrain in Geography, Urban Planning, and Social Anthropology to develop a working theoretical model to account for changes in the use and design of public space and the unique relationship between the aesthetics of modern planning, the gendering of spatial boundaries, and the contingent nature of public space in Middle Eastern contexts.

Professor Roger Keil at York University, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, Toronto

City and the pandemic: a comparative urban research approach – Monday 21 June 15.30-17.00 BST

Roger Keil is a Professor at the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of Suburban Planet (Polity 2018) and co-editor, with Fulong Wu, of the forthcoming After Suburbia (UTP 2021). Keil’s research areas are global suburbanization, cities and infectious disease, regional governance and urban political ecology. He is a co-investigator in a partnership grant on regional student mobility and currently works at the intersection of global urbanization and (emerging) infectious disease with colleagues in Berlin, Milan and Toronto on the relationship of the COVID-19 pandemic and cities.

Dr. Begoña Amarayona, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Visual based methods and ethnography – Tuesday 22 June 14-15.00 BST

Begoña Aramayona holds an International PhD in Social Psychology (Autonomous University of Madrid, 2019) and is currently working as a post-doc researcher at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). She explores the field of Urban studies through qualitative methodologies, with special interest on urban nightlife, securitisation, informality and displacement and visual-based methodologies. She was PI of the research project “GEOGRAPHIES THE NOCTURNAL CITY: A comparative and policy-oriented research on young leisure practices in Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon” (funded by Centre of Young Studies Reina Sofía, 2018-2020) and is currently scientific coordinator of the project “LEBAN: Lagalizing Gangs? The constitution of associations based on youth street groups in Spain, Ecuador and El Salvador (2000-2025)” (PI Pr. Carles Feixa). She has been awarded with the 1st prize at II Heritales Sustainable Communities organized by ‘UNESCO Chair in Intangible Heritage’, the I YERUN Research Mobility Award and the 1st Prize Urban Economy Research in 2018 (Madrid City Council). As part of her research’s dissemination for broader audiences, she has also directed some ethnographic documentaries, such as “Next Stop: La Latina” (2017) – which is the result of a long ethnographic process conducted during more than three years in one central neighborhood in Madrid- and “Carmen: Memorias Vivas del Rastro” (2018) (both available online).

Dr. Iolanda Bianchi, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain)

Collaborative mapping online research – Wednesday 23 June 14-15.00 BST

Iolanda Bianchi (Ph.D. in Political Science and Ph.D. in Urban planning) is a Juan de la Cierva postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Government and Public Policy – Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). Her research focuses on the interplay between civil society and public action to meet basic needs and fundamental rights in the urban context, using the critical lenses of urban governance, urban politics, public policies and commons studies.

Prof. Verónica Crossa, Colegio de México (Colmex)

Research ethics and urban space – Thursday 24 June 14-15.00 BST

Veronica Crossa is a human geographer based at the Centro de Estudios Demogtáficos, Urbanos y Ambientales at El Colegio de México, in Mexico City. Her research lies at the intersection between urban, political, and critical geographies. She has explored how urban excluded groups negotiate and struggle over changing configurations of power in their everyday lives, and has published her work in journals including Antipode, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Urban Studies. Her latest publication on these themes is her book “Luchando por un espacio en la Ciudad de México: Comerciantes ambulantes y el espacio público urbano”.  

Prof. Loretta Lees, Tia Ndu, University of Leicester

Discourse analysis and urban space – Thursday 24 June 15.15-16.15 BST

Loretta Lees is an urban geographer who is internationally known for her research on gentrification/urban regeneration, global urbanism, urban policy, urban public space, architecture and urban social theory. She has been identified as the 17th most referenced author in urban geography worldwide and the only woman in the top 20 (Urban Studies, 2017, doi: 10.1177/0042098017717205). Since 2009 she has co-organised The Urban Salon: A London forum for architecture, cities and international urbanism ( and since 2016 the Leicester Urban Observatory ( She is currently Chair of the London Housing Panel (

Tia Ndu is Postgraduate Researcher at the University of Leicester under the supervision of Professor Loretta Lees and Dr Matt Wilde.

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