UCL Department of Geography


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Dr. Ben Page

University College London                                                                                                                                                                                   

26 Bedford WayLondon WC1H 0AP


Telephone: 0207 679 5521

Research Gate:







Room No: BW109

  • 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

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.

Documentary film and the history of Community Development

This project is based on archival work in Cameroon and the UK and focuses on the Oscar-winning film Daybreak at Udi ( produced by the Crown Film Unit in Eastern Nigeria in 1949 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 forgotton.

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 Claire Mercer (Geography, LSE) looks at different case studies (Cameroon and Tanzania) 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.

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 (Geography Chester). In Africa we were assisted by Dr Cosmas Sokoni, Dr Banlilon Victor Tani and Dr 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 lead to the publication of book by Zed "Development and the African Diaspora: Place and the Politics of Home"

Research Interests

My research interests are broadly located within the field of development geography, bringing together my interests in migration, development and the environment. 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. I am also interested in the mutual imbrications of nature and society and the capacity of things (water, trees, soil) to provide a commentary on the interdependent relationship between environments, people and politics. Much of my early work has 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.

  • The relationship between migration and development
  • Hometown Associations
  • Geography and architecture
  • The political ecology of water supply in West Africa
  • African studies, in particular Nigeria and Cameroon
  • Community Development in history and practice
Date Public Organisation Description

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.

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.

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.

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:

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


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.
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


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
November 2016

Public Engagment

St Paul's School

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

Media appearances

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:
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.


2nd year undergraduate teaching

  • Geog2001 Practice in Geography (convenor)
  • Geog2014 Development Geography


3rd year undergraduate teaching

  • Geog 3001/3040 Dissertation
  • Geog 3038 Water and Development in Africa
  • Geog 3054 Independent Study Project
  • Geog 3069 Development Geography II (convenor)
  • Geog 3074 Overseas Fieldclass Florida


MSc. teaching

  • GeogG201 Approaches to Global Migration
  • GeogG202 Issues in Global Migration
  • AfriG001 Africa: Dialogues of past and present
  • AfriG002 Debating Africa's Future


  • 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 at the University of Bonn
  • 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 Research Manager for the Salvation Army
  • Kate Kingsford (with Ann Varley) now Editor and Researcher at RNW Media (Dutch NGO)
  • Ruth Judge (with Claire Dwyer) now Marie Curie Fellow at Rutgers/UCL
  • Jin-ho Chung (with Sam Randalls) now at IIED
  • Susana Neves Alves (with Jenny Robinson) now Post Doctoral researcher at the Bartlett, UCL
  • Sainabou Taal (with Claire Dwyer) now working for the IOM in Gambia
  • Hannah Fair (with Sam Randalls)
  • Pooya Ghoddousi (with Jason Dittmer) now Teaching Fellow at UCL



  • Hussein Samatar (with JoAnn McGregor, Sussex)
  • Alex Ma (with Claire Dwyer)
  • Tatianna Rodrigues (with Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh)
  • Clement Oghoro (with Andrew Barry)
  • Nicola Horne (with Tariq Jazeel)
  • Lioba Hirsch (with Alan Ingram)
  • Chia-Yuan Huang (with James Kneale)
  • Ngozi Fakeye


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