Cian O’Callaghan joined the Geography Department in Trinity College Dublin in September 2016 as an Assistant Professor in Urban Geography. Prior to this, he worked as a Lecturer in Geography, and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, both at Maynooth University. He holds a PhD from University College Cork (2009).
Cian is an urban and cultural geographer whose main research areas included Urban political economy, Creativity and place, Neoliberalism, Urban vacancy and ‘new ruins’. His PhD thesis looked at docklands redevelopment in Cork and the city’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2005, and explored how these events were used by City Council, property developers and other actors to reimagine and redevelop the city.
Cian’s recent research has broadly concerned the impacts of Ireland’s property bubble and associated crisis, with a particular focus on housing, urban vacancy and spatial justice. Between 2011-2013, he was funded by the Irish Research Council (IRC) for a project on Ireland’s ‘ghost estates’. This project used the lens of ‘ghost estates’ to consider how different aspects of Ireland’s crisis were negotiated and experienced by populations in different parts of the country. Along with academic outputs from this project, Cian has spoken at public events (for example, in collaboration with photographer Anthony Haughey ( http://www.belfastexposed.org/exhibition/Settlement ) in the media (featuring on CNN segment on ‘ghost estates’ in 2010) and on film (contributing to an as-yet-unreleased film on unfinished developments in Co. Longford by filmmaker Patrick Baxter ( https://statesofvacancy.wordpress.com/ ).
Cian is currently working on an IRC-funded project focusing on contestations over the re-use of vacant spaces following Ireland’s crisis. The central hypothesis is that vacant space will play a key role in determining how cities of the future respond to the both urban problems and wider global challenges. The project focuses primarily on Dublin, with smaller comparative case-studies in Berlin and Barcelona. In Dublin, the research has focused on issues relating to artistic temporary use (http://www.irishgeography.ie/index.php/irishgeography/article/view/526 ) and on housing and homelessness activism
His research has been published in international journals including Urban Studies, Political Geography, Environment and Planning A, and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. He is also a regular contributor to the Ireland after NAMA public geographies blog.