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Caleb Johnston

Welcome. I’m a researcher and writer based at Newcastle University. Over time, my academic work has moved across and between social and political economies of care, labour, migration, and documentary performance.

I’m currently working through three responses to our collective crisis in elder care: outsourcing, automation, and elimination.

Some of this research has attracted media interest in The Guardian, The Economist, Nature, and elsewhere.

In September 2024, I will start a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to examine the role of technological innovation in the social and political economies of ageing populations. This work will engage case studies of exoskeleton technology designed to augment human strength and reduce the need for care labour.

This builds on recent writing I’ve done on companion robotics and the automation of social care in the UK.

Previously, I spent several years documenting challenges relating to the migration of Filipina domestic workers and their children to Canada. Periods of this research involved substantive collaboration with the Philippine Women Centre of BC and Migrante International.

As a form of public scholarship, I’ve an especial interest in creating research-derived documentary performance – some of this work has been presented internationally: Vancouver’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (2009, 2010, 2013), Berlin’s HAU1 Theatre (2009), Ballhaus Ost (2019), and in Edinburgh (2012), Whitehorse (2012; 2016), Manila (2013; 2015); and Bangkok (2022).

I’ve published in journals such as Society & Space, Antipode, cultural geographies, Transactions, Annals, and elsewhere. With Geraldine Pratt, I co-authored Migration in Performance: Crossing the Colonial Present, a monograph exploring the use of documentary theatre to circulate stories of the violence associated with labour migration and entwined colonialisms between Canada and the Philippines.

I am also a current Associate Editor with cultural geographies, and with Studies for Social Justice.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.