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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Academic Staff  /  Ben Page

Dr. Ben Page

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Room BW109, 26 Bedford Way

London WC1H 0AP

mail: b.page@ucl.ac.uk

Telephone: 0207 679 5521

Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ben_Page3

Scopus: https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.uri?authorId=7103258105

ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2833-8137

 

From January 2022 I will be taking over the role of Departmental Tutor from Dr Tatiana Thieme. Undergraduate students in the Department of Geography who need to see me or ask a question for whatever reason should feel very free to email me directly. Please get in touch!

Link to Academic Support and Feed Back Hours: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/BenPage@ucl.ac.uk/bookings/

 

 

Biography

  • 2015 to present UCL African Studies Research Centre, Steering Committee
  • 2015-2018 External Examiner, Geography and Development Studies, UEA
  • 2012-2015 External Examiner, Dept of Geography Royal Holloway University of London
  • 2009 to present, Associate Professor in Human Geography and African Studies, University College London
  • 2006-2011, Reviews Editor, African Affairs
  • 2003 to 2009, Lecturer in Human Geography, University College London
  • 2002-2003 ESRC Post-doctoral Fellow, Geography, University College London
  • 2001-2002 College Lecturer St Peter's College, University of Oxford
  • 2000-2001 College Lecturer St Hugh's College, University of Oxford
  • 1996-2000 D Phil., St Antony's College, University of Oxford
  • 1993-1994 M Sc., Silsoe College , Cranfield University
  • 1990-1993 BA, Pembroke College University of Oxford

Research Interests

My research interests are broadly located within the field of development geography, bringing together my interests in migration, development and cities. My principal concern at the moment is exploring the role of the African diaspora in the UK in bringing development to Africa. I am particularly interested in the way African individuals, families and associations accommodate change in unexpected and innovative ways outside the development mainstream. In addition I am also writing on security issues in Cameroon. Much of my early work focused on water supply in West Africa , as a way of linking different histories and places to broader development questions about communities, the state, infrastructure, services, participatory governance, deliberative democracy and the transformation of the landscape.

Land, politics and security in anglophone Cameroon.

There has been a violent insurgency in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon since 2017 following the excessive use of force by the Government of Cameroon during protests by teachers and lawyers. Since then rebels aspiring to create a new state of Ambazonia have been operating a guerrilla war, that the central state has partially contained, but failed to end. Research on this theme has three strands (1) the role of the diaspora in the conflict (2) the role of land in Fako as a source of rents to sustain the satus quo, and a site of more-than-clientelist politics and (3) an analysis of the internal contradictions of Cameroonian security policy with Dr Manu Lekunze (University of Aberdeen).

A house at home: domestic architecture and the African diaspora

One of the most common aspirations for many individuals in the new African diaspora is to construct a house in the place they came from in Africa. As a result spectacular buildings have sprung up in towns and villages across the continent. Existing research (mostly in Ghana and Nigeria) has explored this process, in terms of the impact on urban land prices and urban planning. This project (with Dr Emile Sunjo from the university of Buea) looks at a different case study (Cameroon) from a different perspective (the engagement between geography and architecture). These new houses are dramatically different (in terms of their style, size, and decor) from their neighbours and are a dramatic, visible and common sign of the impact of migration on the built environment. This project (1) analyses the form of these houses to better understand how migration is changing the built and social landscapes; and (2) uses the example of diaspora house-building to develop theory that better integrates social change in Africa into our understanding of the relationship between migration and development - particularly in relation to the emergence of the new African Middle Class. The work has generated publications on housing, interior decoration, dinner parties and draws on a range of interpretive frameworks including psychoanalysis.

Development through the diaspora: hometown associations in Africa and Britain

Development through the DiasporaThis project ran from 2004-2008. It was collaborative work with Dr Claire Mercer (Geography, LSE) and Dr Martin Evans (Coventry University). In Africa we were assisted by Prof Cosmas Sokoni, Prof Banlilon Victor Tani and Prof Francis Nymanjoh. The project was funded by the ESRC and examined the contribution to development made by four hometown associations, two in Cameroon and two in Tanzania. It led to the publication of book by Zed "Development and the African Diaspora: Place and the Politics of Home"

 

 

 

The history of Community Development

This project is based on archival work in Cameroon and the UK and focuses on two stories. First, the film Daybreak at Udihttp://www.colonialfilm.org.uk/node/252) produced by the Crown Film Unit in Eastern Nigeria in 1949, which won an Oscar. The film is interpreted alongside writings about colonial development in Eastern Nigeria and Cameroon from the same period. The film shows the story of the construction of a maternity home using communal labour and also various attempts of 'reactionary' African members of the community to frustrate the progress of 'civilization' by obstructing the project. The central figure in the film is the local British District Officer, Edward Rowland Chadwick who was a pioneer of community development and left an extensive written record of his ideas and experiences. The project seeks to contributed to the critical history of community development in Africa, but it also addresses development studies, where it seeks to assert the long and complex history of participatory development practice, which is often forgotten. Second, the story of the Man O'War Community Development and Leadership School, which operated in the 1950s on the Fako coast in Cameroon. The school brought young men from across Nigeria (including the Southern Cameroons) for short courses together to be trained ready to take local leadership roles in postcolonial countries. Though several hundred Africans attended over the decade, its effects and impact were limited, but it gives a profound insight into the process of decolonization and how British officials imagined African minds. For example, students were expected to spend half the course undertaking manual labour alongside 'ordinary folk' in community development projects in an attempt to inculcate ideas of 'noblesse oblige' and erase 'spivism'.

