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Hayley Peacock


PhD student

Room Number: City Centre, Bancroft Building, Room 2.08



The geographies of colour and urban practice

Source: Dulux Let’s Color project.

In 1997, riots and unrest left the Albanian capital, Tirana, a fallen city. Edi Rama, an Albanian artist who took over as mayor of Tirana, curated an ambitious urban transformation programme to bring the city out of disrepair. Taking the urban landscape as a canvas, he fashioned a huge city-scale intervention, painting over the grim and grey facades of the communist architecture with bright, bold polka dots, vorticist-esque vertical stripes and flashes of saturated colour. “After 1997,” Rama said, “Albanians came to look on their country as a sort of transfer station between life and death. My real project is to try and resuscitate hope so that people will start looking on their country as […] a place they might want to live” (Rama in Woodword, 2006).

In the yellow zone: Photo by Cianna Wyshntyzky (2014)
In the yellow zone: Photo by Cianna Wyshntyzky (2014)

My PhD research explores how colour and urban practice perform repair.  From the perception of colour’s therapeutic repair of bodies in the hospital, to the urban and social repair performed through community painting initiatives, my research investigates how the contingent and affective chromatic materiality of our urban environment emerges in the claims, knowledge production and practices of colour. Linking back to the political and architectural movements of Bruno Taut and Edi Rama, the therapeutic value of design pioneered by environmental psychologists, and drawing on colour theory, my research uses colour as a lens to explore how the ‘chromatic’ in our urban environment today takes a new expression as a technology of repair. Examining practice through a combination of urban, cultural and health-based approaches in contemporary London, my research critically examines the practices and politics of these interventions, exploring how embodied knowledges and expertise are negotiated by practitioners through design. Through an ethnographic and participatory approach, my research animates not only how these ideas are performed in urban culture, but how they respond to questions around colour, space and the body, developing geographical work on materiality, practices, emotion and health.

Galleon Community Centre. Participatory painting project with artist (2014)
Galleon Community Centre. Participatory painting project with artist (2014)



  • AHRC

Academic Background

  • Anthropology (UCL)
  • Scriptwriting (Goldsmiths)


[2016] Urban fieldwork tutor. Urban Geography East London.

I am part of a small, dedicated team of teachers that plans, organises and leads urban geography fieldwork experiences across east London. Instead of taking the students out into the more traditional environs of fieldwork enquiry, we take students directly into the city, introducing different fieldwork techniques to examine a range of important contemporary urban questions.

[2015] Mentor. Stepping Stones [QMUL]
"Stepping Stones" is a new widening participation scheme that places undergraduate Geography students from Queen Mary into local schools, delivering challenging 1:2 tutorial sessions to students interested in taking Geography at University. [With school liaison officers Dr Philippa Williams and Dr Stephen Taylor].

[2013] Geography Tutor. The Brilliant Club
The Brilliant Club places PhD students into schools, delivering challenging, University-style tutorials to high achieving students.
 During my 1st year I tutored Year 10 pupils on the geographies of globalisation, creating and delivering a new course programme that engages globalisation with themes of gender, development, social responsibility and the environment.

[2012-] Steering committee. Stadtkolloquium [Urban Lab]
Stadtkolloquium is an interdisciplinary urban research group that encourages the dissemination of PhD urban research in a friendly, constructive atmosphere. The steering committee is responsible for the organisation of annual workshops and conferences dedicated to helping developing the field of urban research.


  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods (1st years)
  • Geographical Research in Practice (2nd years)
  • Reinventing Britain (1st year fieldtrip)
  • Geographical Thought and Practice (MA/PhD)

Conference Presentations

  • Peacock, H. (2013) “Colour Matters: Assemblage thinking in the painted city” at 4th Annual Stadtkolloquium Workshop, 25th–26th March, University College London. (Oral Presentation)

Conference Proceedings:

  • Peacock, H. (2013) "New geographies of colour: The emotional politics of urban colour interventions" in Proceedings of the 12th International Colour Association (AIC) Congress. July 8–12 2013. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England: The Colour Group (GB).

Book reviews

  • Peacock, H. (2015) “Building walls and dissolving borders: the challenges of alterity, community and securitizing space” in Journal of Cultural Geography. Vol 32: 1.


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