Robert joined Loughborough University in 2023 as a Research Associate on the Leverhulme Trust-funded project “After Last Orders?: A biographical exploration of the impact of UK pub closures”. He previously worked as a Research Assistant in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London where he also completed his PhD in Anthropology in 2023.
Robert’s research is broadly concerned with people’s experiences and responses to urban and environmental change and how these both reflect and remake structural inequalities. Within this, he pursues collaborative research working across multiple media, seeking inventive means to contest inequality.
On the “After Last Orders?” project Robert works alongside Dr Thomas Thurnell-Read, exploring the causes and impacts of pub closures in the UK from a social and cultural perspective. The project seeks to offer a unique insight into the issue of pub closures, using biographical methods to ‘tell the story’ of the people and places affected.
Robert comes to the “After Last Orders?” project after his PhD which examined the entanglements of heritage and urban regeneration in Poplar, east London. Part of this involved an ethnographic exploration of a project to re-establish a pub on a social housing estate undergoing redevelopment as well as co-devising a collaborative film-project alongside a local resident. Attending to several such place-specific projects of regeneration through a concept of ‘affective infrastructure’, Robert shows how urban regeneration is not reducible to a single, top-down logic of neoliberal political economy but is importantly shaped from below. This allows for a better appreciation of the forms of local agency at play - particularly the ways in which dynamics of whiteness and class intersect in such processes of urban change.
Robert has taught at two previous institutions, including modules on anthropology and political economy and the history and theory of anthropology.
- Thurnell-Read, T. and Deakin, R. (In preparation). Consuming the public house as a social space. In: Maguire, J.S. (ed.) Research Handbook on the Sociology of Consumption. Edward Elgar.
- Deakin, R. and Nicolescu, G. (2022). Socialist fragments East and West: Towards a comparative anthropology of global (post-)socialism. Critique of Anthropology 42(2). SAGE Publications Ltd: 114–136.