Malaria and the African diaspora

This project (with Ralph Tanyi of the NGO African Diaspora Action Against Malaria) looks at two aspects of malaria and the African diaspora: (1) members of the diaspora in Britain who travel to Africa and contract malaria while travelling  (2) the contribution the diaspora can make to the struggle to reduce the burden of malaria in Africa. In relation to the first of these the research is concerned with behaviour change in relation to prophylaxis use among members of the diaspora and prescribing policy in the NHS. This part of the work is aligned to concerns in Public Health England about their failure to find effective lines of communication with the diaspora. The second part fits more squarely into past work on diaspora and development and looks at possible routes by which the diaspora could support malaria control campaigns in Africa through volunteering, education and finance as well as through exhibiting best practice in architectural design and house-building.

Date Public Organisation Description
29-SEP-2012

Public Engagement: African Diaspora Action Against Malaria

African Diaspora Action Against Malaria (Organised, funded and hosted a one day workshop at UCL as part of an ongoing collaboration with the NGO Africa Diaspora Action Against Malaria. The workshop brought together academic staff at UCL (from clinical medicine, economics, psychology and geography) with policy-makers (the All Party Parliamentary Group on Malaria, Comic Relief) and members of the African diaspora. Funded by a UCL Beacon Bursary. 80 members of the African diaspora attended.
24-NOV-2012

Public Engagement:

Cameroon Forum

Hosted the Annual Meeting of the Cameroon Forum, held at UCL with a variety of speakers and social events. 45 members of the Cameroonian diaspora attended.
23-JAN-2013

Public Engagement: African Peoples Advocacy

Hosted and helped organise the meeting at the Dept of Geography. The session was attended by nearly 150 people from African and other backgrounds, was chaired by Mr Eric Chinje, Director for Strategic Communications at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He praised APA for the initiative, and said he was honoured to participate in such a historic event. The keynote lecture was delivered by the writer, pan-African activist and founder of APA, Chantal Aboa (aka Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell). Special guest of honour was journalist and filmmaker Sorious Samura. In his intervention, Mr Samura stressed the need for Africans not to wait for others to define them, to define how they are perceived, or to determine what they should do in the future. A lively discussion ensued.
24-AUG-2013

Public Engagement:

C-Hub Magazine

As part of the follow-on from a UCL Beacon Bursary award last year for public engagement, UCL Geography hosted the first 'My Black Woman' conference on 24th August for African diaspora entrepreneurs from the media and arts sector.The day conference was hosted by Dr Ben Page, Faustina Anyanwu and Ms Gayle Thompson Igwebike, actress, model and fashion editor at C.Hub magazine. Among those speaking were the poet and singer Ms Adunni Harunna, Ms Monica Abraham of Local Lion Marketing, Tola Onigbanjo the founder of Women4Africa award, and Mr Emeka Anaynwu, the publisher of C.Hub magazine. Ms Nena Ubani, of Duchess TV and presenter of the popular talk show – ‘Tea with the Duchess’, lectured on the woes of social media and advantages of traditional media when it comes to reliability and trust.The event ended with a bang as rapper Yezzi Yezzir bounced in with a sensational and powerful vocal performance supported by an acrobatic display from her dancers.See: https://www.facebook.com/Myblackwoman
21-OCT-2013

Public Engagement: African Diaspora Action Against Malaria

One day meeting (hosted by PWC) Exploring community engagement, social capital and behaviour change in malaria reduction. Arranged speakers (from UCL and ARCHIVE)

 

 

 

 

February 2014 Primary Colours Academy Providing logistical support for a UCL law graduate who is setting up a company to provide employability skills training especially for BME graduates. The pilot training sessions took place in the department with more planned for early 2015.
April 2014

Consultancy:

Comic Relief

Common Ground Initiative

Editing work on development and diaspora research publications. Writing policy briefs based on research commissioned by the DFID/Comic Relief Common Ground Initiative.
May 2014

Public Engagement

 

London Schools Geography Alliance

Workshop on Africa in the A-level curriculum.  The London Geography Alliance provides subject-based support, resources and continuing professional development for primary and secondary teachers
January 2016

Public Engagement

 

Africa Voices@UCL

Academic Lead on the launch events of the new UCL African Studies Research Centre, hosting a fortnight of university-wide public-facing events with visiting speakers from Senegal, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, funded by UCL Grand Challenges
April 2016

