Professor Mark Graham

 Professor Mark Graham

Mark Graham's research focuses on Internet and information geographies, and the overlaps between ICTs and economic development.


Tel: +44 (0)1865 287203


Mark Graham is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the OII, a Research Fellow at Green Templeton College, an Associate in the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment, and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Media and Communications in the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He has published articles in major geography, communications, and urban studies journals, and his work has been covered by the Economist, the BBC, the Washington Post, CNN, the Guardian, and many other newspapers and magazines. He is an editorial board member of Information, Communication, and Society, Geo:Geography, Environment and Planning A, and Big Data & Society. He is also a member of DFID’s Digital Advisory Panel and the ESRC’s Peer Review College.

In 2014, he was awarded a European Research Council Starting Grant to lead a team to study 'knowledge economies' in Sub-Saharan Africa over five years. This will entail looking at the geographies of information production, low-end (virtual labour and microwork) knowledge work, and high-end (innovation hubs and bespoke information services) knowledge work in fifteen African cities.

The rest of his work can be divided into three categories:

ICT for Development

Mark is particularly interested in the multiplicity of attempts to implement development and reduce a 'digital divide' by altering economic positionalities and reconfiguring commodity chains in places on the global periphery. He is currently involved in a multi-year project funded by an ESRC-DFID grant to study the effects of broadband use and access in Kenya and Rwanda, asking who benefits (and who doesn’t) from improved connectivity. The ultimate aim of this research is to better understand the variety of strategies employed in using online-presence to offset remote physical presence. Mark’s previous work in this area focused on similar questions within the context of the Thai silk industry. These projects have been supported by the ESRC, the British Academy, the NSF, the Fell Fund, and the American Association of Geographers.

Internet and Information Geographies

Mark's work on the geographies of the Internet examines how people and places are ever more defined by, and made visible through, not only their traditional physical locations and properties, but also their virtual attributes and digital shadows. Specifically, he is interested in how ubiquitous electronic representations of urban environments that are made possible by services and platforms such as Google Maps, Twitter and Wikipedia (e.g. a project on Wikipedia's networks and geographies) have the power to redefine, reconfigure, and reorder the cities that they represent. Of particular interest are the barriers to participation and the way that some people can lack voice and representation in online platforms. This work has been featured in over one hundred media outlets around the world (including The Guardian, The New York Times, and Wired) and has been funded by the IDRC and the John Fell Fund. Some of his published academic work on this topic can be found on his website, while more recent work can be accessed on the Information Geography website, his zerogeography blog and the floatingsheep blog that he co-founded.

Economic Transparency

Novel ways of collaborating and pooling resources are being made possible by a new wave of Internet projects promoting transparency through commodity chains. The central element in these new projects is the ability of non-proximate transparency to effect patterns of consumption and economic flows. Mark's work in this area examines how a variety of social networks and the ability of consumers to monitor distant nodes on production chains can reorganise economic activities. His efforts centre on developing useful frameworks for the effects of non-proximate transparency, as well as detailed empirical studies on multiple transparency-promoting projects. He has recently set up a commodity chain tracing project ( that will allow people to harness the power of user-generated content to uncover the hidden production practices, environmental effects, and economic geographies behind everyday items.

Areas of Interest for Doctoral Supervision

Big data, crowdsourcing, cultural industries, digital divides, ICT4D, inequality, innovation, open data, public policy, social media, labour, markets, digital labour, geography, transparency, participation, Africa, economic geography, production network, ethical consumption, power

Research interests

Internet Geography, ICT for development, globalization, economic geography, transportation and communications, social theory, transparency, user-generated content, Southeast Asia, East Africa, zombies

Positions held at the OII

  • Professor of Internet Geography, July 2016 -
  • Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor, May 2014 - July 2016
  • Senior Research Fellow, August 2013 - May 2014
  • Director of Research, October 2012 - December 2013
  • Research Fellow, October 2009 - July 2013


