Research Director - Geography & Environmental Sciences

Dr Sara McDowell

School of Geog & Environmental Scs

Coleraine campus

Room G265,
Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,

Environmental Sciences Research

Research Director - Geography & Environmental Sciences

Dr Sara McDowell


Teaching Interests

Sara is the Course Director of the BSc Geography programme and teaches key concepts and research methods in Human Geography (specialising in Political Geography).

She is a Fellow of the Higher Teaching Academy and an alumni of the LFHE Aurora programme.

Research interests

Sara’s interdisciplinary research focuses on the spatial dynamics of conflict and peacebuilding in divided or transitional societies and has two key strands.

The first strand explores the ways in which the past is negotiated in contested spaces within societies engaged in peace processes and has been funded by both the ESRC and the AHRC.

Previous projects considered the impact of the practices and processes of memory on peacebuilding initiatives in South Africa, the former Yugoslavia, the Basque Country, Israel/Palestine and Sri Lanka (ESRC 2009-2012) and mapped the spatial outworking of commemorative-related violence in Northern Ireland (AHRC 2013).

Her work has a strong impact and public engagement focus – she led a AHRC Impact Project in 2015/16 on memory and transition in Northern Ireland and more recently has worked alongside government organisations to harness heritage initiatives to develop peacebuilding (funded by NISIB 2016/17, NIE and Flanders 2017) and as part of an interdisciplinary team working on a GCRF (NERC) project seeking to embed aftershock technology in vulnerable OCDs.

The second strand of Sara’s research focuses on the relationship between social media and border politics in divided societies and has been funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust.

She is a member of the AHRC peer review college and an Academic Friend of EPLO.