Applications are invited from potential applicants with an interest in the topic:  ‘Families’ sense of place and place attachment’ commencing in 2014.

Supervisors: Dr Christina Ergler & Associate Professor Claire Freeman (Department of Geography, University of Otago, New Zealand)

We are seeking a student willing to embark on a PhD and interested in working on a mixed-methods project on ‘Place attachment and social connection in urbanising societies’. Whilst place attachment is an area that is of established interest to geographers the role of children in forging place attachment for families is less well understood (Weller & Bruegel, 2009, Gordon, 2012).  The project seeks to critically explore broad questions around factors contributing to and hindering place attachment. In particular, the project is interested in how family members from different New Zealand communities develop or negotiate the complexity of place attachment through their social and physical mobilities (see also Freeman, 2010). In doing so, the research contributes to debates in geography, environmental psychology and planning with reference to multiplicities of place attachment.

Students with first class Honours or Master degrees and backgrounds in human geography, planning, child studies or sociology are encouraged to contact us. Knowledge of or interest in developing skills in a geographic information system as well as excellent oral and written communication skills are a requirement for this project.

The project is contingent on the applicant applying for and securing a University of Otago PhD Scholarship (international or domestic), satisfying University of Otago Ph.D. entry requirements and meeting New Zealand study visa requirements, if appropriate.

If you would like to discuss the project further please contact Christina Ergler via e-mail or Claire  Please send a CV (including academic transcripts) and a one page covering letter outlining why you consider  that you are a suitable candidate (this should cover what skills/knowledge you bring to the project, what aspects you find particularly interesting and any ideas you may have on how the project could be developed).

Information on the Otago University Geography Department and the supervisors for this project is available on