Professor Lynda Johnston named Royal Society Fellow

Professor Lynda Johnston named Fellow for LGBTQ geography research.

05 Apr 2024

Professor Lynda Johnston is one of 21 new members of Ngā Ahurei Academy of Fellows of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

International expert in queer geography, Professor Lynda Johnston, has been named Fellow Ngā Ahurei of the Royal Society Te Apārangi for her research on social and behavioural sciences.

Professor Johnston is Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sustainability, Professor of Geography at Te Wānanga o Ngā Kete (Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences) and a Research Associate at Te Ngira Institute for Population Research at the University of Waikato.

The honour recognises outstanding achievements in sciences, technology and humanities.

“I am surprised and very humbled by this honour. It would not have happened without the support from incredible colleagues and students,” Professor Johnston says.

Professor Johnston is recognised for her significant contribution to research on social and cultural geographies, in particular people’s embodied (gendered, sexualised, raced, disabled) everyday experiences of place.

A champion for the LGBTQ community, Professor Johnston’s research has transformed the way human geographers and others think about people-place relationship. She has succeeded in pioneering a new field often referred to as ‘queer geography’.

“From its beginning Geography at the University of Waikato developed Māori, historical, environmental justice and gender perspectives and it is this platform that led me to critically assess power in relation to space and place,” she says.

“My research and teaching focuses on the lived and spatial experiences of people who may be marginalised due to their gender diversity and sexuality. I’m profoundly grateful to so many wonderful colleagues I have had the pleasure to work with, and learn from, over the years.”

Nominating Fellows, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Robyn Longhurst and Emeritus Professor Richard Bedford QSO, say Professor Johnston has shown a commitment to creating a fairer, more inclusive world, drawing attention to how sexism, homophobia and transphobia shape communities.

“Lynda is a world leader in queer geography. She has carried out numerous empirical projects on queer health, pride festivals, drag queen culture, queer sporting events, and tourism that provides a safe space for gender and sexually diverse people.”

Professor Johnston has delivered keynote speeches around the world, written and edited many international publications.

In 2010, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the NZ Geographical Society and in 2014 and 2019, the Janice Monk Service Award from the Association of American Geographers. These awards acknowledge the profound impact that Johnston has had on the discipline of geography and on LGBTQ communities nationally and internationally.

Professor Johnston was the President of the New Zealand Geographical Society and is the current New Zealand Representative for the International Geographical Union. She was Chair of the Gender and Geography Commission for the International Geographical Union and held editing roles, including Editor for Gender, Place and Culture: A Feminist Geography Journal.