UCL Department of Geography


Hannah Schling

I am a critical Economic Geographer, working across Feminist Political Economy and Labour Geographies, with expertise in the uneven geographies of labour migration, logistics-driven capitalism and workers’ social reproduction in Central Eastern Europe (CEE).

My research has explored emerging labour migration regimes in the Czech Republic, with particular attention to how worker dormitories and temporary work agencies mediate the spatio-temporalities of contingent employment, cross-border labour markets, and conditions of everyday life within the country’s export-oriented electronics manufacturing sector. 

More about Dr Schling

I hold a PhD in Human Geography from King’s College London which I completed in 2019. Following my PhD, I worked as a lecturer in Geography at QMUL before holding an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship there. I then moved to the University of Glasgow where I held a position in the School of Geography as Lecturer in the Human Geographies of Work and the Economy from 2021 – 2023. I hold an MSc in Globalisation and Development from SOAS and a BA in Modern History from the University of Oxford.  


I teach on the following modules:


To view Dr Schling's publications, please visit UCL Profiles:

Research Interests

My research centres upon arrangements of ‘just-in-time’ social reproduction for mobile and migrant workers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), examining articulations between the region’s logistically-driven integration into global production networks, new cross-border trajectories of intermediated migrant labour, racialised labouring contingency and arrangements of worker housing, including dormitory labour regimes.  

My doctoral research encompassed extensive ethnographic research in worker dormitories across two cities in the Czech electronics export manufacturing sector. Continuing into an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, the research analysed dormitories as diverse, multi-national and multi-lingual sites (housing workers from Czechia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Mongolia, Serbia, Vietnam) in which formations of racialised and gendered social differentiation closely articulate with varied forms of employment contingency, depleted social reproduction, re-organising labour-migration regimes, value extraction and worker agency. Secondly, this research connected the temporalities of mediated labour mobility and workers everyday life in worker dormitories with the temporal imperatives of just-in-time electronics manufacturing, theorising the relationality of value production within global production networks with the grounded relations of workers’ ‘just-in-time’ social reproduction. My attention to worker dormitories as key sites has contributed to theorising social reproduction and racialised social differentiation within labour regimes frameworks: Schling, H (2022). ‘“Just-in-time” migrant workers in Czechia: Racialization and dormitory labour regimes’. In Baglioni, E., Campling, L., Coe, N.M., Smith, A. (eds). Labour Regimes and Global Production. Agenda Publishing: Newcastle.    

You can hear me discussing my ethnographic engagement with Czech worker dormitories on my podcast series, co-edited with Dr Olena Fedyuk, and published on LeftEast - An Eighth Woman: the changing worlds of labour and migration, social reproduction and capitalism in CEE.  

Across two aligned projects (‘Logistics of Social Reproduction’ and ‘Mediating Migrant Labour in Central and Eastern Europe’), my current research agenda continues to bring feminist social reproduction analysis into critical geographies of labour and migration within logistics-driven capitalism in CEE. 

The ‘Logistics of Social Reproduction’ project brings together historical analyses of early-20th Century company towns and contemporary investigation of migrant worker dormitories within the Czech Republic’ logistics hubs, towards theorising employer-provided housing as gendered and racializing infrastructures of labour control, circulation and struggle closely articulated with historically contingent spatio-temporal dynamics of production and distribution sectors. 

‘Mediating Migrant Labour in CEE’, is an internationally collaborative, and impact-oriented interdisciplinary initiative started during my ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, investigating new cross-border migration infrastructures (work agencies, brokers, translators, accommodation providers) facilitating precarious labour in CEE’s export production and distribution sectors. 

A final strand of work, undertaken together with Prof. Ben Rogaly (University of Sussex), examines the ‘labouring geographer’ within both the subdiscipline of labour geography and the university as a workplace. This project extends scholarship on racialised capitalism and social reproduction into the subdiscipline of labour geography, whilst connecting these interventions with contemporary struggles within/over higher education. Our publications include: Schling, H. and Rogaly, B. (2022). Labouring geography in a global pandemic: social reproduction, racial capitalism and world-making praxis. Working Paper. Sussex Centre for Migration Research. Available for download from The University of Sussex.


My research is oriented towards broader positive social impact, which I have undertaken within a number of projects, including:  

Electronics Watch (2016 – 2019)    

Research towards monitoring working conditions at Czech electronics factories, and consultancy towards Electronics Watch campaign strategy leveraging public procurement towards improvements in worker rights. Research and writing towards a 2017 Compliance Report into Foxconn electronics factory in Pardubice, Czech Republic (Section 5. Conditions in Dormitories and Access to Housing and Section 6. Transportation).   

Pregnant and In Need of Advice? (2018)   

Project initiated in response to the experiences of migrant women I had met and interviewed during my doctoral fieldwork, providing information and resources on employment and social rights for migrant women from third countries in the Czech Republic. Outputs include a printed leaflet and website in English, Czech, Mongolian, Russian and Ukrainian. Undertaken with Dr Rutvica Andrijasevic (University of Bristol) and NGO partners Most Pro (Pardubice) and Multikulturní centrum Praha.  

Mediating Migrant Labour (2021 – present): intermediaries, insecure work and social reproduction in CEE   

Co-convened with Dr Olena Fedyuk, University of Padua, this international research network is oriented towards knowledge exchange and collaborative research into cross-border labour intermediaries (work agencies, brokers, accommodation providers), labour migration and precarious work in Central & Eastern Europe.