Consultancy

DFID, Migration team

Desk-based rapid review of current research on circular migration
July 2016

Public Engagement

London Geography Alliance

Teacher's event focusing on international migration in the new A-level syllabus. The London Geography Alliance provides subject-based support, resources and continuing professional development for primary and secondary teachers
July 2016

Public Engagement

St Paul's School

St Paul's School Geography Society annual conference on migration
November 2016-18 International Centre for Parliamentary Studies Strategic Migration Management training course with IoM and senior diplomats
April 2017

Public Engagement

London Geography Alliance

Teacher's workshop "Planning for Independent Fieldwork Investigations at A Level". The London Geography Alliance provides subject-based support, resources and continuing professional development for primary and secondary teachers
May 2017 Donmar Warehouse Education Schools-based drama project on home, participating in the opening workshop  and final performances.
October 2017 All Party Parliamentary Group for Africa Panel discussion on the Anglophone conflict at Westminster.
August 2018 CIRCLE (DFID/ACU) Providing post-doctoral mentoring to African scholars

April 2019

Geocapabilities (Erasmus+ scheme) Briefing for secondary teachers on current research in migration studies in relation to the A-level curriculum
November 2021 London Migration Film Festival Q & A panel for the film "Delphine's prayer"

Media appearances

DateMediaDescription
21-OCT-2009 BBC World Service Have Your Say on the African Diaspora. Dr Ben Page was the studio guest expert in a BBC World Service live call-in programme on 21 October to discuss, 'How is the African diaspora changing?'. He took calls and emails from Liberia, Nigeria, Somalia, Malawi, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as the UK and US. It was part of the 'Africa Have your Say' debate series, and the 82 published responses can be seen at: http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?forumID=7139&edition=1&ttl=20091105175909
04-MAY-2013 Voice of Russia Radio Participated in a panel discussion on whether access to water is a human right as defined by the United Nations, or a commodity to be bought and sold on the global market. http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/2013_05_04/Water-supplies-commodity-human-right/ http://voiceofrussia.com/uk/2013_05_04/Water-supplies-commodity-human-right/
01-JUL 2019 Jannine Battis and Yasmin Mannan Commentator on "Why are so many  British Millennials starting a new life in Africa?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQscW_csb0M (more than 500,000 views).

 

1st year undergraduate teaching

Geog0151 Thinking geographically 1 & 2

2nd year undergraduate teaching

  • Geog0016 Practice in Geography (convenor)
  • Geog 0024 Development Geography

 

3rd year undergraduate teaching

  • Geog 0037 Dissertation
  • Geog 0036 Water and Development in Africa
  • Geog 0042 Independent Study Project
  • Geog 0054 Postcolonial Geographies of African Development (convenor)

 

MSc. teaching

  • Geog 0127 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Migration
  • Geog 0128 Issues in Global Migration
  • Geog 0105 Global Migration Dissertation
  • Geog 0085 Environment, Policy and Practice

Completed

  • Melanie Brickman (with Matthew Gandy) now Director, Life Sciences Conference Department, New York Academy of Sciences
  • Ben Lampert (with Khalid Koser) now at the Open University
  • Valerie Viehoff (with Matthew Gandy) now teaching at Dartford Grammar School
  • Yi-Jen Shie (with Richard Munton) now at National University of Tainan
  • Lauren Wagner (with Claire Dwyer) now at Maastricht University, Netherlands
  • Magali Bonne-Moreau (with JoAnn McGregor) now at Fribourg University
  • James Esson (with JoAnn McGregor) now at the University of Loughborough
  • Gayle Munro (with Claire Dwyer) now co-director NatCen
  • Kate Kingsford (with Ann Varley) now Editor Women in Islam journal
  • Ruth Judge (with Claire Dwyer) now Lecturer University of Liverpool
  • Jin-ho Chung (with Sam Randalls) now research Associate University of Oxford
  • Susana Neves Alves (with Jenny Robinson) now Marie Curie fellow at LATTS
  • Sainabou Taal (with Claire Dwyer) now at HMRC, previously IOM in Gambia
  • Hannah Fair (with Sam Randalls) now lecturer University of Oxford
  • Pooya Ghoddousi (with Jason Dittmer) now Postdoctoral Researcher QMUL
  • Alex Ma (with Claire Dwyer) now consultant Simon-Kucher and Partners
  • Lioba Hirsch (with Alan Ingram) now Lecturer, University of Liverpool

 

Current

  • Tatianna Rodrigues (with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh)
  • Clement Oghoro (with Andrew Barry)
  • Nicola Horne (with Tariq Jazeel)
  • Chia-Yuan Huang (with James Kneale)
  • Ngozi Fakeye (with Amy Horton)
  • Wilfred Jana (with Jenny Robinson)

 

I always welcome applications from prospective PhD students, particularly those with interests in Migration and Development and African Studies.