University of St Andrews


Photo of Nissa Finney


My work and approach have been shaped by training in Geography followed by over a decade in an interdisciplinary context, working with Demographers, Sociologists, Social Statisticians, Economists, Epidemiologists and Landscape Architects. I am an advocate of combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. My current work involves collaboration with academic partners in the UK (Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Plymouth), Belgium (VU Brussels) and Spain (UA Barcelona); and non-academic partners, particularly the Runnymede Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and MigrationWorkCIC.

I joined the University in August 2015 having previously worked at the University of Manchester (2006-2015) where I was Lecturer, Hallsworth Fellow, ESRC Fellow and member of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research. Prior to that I worked in the Department of Geography at the University of Liverpool and at the University of Sheffield. I obtained my PhD in Geography (2004) from the University of Wales Swansea.




Research Interests

My work is concerned with residential patterns (where people live and where they move to/from), their drivers (individual migration decision making and structural constraints such as housing markets) and their consequences (for life chances and outcomes of individuals, for neighbourhood composition and cohesion, and for governance). Much of my work examines ethnicity in relation to these themes. My work is broadly, and theoretically, framed by my interest in inequalities and social justice.

Current research projects:

  • CoDE: Understanding the contemporary patternings of ethnic inequalities (2013-2017, ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity)
  • Understanding local ethnic inequalities in health, housing, employment and education using 2001 and 2011 Census data (a CoDE project, with Runnymede Trust)
  • Economic change and internal population dynamics: an innovative study of new residential mobilities in Scotland (2015-2017, and ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative Project.)
  • Internal migration of ethnic groups (a CoDE project)
  • Housing disadvantage of migrants and minorities (UoM Hallsworth fund/CoDE)
  • How are ethnicity, poverty and social networks related? (initially funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation)
  • Impacts of childhood residential (im)mobility on later life (initially funded by British Academy)



Teaching Interests

  • Migration, ethnicity, integration, inequalities, neighbourhood, population change, mixed methods
  • GG3273 Scrutinizing Segregation: Geographies of Diversity and Inequality
  • GG2011 Geographies of Global Change (Population Geography block)
  • GG1001/2 and GG2011/12 tutorials
  • SG4221 Review Essay in Geography
  • GG5101 Being a Social Scientist
  • Honours Dissertation supervision

Postgraduate Students