photo of Divya Tolia-Kelly

Prof Divya Tolia-Kelly

Post:Professor of Geography and Heritage Stud (Geography)
Location:ARTS C C124

Telephone numbers
UK:01273 678026
International:+44 1273 678026

Research expertise:
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Divya P. Tolia-Kelly is Professor of Geography & Heritage Studies at Sussex. Prior to this appointment she held lectureships in geography departments at U.C.L., Lancaster and a Readership at Durham until 2017. Divya has a BA (hons) from Nottingham (1997), and PhD (2002) from University College London.

Divya was born in Kenya and arrived in the UK in 1973. Her research is focussed on postcolonial and anti-racist approaches to cultural geographies, migration, landscape, memory, heritage, visual culture and material culture using participatory methodologies. Divya has published several articles on the theory and politics of 'race' in relation to these themes, including ethnocentricism in cultural politics and more recently on affect and the anthropocene. Her books published include a monograph Landscape, Race and Memory (2010); Visuality/Materiality: Objects, Images and Practices (edited with Gillian Rose) and the co-edited volume (with Steve Watson and Emma Waterton) entitled Heritage, Affect and Emotion:Politics, practices and infrastructures (2016). Divya is currently Series Editor (with Emma Waterton) of the Routledge Book Series Critical Studies in Heritage, Emotion and Affect (

Divya is currently writing a research monograph entitled An Archaeology of Race at the Museum (contracted with Routledge) that links to the exhibition of the same name ( developed with antiquarians, historians, curators and keepers of artefacts at Tullie House, Segedenum, Arbeia, Great North museums along Hadrian's wall.

Divya has a keen committment to praxis and thus is committed to extending her research on 'race' to the everyday environment of HE: working towards a truly universally inclusive place to work, research and write. Divya is thus committed to supporting the decolonising the curriculum and why isn't my professor black? campaigns through her equality and diversity work in situ. In this vein, Divya was the lead academic in setting up the Coaching and Mentoring Network at Durham (2012-17), and seeks to enable BAME and women accross academia to access equality of opportunity and support through direct coaching and mentoring support. Divya is also an inaugral committee member of the Royal Geographical Society's RACE Working Group (2017)


Professor of Geography & Heritage Studies

Divya has a commitment to contribute to the decolonising the curriculum and equality and diversity initiatives in the School of Global Studies. She is a  member of the RACE working group committeeof the Royal Geographical Society (inaugral) and a ITLM5 trained coach and mentor with an expertise in working with women and BAME academic staff, to enhance thier retention and advancement in HE in response to these marked inequalities in progression see

If you are interested in training to be a mentor or discussing the process please contact me. Also these documents enclosed give insight into the aims and nature of coaching / mentoring relationships:

Divya is also currently convening the departmental research seminar sessions including internal, external speakers, reading, writing and grant writing events.


ALL SESSIONS are held on Wednesday's usually in the Global Studies Resource Centre (Except 13/3, 10/ 4 and the 8/5), Arts C, Ground Floor, in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex.

 Beyond the Fringe: Spring 2019:

 (1)      Jay Emery. February 20th 2019 in GSRC 12-1pm:  Chair Ben Rogaly: Ruins of industrial culture: Absence-presence, affect and industrial ruination in the Miners’ Welfare

 (2)      Hilary Geoghegan March 6th 2019 in GSRC, 1-3pm Chair: Divya P. Tolia-Kelly in the GSRC:

 (3)      Francis Collins Thursday  March 7th in GSRC, 1-3pm (Joint session with SCMR) University of Waikato, SCMR seminar series - 

(4)      Raihana Ferdous   March 13th 2019 Room Arts C233, 1-3pm: Chair David Ockwell

 (5)      Aya Nasser April 10th 2019 in GSRC: Chair Divya P. Tolia-Kelly:

 (6)      James Kneale, May 8th 2019, Arts C233, 1-3pm:: Chair Carl Griffin: 

British life assurance and the imagined geographies of climate and race, 1840-1930

ALL WELCOME (Coffee/ Tea and Cake is provided)


Beyond the Fringe: Autumn 2019: Rooms tbc

(1)   Oct 2nd 2019, 1-3pm, Prof. Bridget Anderson Chair: Michael Collyer

(2)   Oct 16th 2019, 1-3pm, Caitlin DeSilvey : Chair: Divya P. Tolia-Kelly

(3)   Oct 30th 2019, 1-3pm, Michele Lancione: Chair: tbc

(4)   Nov 13th 2019, 1-3pm, Marcin Stanek: Chair: tbc

(5)   Nov 27th 2019, 1-3pm Sneha Krishnan: Chair: Josie Jolley

(6)   Dec 11th 2019, 1-3pm  Carl Griffin:

 ALL WELCOME (Coffee/ Tea and Cake is provided)


Community and Business

Divya is committed to both Public Engagement and Research Impact. In 2010 she was awarded a ‘Beacon Fellowship’ for Public Engagement Fellowship. In her work, public dissemination, engagement and dialogue have always been at the heart of her research methodologies and reflect a theoretical commitment to grounded theory which is evidenced by the years of time committed to building research collaborations with the cultural heritage sector. Synthesis between Divya’s research aims and current civic agenda has been a constant, and is reflected in collaborations with and support from several institutions including SASA gallery, Australia, The British Museum, Tyne and Wear museums, Towneley Hall Art gallery and Museum, Theatre on the Lake, Keswick, The Lake District National Park Authority, Burnley Pakistani Association; Durham University Museums; Arbeia Roman Fort museum, Tullie House Art museum and gallery, Durham Light Infantry museum and Art gallery, and the Cubitt gallery London.