Current projects

Past projects





  • Yasseri, T., Spoerri, A., Graham, M. and Kertész, J. (2014) The most controversial topics in Wikipedia: A multilingual and geographical analysis. In: P.Fichman and N.Hara (eds) Global Wikipedia: International and cross-cultural issues in online collaboration. Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 25-48.
  • Graham, M. and Haarstad, H. (2014) Open Development through Open Consumption: The Internet of Things, User-Generated Content and Economic Transparency. In M.L. Smith and K.M.A. Reilly (eds) Open Development: Networked Innovations in International Development. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Zook, M., Graham, M., and Boulton, A. (2014) Crowd-sourced Augmented Realities: Social Media and the Power of Digital Representation. In S.Mains, J.Cupples and C.Lukinbeal (eds) Mediated Geographies International Handbook. New York: Springer.
  • Graham, M. (2014) The Knowledge Based Economy and Digital Divisions of Labour. In V.Desai, and R.Potter (eds) Companion to Development Studies, 3rd edn. Hodder, pp. 189-195.
  • Allagui, I., Graham, M., and Hogan, B. (2014) Wikipedia Arabe et la Construction Collective du Savoir [Wikipedia Arabic and the Collective Construction of Knowledge]. In L.Barbe and L. Merzeau (eds) Wikipedia, objet scientifique non identifie. Paris: Presses Universitaries du Paris Ouest.
  • Graham, M. (2014) Internet Geographies: Data Shadows and Digital Divisions of Labour. In M.Graham and W.H.Dutton (eds) Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 99-116.
  • Graham, M. (2013) Virtual Geographies and Urban Environments: Big data and the ephemeral, augmented city. In M. Acuto and W. Steele (eds) Global City Challenges: debating a concept, improving the practice. London: Palgrave.
  • Graham, M. (2013) The Virtual Dimension. In M.Acuto and W.Steele (eds) Global City Challenges: debating a concept, improving the practice. London: Palgrave, pp. 117-139.
  • Graham, M., Shelton, T., and M. Zook (2013) Mapping Zombies: A Guide for Pre-Apocalptic Analysis and Post-Apocalyptic Survival. In A.Whelan, R.Walker and C.Moore (eds) Zombies in the Academy: Living Death in Higher Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 147-156.
  • Graham, M. (2012) The Knowledge Based Economy and Digital Divisions of Labour. In V.Desai and R.Potter (eds) Companion to Development Studies, 3rd edn. Hodder.
  • Brunn, S., Ghose, R. and Graham, M. (2012) Cities of the Future and the Future of Cities. In S.Brunn, M.Hays-Mitchell and D.Ziegler (eds) Cities of the World, 5th edn. Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 557-597.
  • Graham, M. (2012) The Knowledge Based Economy and Digital Divisions of Labour. In V. Desai, and R. Potter (eds) Companion to Development Studies, 3rd edn. Hodder.
  • Graham, M. (2012) Die Welt in Der Wikipedia Als Politik der Exklusion: Palimpseste des Ortes und selective Darstellung. In S. Lampe, and P. Bäumer (eds) Wikipedia. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb, Bonn.
  • Graham, M. (2011) Wiki Space: Palimpsests and the Politics of Exclusion. In: G.Lovink and N.Tkacz (eds) Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.
  • Graham, M. and Haarstad, H. (2011) Global Production Patterns. In: J.Stoltman (ed.) 21st Century Geography: A Reference Handbook. London: Sage, pp. 411-421.
  • Graham, M. (2011) Cultural Brokers, the Internet, and Value Chains. In: F.Wherry and N.Bandelj (eds) The Cultural Wealth of Nations. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 222-239.
  • Graham, M. (2011) Cloud Collaboration: Peer-Production and the Engineering of the Internet. In S.Brunn (ed.) Engineering Earth. New York: Springer, pp. 67-83.
  • Graham, M. (2010) Disintermediation as Development in the Thai Silk Industry: the Internet and Reconfigured Commodity Chains. In: F.Wherry and N.Bandelj (eds) The Cultural Wealth of Nations.
  • Graham, M. (2010) Engineering Earth 2.0: Neogeography and Virtual Earths. In: S.Brunn (ed.) Engineering Earth. New York: Kluwer.
  • Zook, M., Graham, M. and Shelton, T. (2010) The Presidential Placemark Poll. In: S.Brunn (ed.) Atlas of the 2008 Election.
  • Brunn, S., Ghose, R. and Graham, M. (2008) Cities of the Future and the Future of Cities. In: S.Brunn, M.Hays-Mitchell and D.Ziegler (eds) Cities of the World [4th edn]. Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 565-613.
  • Zook, M. and Graham, M. (2007) From Cyberspace to DigiPlace: Visibility in an Age of Information and Mobility. In: H.J.Miller (ed.) Societies and Cities in the Age of Instant Access. Springer, pp. 231-244.
  • Zook, M. and Graham, M. (2006) Wal-Mart Nation: Mapping the Reach of a Retail Colossus. In: S.Brunn (ed.) Wal-Mart World. Routledge, pp. 15-25.

Conference papers



Courses taught at the OII

  • ICT and Development

    Introducing the debates and practices surrounding ICT uses in the Global South and Global North, drawing on Anthropology, Development Studies, Economics, Geography and History to examine the theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin development.

DPhil students supervised at the OII

Current students

  • Dr Heather Ford

    'Imagine a world...' Hegemony in the age of peer production

  • Nicolas Friederici

    Dynamic Effects of Technology Innovation Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Mixed Methods Approach

  • Khairunnisa Haji Ibrahim

    Across time and the Zooniverse: Comparative spatial analysis of historical and online citizen science

  • Joe Shaw

    Hyperreal Estate: Digital urban information as engine or camera?