Profile: Fiona Smyth

Dr. Fiona Smyth, Head of Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, UK. Fiona’s research and teaching goals seek to make explicit the ways in which different kinds of knowledge are developed and understood.

Fiona Smyth was born in Dublin, Ireland, but moved to Britain during her early childhood. As an undergraduate student at the University of Bristol (BSc, 1989), she came into contact with Peter Haggett and developed an interest in medical geography. This, combined with a summer spent in Provincetown, Cape Cod, led to an interest in the geographies of HIV and AIDS and the ways in which the experience of disease are mediated by particular socio-cultural, political and economic contexts. Her academic path brought her to the University of Manchester next, where she studied for a PhD under the supervision of the late Richard Thomas. Her thesis explored the ways in which different kinds of knowledge about HIV/AIDS are socially and epidemiologically constructed (PhD, 1996).

Fiona has been employed by the University of Manchester since 1996. Fiona s current research uses qualitative methodologies to explore the multiple ways in which health and disease are socially constructed. In particular, she is interested in the relationships between health, impairment, disease and society and the ways in which social constructionist perspectives can provide framework for thinking about this relationship. Her publications include reviews of the progress of medical/health geography including (2008) Understanding Health Inequalities, (2005) Therapeutic Places, Spaces and Networks in Progress in Human Geography and work on the cultural constraints in the delivery of HIV/AIDS prevention in Ireland (Social Science and Medicine).

Fiona may be contacted at fiona.smyth@nullmanchester.ac.uk. Reference also her staff page at the University of Manchester.

Updated: November 2008