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Professor Nicola Ansell

Professor Nicola Ansell
Professor - Human Geography

Marie Jahoda 133


After obtaining a BA in Geography from Cambridge University, I taught secondary school geography for three years and then took a break from teaching and spent 10 months travelling and working in Africa and South America. This experience prompted me to begin a PhD at Keele University, focusing on the ways in which southern African secondary schools (generally fail to) empower rural women. Following completion of the PhD and a temporary lectureship at Keele, I arrived at Brunel in 1999 as a lecturer in human geography. During my time here I have developed a deepening research interest in the impacts of social and cultural change on the lives of young people in southern Africa and in the Global South more broadly. I have undertaken research projects looking at the impacts of AIDS on young people’s migration; the ways in which education sectors are adjusting to the needs of AIDS-affected young people; and the impacts of AIDS on young people’s current livelihoods and future food security. Currently I am working on two projects: one examining the impacts of social cash transfers (for instance old age pensions and child grants) on generational relations in Malawi and Lesotho and the other investigating links between education and aspiration in remote rural areas of Lesotho, Laos and India. I have also authored a book on Children, youth and development (second edition published 2016) and launched an MA programme on Children, Youth and International Development.


MA (University of Cambridge)

PhD (Keele University)


Committee Responsibilities:

  • Department Extenuating Circumstances Panel

Administration Responsibilities:

  • Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator, Social Science and Communication

External Activities:

  • Editorial board member: Children's Geographies; Geoforum
  • Series editor: Palgrave Studies on Children and Development
  • Strategy and Planning Group: the Impact Initiative
  • Trustee: Global Justice Now Trust

Newest selected publications

Ansell, N., Hajdu, F., van Blerk, L. and Robson, E. (2017) '‘My happiest time’ or ‘my saddest time’? The spatial and generational construction of marriage among youth in rural Malawi and Lesotho'. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 43 (2). pp. 184 - 199. ISSN: 1475-5661 Open Access Link

Journal article

Ansell, N., Hajdu, F., van Blerk, L. and Robson, E. (2017) 'Fears for the Future: The Incommensurability of Securitisation and In/securities among Southern African Youth'. Social and Cultural Geography, 18 (7). pp. 507 - 533. ISSN: 1464-9365 Open Access Link

Journal article

Ansell, N., Hajdu, F., van Blerk, L. and Robson, E. (2016) 'AIDS-affected young people’s access to livelihood assets: Exploring ‘new variant famine’ in rural southern Africa'. Journal of Rural Studies, 46. pp. 23 - 34. ISSN: 0743-0167 Open Access Link

Journal article

Ansell, N. (2016) 'From objects to subjects? Children and youth in development', inThe Palgrave Handbook of International Development. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 487 - 511. ISBN 13: 9781137427236.

Book chapter
More publications(76)