profile icon

David Bissell

Future Fellow
gig economy
social sciences
David Bissell's Profile Picture

David Bissell

Primary Interest
Human Geography
David Bissell's Profile Picture

David Bissell


I am Associate Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the School of Geography. I combine qualitative research on embodied practices with social theory to explore the social, political and ethical consequences of mobile lives.

My research draws on cultural geography and mobilities research to investigate contemporary social problems involving mobility-labour relationships. This research programme has been developed through four Australian Research Council funded projects:

1. Commuting Life: Labour Mobilities and Transformations in the Twenty-First Century City (2012-2016, DE120102279). This project explored how the stresses and strains of travel to and from work emerge, play out through home and work life, and impact on the longer-term wellbeing of city workers. Through extensive fieldwork in Sydney, this project developed a richer understanding of how commutes are transforming city life, contributing to geographical debates on habit and the performative dimensions of routine. It culminated in the book ‘Transit Life: How Commuting is Transforming Our Cities’ which was published by MIT Press in 2018.

2. Living Apart Together: How Mobile Work is Transforming Homes (2016-2020, DP160103771). This project, with Co-I Andrew Gorman Murray and Libby Straughan, is exploring how households cope with the personal and family pressures when one partner works away from home for days, or even weeks, at a time. Through fieldwork with mobile workers and their partners, we are developing new ways of understanding how repeated cycles of being together and then apart impact on wellbeing, and we are using these insights to contribute to geographical debates on distance and separation.

3. Enhanced Humans, Robotics and the Future of Work (2016-2020, DP160100979). This project, with Co-Is Anthony Elliott, Thomas Birtchnell and Eric Hsu, is exploring how robotics and artificial intelligence impact upon individuals, communities, and urban and regional cities. My part of the project is concerned with exploring the impacts of automation on workplaces and mobilities. Through fieldwork with resource sector workers in Australia, I am exploring how automation introduces new ways of understanding embodiment.

4. How Digital On-Demand Mobile Work is Transforming Cities (2017-2021, FT170100059) My newest project is exploring how the rapid rise of digital on-demand mobile work is transforming Australian cities by evaluating its diverse impacts on consumers, workers and industries. Through fieldwork with gig economy users, workers and stakeholders, the aim of this project is to expand our understanding of the geographically uneven impacts of on-demand mobile work.

I graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2003 with a BA in Geography. I undertook ESRC-funded postgraduate studies at Durham University, graduating with a Masters in Research Methods in 2004 and a PhD in Human Geography in 2008. I was lecturer in human geography in the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton between 2008 and 2009. I was lecturer, then senior lecturer in the School of Sociology at the Australian National University between 2009 and 2017. I moved to the University of Melbourne in 2017. Originally from Norfolk, I am grateful for the inspiration that Stalham High School and the City of Norwich School provided.

I am Managing Editor of Social & Cultural Geography, and I am the Steering Committee Chair for AusMob, the Australian Mobilities Research Network.

Scholarly Works

Displaying the 63 most recent scholarly works by David Bissell.



Future Fellow


Member Cultural Geography Study Group

Institute of Australian Geographers


Doctor of Philosophy (Human Geography)

Durham University

Master of Arts (Research Methods, Human Geography)

Durham University

Bachelor of Arts (Geography)

University of Cambridge