Giulia Torino
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Personal profile

Research interests

  • Global human movement and transitory inhabitation
  • Geographies or migration and borders
  • Spatialisations of 'race' and the urban economies of racial capitalism 
  • Displacement
  • Place-making 
  • Digital urban infrastructures 
  • Storytelling and everyday urban lives
  • Popular urban economies
  • Multi-sited and multi-scalar research
  • Difference
  • Relationality
  • Critical urban theory and praxis
  • Coloniality/decoloniality

Biographical details

Giulia is an interdisciplinary scholar and educator, with a professional background in architecture and urban design, human geography, and academic journalism. Prior to joining King’s, she was a stipendiary Junior Research Fellow at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (2021–23), and a Visiting Researcher at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá (2018-19). Her research has received grants and awards by the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UKRI), the Santander Fund, Kettle’s Yard, and the Society of Latin American Studies, among others.

Broadly, Giulia’s research is concerned with critical spatial questions of power and inequality at the intersection of global human movement, borders, place and belonging, and race-making – with particular attention being paid to cities and other extensive urban spaces.

She has 10 years of experience working as researcher, consultant, and designer for international, national, and grassroot organisations, especially in Colombia, Benin, Italy, the US, and the UK. 

Research interests

My research seeks to advance theoretical and empirical knowledge by centering marginalised spaces and places in debates on urban presents and futures, with particular attention to human mobility and displacement, the racialised politics of 'un-settled' forms of inhabitation, and intersectional spatial justice and agency in digital and non-digital cities. I have been exploring these topics across four main research strands:

1) My most recent project, “Extending urbanisation in the Black Mediterranean” (PI: G. Torino), is funded by the British Academy (2022-25) and examines the intersections between extended forms of urbanisation (within and beyond cities), the spatial politics of migration and borders regimes, and the political economy of racial capitalism in the making of new transitory spaces of inhabitation in the Mediterranean, with an initial empirical focus on Southern Italy. Early outputs have include articles in the South Atlantic Quarterly, the Urban Political Podcast, and Dialogues in Human Geography.

2) A second research stream explores the unattended connections between city-making, race-making (mestizaje), coloniality, and multicultural governance in Latin American cities, especially in Bogotá (Colombia), where I have worked for a decade. Outputs from my ethnographic doctoral research (2016-2020) have included publications on Identities and the Journal of Latin American Studies.

3) The third stream of my research looks at urban spaces of conflict , violence, forced displacement, and the forms of ordinary resistance and relational territories that emerge from and against them. In particular, the research focuses on the geographies inhabited by internally displaced Afro-Colombian women in Bogotá, and on how socially engaged art practices and other ordinary forms of resistance/re-existence are mobilised politically to negotiate visibility, social healing, radical pedagogies, urban placemaking and, ultimately, social change. Outcomes from this stream include the creation of the transnational and multi-lingual research network In War’s Wake, two public art exhibitions (2018; 2022) with the grassroots popular feminist and anti-racist social organisations Asomujer Y Trabajo and Unión de Costureros, and a forthcoming journal article.

4) My fourth research strand explores questions of social justice in the digital city, with a particular focus on urban infrastructures of digital surveillance and capture connected to the emergence of new technologies. This focus has included research collaborations with Amnesty International to produce reportsinteractive maps, and an international campaign (covered by ForbesThe GuardianMIT Tech ReviewABC News), and ongoing collaborative work.

Alongside the streams above, I am part of the Urban Extensions Collective (AbdouMaliq Simone, Niranjana R, Rodrigo Castriota, Simone Vegliò, Dominique Somda, Tanya Chandra, Giulia Torino), exploring new grammars for urbanisation across increasingly more extensive, transitory, and unfixed world geographies, with transnational conversations among Argentina, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mozambique, and South Africa. Our ongoing outputs have included so far an international conference and two articles on Dialogues in Human Geography

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Urban Studies, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 18 May 2021

External positions

Affiliated Lecturer, University of Cambridge


  • HT Communities. Classes. Races
  • JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
  • G Geography (General)
  • HM Sociology


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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