University of St Andrews


Paula Duffy

Photo of Paula Duffy


Supervisors: Dr Timothy Stojanovic & Professor Allan Findlay


Research Title

The Social science of coasts; Relational understandings of Scottish coastal communities for demographic and social analysis


This Project is funded by the ESRC and Marine Scotland with the interest of informing marine planning and it's interaction with the social.

Within my research I am looking to engage with population geography through the discourse of assemblage thinking. With particular focus on how population spaces are shaped by the dynamism of demographic, social and economic processes and practices.

This is a mixed methods project. I am using 2001 and 2011 Scottish Census data in the initial quantitative analysis which sought to characterise coastal towns. The qualitative work will then follow a case study approach, to look at the lived experience of population and social change in coastal communities.

These aspects will be brought together by the theoretical concept of assemblage to inform how marine planning and Marine Scotland specifically can begin to critically interact with geographical understanding and typologies of coastal populations to achieve their social and economic objectives of the Marine Policy Statement.


A Human Geographer from the off, I received my undergraduate degree in MA (Hons) Geography at the University of Dundee in 2009 where I perused my interest in International Migration, Urban and Health Geographies.  My undergraduate thesis examined the discourse of therapeutic landscapes in mental health care, through a case study approach of Stratheden Hospital in Fife, Scotland.

I continued my career at Dundee, Progressing onto the MSc course of Applied Population and Welfare geographies from 2009 to 2010. During the course I completed advanced research skills training and further explored my interest in Population geographies and Mobilities. My research project looked to understand the mobility practices of Backpacking in a South American Context.  Primary Qualitative fieldwork was complete as a case study of Bolivia, including the use of Auto-ethnography.

I am currently undertaking a Marine Scotland and ESRC +3 funded PhD, supervised by Dr Timothy Stojanovic and Professor Allan Findlay, looking at demographic and social change in Scotland’s Coastal Communities.

I am currently one of two Academic Representative for PhD students in the department for 2015/2016.


Attended and presented at:

  • The International Conference of Population Geographies (ICPG) 2015, University of Queensland, Brisbane , Australia
  • Assembling a Typology of Scottish Coastal Communities: Considering policy-making, statistical governance and Assemblage theory” By Paula Duffy and Tim Stojanovic