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Associate Member
Bettina van Hoven


Bettina van Hoven is associate professor in Cultural Geography. Her academic training commenced by studying Biology in Germany. When she became interested in teaching, after working as a volunteer in environmental education, she also took on Geography as a subject. In 1994, she moved to the UK, initially as an exchange student. She ‘got stuck’ for several more years to first graduate in Physical Geography and then obtain a PhD in Social Geography. In 1999, she moved to the Netherlands to work at the University of Groningen.

Her work reflects her diverse training (within the constraints of the academic system) and demonstrates her aspirations to connect, combine and communicate in varied ways. Broadly speaking, her research interests fall under the umbrella of ‘Geographies of belonging and identities’. Over the years this included projects on women in Eastern Europe, diaspora and migration, institutions, ethnicity, sexuality, disabilities, youth, and nature.

In Bettina’s work in British Columbia, Canada, from 2007 she has explored how different kinds of attachment to this place result in different views on nature management in the context of the largest intact, temperate old growth forest, the Great Bear Rainforest. This project took the form of a video documentary but has also lead to spin off projects addressing actor-network theory, non-representational theory and emotional geographies.

More recently, Bettina’s research focus has shifted to address more explicitly the concept of place attachment. In doing so, she utilized a people-centered approach as well as a place (and non-human)-centered approach. For example, she conducted projects with young people and older adults on place and well-being. In particular in the work with young people, she has adopted participatory methodologies including photography and video work (by respondents). Her aim is to conduct more such work with older adults, and mixed-age groups. In all of her work, Bettina has been keen to attend to better ways of thoroughly capturing, rigorously analyzing and reporting her respondents’ voices.

From 2012, Bettina has involved more explicitly in work involving collaborations with arts and artists, predominantly through the ‘Between the Tides’ network (headed by Prof Owain Jones and herself), in a PhD project of the role of arts in resilience (with PhD candidate Gwenda van der Vaart), and in the context of joint teaching with the arts academy Minerva in Groningen.

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Bettina van Hoven
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