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Anna Barford

Research Fellow (Socio-economic Inequality and International Health)


Currently I am working on Regimes of Austerity: Economic Change and the Politics of Contraction. This research examines the politics of austerity in British and North American cities as they respond to recession, recovery, fiscal uncertainty, growing economic inequality, and changing policy demands. With Principal Investigators Dr Mia Gray and Dr Betsy Donald, I will: (1) Examine how inequality and the politics around the distribution of public resources have changed at the local level in mid-sized British cities over the last twenty years. (2) Investigate how a city's economic, demographic and political base can shape the newer politics of austerity. (3) Consider how economic change, inequality and the politics of redistribution inform traditional theories of urban political and economic geography. This builds on my earlier work mapping inequalities, analysing discourses about socio-economic inequality, and engaging with the work of The Equality Trust.

Some of my earlier research has a specific health focus. I researched the history of infectious diseases amongst forced migrants, drawing data from population displacements around the world, as part of a team working on a project entitled Humanitarian Crises, Population Displacement and Epidemic Disease 1901-2010. This research was headed by Geography Professors Matthew Smallman-Raynor and Andy Cliff. I have also worked at the University of Cambridge's Institute of Public Health, investigating pathways to diagnosis for melanoma patients, with Dr Fiona Walter.

My PhD was concerned with attitudes towards international inequality amongst people positioned differently along a spectrum of wealth. I ran discussion groups with teachers in Kenya, Mexico and the UK to access the discourses surrounding inequality that exist in these diverse settings. This was complemented by a statistical analysis of world attitude surveys.

Prior to beginning my PhD I worked on a world mapping project with Professor Danny Dorling, which produced hundreds of cartograms (apparently distorted world maps) to show variables ranging from to wealth distribution, to species at risk of extinction, to commuting times. This resulted in the publication of The Atlas of the Real World: mapping the way we live. These maps can be freely accessed at:

Personal background

College position

  • Bye-Fellow at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge


  • 2005: Intern, Department of HIV/AIDS, World Health Organisation, Geneva.
  • 2005 - 2007: Research Assistant, Worldmapper Project, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield.
  • 2010 - 2011: Researcher for School Report Survey, School Report, Television Centre at White City, BBC.
  • 2011: Visiting Research Fellow, The Equality Trust and York Fairness Commission.
  • 2011 - 2012: Research Associate & Study Co-ordinator on Cancer Research UK funded project: The Melanoma Interview Project, Institute of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge. (including maternity leave)
  • 2013 - 2015: Research Associate on Leverhulme Trust funded project: Humanitarian Crises, Population Displacement and Epidemic Disease 1901-2010. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. (including maternity leave)
  • 2015 - present: Research Associate on Cambridge Political Economy Society Trust funded project: Regimes of Austerity: Economic Change and the Politics of Contraction. Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge Judge Business School.


  • Supervisor, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. 2010-present.
  • Guest double lecture on MA in Public Health. "International health inequalities, with a case study of the 2010- Haitian cholera epidemic". 2014 & 2015. University of Nottingham.
  • Director of Studies for Geography and Geography with Education, Homerton College, University of Cambridge. 2013/2014
  • Exam preparation supervisions. University of Cambridge, 2012.
  • Sutton Trust Summer School on Geography. University of Cambridge, 2011.
  • Guest Lectures on Development. University of Northampton, 2009 & 2010.
  • Workshop Leader and Facilitator on Research Design. University of Sheffield, 2007 - 2010.
  • Sixth Form Lectures, 2009. 

Academic qualifications

  • BA in Geography, University of Cambridge
  • MA in Sociology and Social Research, University of Nottingham
  • PhD in Geography, University of Sheffield

Awards & scholarships

  • Sidney Sussex College Downham Yeomans Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • David Richards Travel Scholarship & Vacation Study Grant for fieldwork in Nepal, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • MA full scholarship, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Nottingham, 2004
  • Award for Excellence in Leading Geography from the U.K. Geographical Association, 2007
  • PhD funded by U.K. Economic and Social Research Council's +3 Studentship, 2007
  • Dudley Stamp Memorial Trust research grant, Royal Geographical Society, 2009
  • Gold Award from the U.K. Geographical Association for 'The atlas of the real world', 2009
  • Buckley Summer Scholarship to attend the 'Inequality and Social Change in Britain and the United States' workshop of 'Social Change: A Harvard - Manchester initiative', 2010
  • Roberts Funding, University of Sheffield, to support placement at The Equality Trust, 2011

Selected publications

Forthcoming and under review

Barford, A. and Dorling, D. forthcoming. "Mapping disease patterns" (stat06102.pub2) in Wiley StatsRef-Statistics Reference Online.

