Mercator Fellows 2023: Rob Shields & Tim Cresswell

This summer we were happy to welcome Rob Shields (University of Alberta) and Tim Cresswell (University of Edinburgh) as Mercator Fellows in Eichstätt. The DFG offers this fellowship to scholars that closely collaborate with and offer long-term support to research training groups. In June, Rob travelled to Eichstätt and stayed for three weeks, followed by Tim who came shortly after him and also stayed for three weeks.

Rob is currently professor for Human Geography and Sociology at the University of Albert, Edmonton, Canada. Throughout his career, he has worked on a plethora of topics and theories including social spatialisation, Henri Lefebvre’s works, virtuality, and aesthetics. He shares with our group a distinct interest in the materiality of place and its effects on the performative configurations of places. On 22 June, Rob taught a workshop in our offices at Marktplatz 2 which was attended by our fellows, associates, and faculty members. Together with the participants, Rob discussed “Practical Aesthesis” and its political implications. Departing from the many meanings and shapes aesthesis took on in philosophical discourses, the group discussed current politics and aesthesis in relation to place.

Soon after Rob’s departure, in mid-July, Tim travelled to Eichstätt to visit our group. He is Ogilvie Professor of Geography at the University of Edinburgh. As a researcher who has engaged with the meanings of space and place for decades, he has valuable insights into the complexities of these concepts for our group. Mobility and its sociocultural entanglements have played a key role, among many other themes, in the multiple books he has written to date.


Our workshop with Tim Cresswell
Our workshop with Tim Cresswell on July 13

Currently, he is writing his next book On Routes. We were lucky enough to be among its first readers, as Tim made three chapters available to us for his workshop on July 13th. Our fellows, faculty members, and associates talked with Tim about rhythm’s role in understanding sociocultural structures and the permeability of places. This led to a fruitful discussion in which our fellows also considered the relationship between their projects and Tim’s perspective on rhythm in the politics of mobility.

This semester was a particularly productive one, also due to the contributions of both Mercator Fellows. We are very grateful to Rob and Tim for their engagement. We hope that they equally profited from their stays and look forward to seeing them in the future!