menu

School of Geography

People menu

Samuel Miles

Samuel

PhD student

Email: s.miles@qmul.ac.uk
Room Number: City Centre, Bancroft Building, Room 2.08

Profile

Twitter: @sammiles87

Blog: www.sexualityandthecityblog.wordpress.com

Research interests
My research interests lie in sexuality and space, digital and locative media, urban studies and queer theory.

Supervisors

  • Dr. Regan Koch, School of Geography, QMUL
  • Dr. Yasmin Ibrahim, School of Business and Management, QMUL

Funding

  • 2013-2017 PhD ESRC +4 interdisciplinary award.

PhD Working Title
‘Sex(uality) & the City: understanding the impact of locative media on urban queer geographies.’

Drawing on research from sexuality and space studies, queer theory, and locative digital media – that is, GPS-enabled mobile phone networking apps – the aim of this project is to explore how gay men negotiate queer space, social-sexual encounters and privacy and surveillance in London using digital locative media.

Recognising a significant historical synchronicity between specifically male homosexuality and urban terrain, and its resultant cultural narrative, I will ask how gay men negotiate the city not just as a space of erotic possibility (a trope that is as mythologized as it is established) but as a site of political, cultural and social negotiations and re-negotiations between groups and individuals, exposing the mechanics of power imbalances in contested spaces. Most significantly, this project analyses how these negotiations might continue to be altered – or conditioned, or mediated, or liberated – by the digital networking media employed within those spaces.

Current trends in mobile technology point to locative media as perhaps the foremost digital commodity for social networking in the global north. For gay men, locative networks including Grindr, Hornet and Tinder have proven popular for both socialization and cruising. These products evidence a queer technological affinity first germinated via the virtual reality utopias of the late 20th century (Turkle 1995). This project builds on foundations established by Sharif Mowlabocus (2010), Jason Farman (2012) and de Souza e Silva (2013) in analysing the impact of locative media on queer technology users’ understandings of space in the city. Locative media entails an as-yet under-theorised hybridisation of digital and physical space – to the extent that some argue it negatively impacts on human social life, and will further damage embodied socialisation over time (Turkle 2011, 34); this project critically evaluates the issues at stake in such a debate. Whilst locative software continues to shift in form and function, this study remains relevant because it transcends current locative products to inform us about larger practices of sexuality and space, urban life and community.

‘The Currency of Fieldwork’, Stillpoint Journal, September 2015.

Academic Background

  • 2008 BA English, University of Exeter (First)
  • 2013 MA English, University of Exeter (Dist.)

Associations

  • Peer reviewer, International Journal of E-Politics
  • Finalist, The World in 2065: ESRC & SAGE Writing Competition. 'Navigating Private Life in a Public World.' 10 November 2015.
  • QMSU Postgraduate Research Representative for all Mile End PhD Faculties, 2014-15 & 2015-16.
  • QMSU Student Council board member, 2014-15 & 2015-16.
  • Organising committee, GradFest, Queen Mary University of London, July 2015.
  • PhD Tutor, The Brilliant Club, 2014-15. Courses taught: ‘Monomyth & Literary Theory’ & ‘Can Terrorism Ever be Justified?’

Demonstrating

  • GEG5103 Geographical Research in Practice, 2014-15
  • GEG5103 Geographical Research in Practice, 2015-16
  • GEG6128 Geographies of Nature, 2016

Publications

  • Miles, S. (2017). Sex in the digital city: location-based dating apps and queer urban life. Gender, Place and Culture (forthcoming).
  • Miles, S. (2017). “Do we have LIFT-off?” Social media marketing and digital performance at a British arts festival. (under review).
  • Miles, S. (2017). Review: Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex & Sexualities Research. Antipode. Available online.

Conferences:

  • Miles, S. (2016) 'Navigating Boundaries: Everyday Life for Gay Men Using Dating Apps in London.' Paper presented at American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual conference, San Francisco.
  • Miles, S. (2016) 'Losing Soho? The Public and Private Spaces of Locative Hook-up Apps for Men in London.' Paper presented at Soho Spirit: Our Space or a Space in Our Minds? Conference. UCL UrbanLabs, London.
  • Miles, S. (2015) 'Dating Apps, Privacy & Online Space.' Presentation at the Royal Academy Lates: Digital (Dis)connections event. Royal Academy of Arts, London.
  • Miles, S. (2015) 'Sex(uality) in the city: implications of digital technologies and locative media on queer urban geographies.' Paper presented at Creating & Communicating: ESRC DTC Conference. London School of Economics, London.
  • Keynote panellist (2015): 'What next for the future of the PhD?' Doctoral College Annual Debate, Queen Mary, University of London.

Research

Return to top