An Expedition from NOMANSLAND to NO MAN'S LAND


Challenging Expectations

No Man’s Lands have the capacity to intrigue and inspire. They challenge straight forward understandings of ‘place’ and excite our understanding of geography, revealing the ragged (and rugged) edges that continue to feature on maps of the modern world. And yet, far from being empty and abandoned spaces, this expedition will uncover the landscapes, lives, and ways of living that no man’s lands contain and produce.

From No Man’s Land to everyone’s lands

The expedition will bring the sounds and sights of restricted sites and closed-off zones directly to a wide public audience. Working with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the team will curate an exhibition of historic and contemporary materials on on their return to the UK.

Engaging Communities

Along each stage of our 6000-mile journey, the team will work with residents and near-neighbours, NGOs, peace-keeping forces, academics and cultural institutions to document, and creatively engage with, communities dealing with the daily challenges and hazards of life in and around a series of historic and contemporary no-man’s lands. This is a unique prospect, only made possible by pursuing the aims and objectives social science fieldwork within the format of an expedition.

About the expedition

A journey through No Man’s Lands, past and present

Marking the centenary of the Great War, this 6000-mile expedition traces the historical- and political geographies of the No Man’s Land from its Medieval origins to describe the cracks between fiefdoms to the militarized No Man’s Land of the Western Front, along the fault-line of the Iron Curtain in Eastern and Southern Europe and the UN Buffer Zone that continues to divide the island of Cyprus, even after 40 years. It culminates in Bir Tawil on the Egypt-Sudan border – the last truly unclaimed space on Earth.

As a figure of speech, No-Man’s Land is applied to anywhere from derelict inner-city districts and buffer-zones to ‘ungovernable’ regions and tax havens. But what is no-man’s land? What are the conditions that produce it? How is it administered? What sort of human activities do no-man’s lands harbour? These are the questions that prompt us to think about the no-man’s lands not as dead zones, but as living spaces.

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  • Europe
  • Cyprus
  • Africa

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Here you can find infomation and links to the team leading the expedition.
Noam Leshem
Expedition Co-Leader
Noam is a political geographer at Durham University specialising in geographies of ethnic and urban conflict. He has worked and studied violent conflicts in the Middle East for over 15 years.
Alasdair Pinkerton
Expedition Co-Leader
Alasdair is a political geographer with interests in geopolitics, diplomacy and the media. He has previously undertaken research in the South Atlantic, South Asia, US, Canada, the UK and Cyprus.
Elliot Graves
Expedition Producer
Elliot Graves is a geography graduate and freelance media creative with international experience. He specialises in photography, cinematography, design and web development.

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