Barford, A. in review. Emotional responses to world inequality. Emotions, Space and Society. 

Barford, A. in review. Discourses supporting socio-economic inequality in Kenya, Mexico and the UK. Portuguese Journal of Social Science.


Barford, A. and Pickett, K. 2015. How to Build a More Equal American Society: Lessons from Successful Experiences. Solutions, 4(5), 60-71 

Smallman-Raynor, M., Cliff, A. and Barford, A. 2015. Geographical Perspectives on Epidemic Transmission of Cholera in Haiti, October 2010 Through March 2013. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(4), 665-683

Barford, A. 2014. Representation. in Castree, N., Kitchin, R., Lawson, V., Lee, R., Paasi, A., Radcliffe, S., and Withers, C. (eds.) Sage Handbook of Human Geography. London: Sage. 

Barford, A. 2014. 'Challenging Assumptions: The causes of international inequality', Geography, 99(2), 103-6. 

Barford, A. and Dorling, D. 2011. Inequality. In Southerton, D. et al. (Eds.) Encyclopaedia of Consumer Culture. SAGE Publications, London 

Dorling, D., Newman, M. and Barford, A. 2010. Atlas of the real world (2nd edition). Thames and Hudson, London. Also published in Germany and Austria.

Barford, A., Dorling, D. and Pickett, K., 2010. Re-evaluating self-evaluation. A commentary on Jen, Jones, and Johnston (68:4, 2009). Soc Sci Med, v. 70, p.496-497. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.10.059.

Barford, A., 2009. World poverty - what can we do about it? Geography, 94, p.215-218.

Dorling, D. and Barford, A., 2009. The inequality hypothesis: thesis, antithesis, and a synthesis? Health Place, 15, 1166-1169. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.06.005.

Moraru, M., Barford, A. and Dorling, D. 2009. Cartografiando la extensiĆ³n de la globalizaciĆ³n. Geofocus, 9, 1-18

Two further foreign language editions of Dorling, D., Newman, M. and Barford, A. 2009. The atlas of the real world. Published in South Korea and Japan.

Dorling, D., Newman, M. and Barford, A. 2008. The atlas of the real world. London, Thames & Hudson.  Also published in the United States, France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.  

Barford, A. 2008. Worldmapper, des centaines de cartes du monde sur Internet. M@ppemonde, 89(1), 1-15

Barford, A. and Dorling, D. 2008. Telling an old story with new maps. In: Dodge, M., McDerby, M. and Turner, M. (eds.) Geographic Vizualization: Concepts, Tools and Applications. Wiley, Chichester

Barford, A. and Dorling, D., 2007. Re-ordering the world. Geography Review, v. 20, p.8-11.

Barford, A. and Dorling, D., 2007. The shape of the global causes of death. Int J Health Geogr, v. 6, p.48-48. doi:10.1186/1476-072X-6-48.

Dorling, D. and Barford, A., 2007. Shaping the world to illustrate inequalities in health. Bull World Health Organ, v. 85, p.890-893. doi:10.2471/BLT.07.044131.

Dorling, D., Barford, A. and Wheeler, B., 2007. Health impacts of an environmental disaster: a polemic. Environ Res Lett, v. 2, p.045007-045007. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/4/045007.

Barford, A. and Dorling, D., 2006. A new approach to mapping the world: visualizing facets of international health. Natl Med J India, v. 19, p.234-235.

Barford, A., Dorling, D., Davey Smith, G. and Shaw, M., 2006. The cause for quiet celebration.. BMJ, v. 332, p.1095-1096. doi:10.1136/bmj.332.7549.1095-c.

Barford, A., Dorling, D., Davey Smith, G. and Shaw, M., 2006. Life expectancy: women now on top everywhere. British Medical Journal, v. 332, p.808-808. doi:10.1136/bmj.332.7545.808.

Dorling, D. and Barford, A. (2006). Humanising Geography. Geography, Autumn 2006, 187-197

Dorling, D., Barford, A. and Newman, M., 2006. WORLDMAPPER: the world as you've never seen it before. IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph, v. 12, p.757-764. doi:10.1109/TVCG.2006.202.

Moraru, M., Barford, A. and Dorling, D. 2006. The long war. Student BMJ, 14, 445

Contact details

Anna Barford
Centre for Business Research
Cambridge Judge Business School
University of Cambridge
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1AG