Category Archives: Tom Disney

Introducing: Tom Disney

Tom Disney is a PhD student in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES), at the University of Birmingham. He is supervised by Dr Dominique Moran, Dr Phil Jones (GEES) and Dr Jeremy Morris (Russian Studies). He can be contacted at

TDisney Picture

Geographies of Orphan Care in the Russian Federation

My research explores the different environments and spaces of care for orphaned children in the Russian Federation. This project employs a multi-sited (auto)-ethnography and explores the orphanage as a complex institution imbued with societal and cultural norms, influenced and shaped by Soviet and Post-Soviet theories and practices of child development and care. In particular this research draws upon ethnographic work conducted in an orphanage for children with severe intellectual disabilities. The project considers the multi-scalar nature of this institution including micro scale mobilities and elements of discipline and control within the institution, but also macro-scale interactions with society beyond the orphanage’s walls examining the ways in which children are drawn into such environments against their will.


Pykett, J. and Disney, T. (Forthcoming) ‘Brain-targeted Teaching and the Biopolitical Child’ in T. Skelton, K. Pauliina Kallio, and S. Mills (eds.) Geographies of Children and Young People. Politics, Citizenship and Rights (Springer).

Disney, T. (Forthcoming) ‘The Role of Emotion in Institutional Spaces of Russian Orphan Care: Policy and Practical Matters’ in M. Blazek and P. Kraftl (eds.) Children’s Emotions in Policy and Practice: Mapping and Making Spaces of Childhood (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Disney, T. (2015) ‘Complex Spaces of Orphan Care – A Russian Therapeutic Children’s Community’ Children’s Geographies 13(1): 30-43.

Disney, T., E. Harrowell, R. Mulhall, and M. Ronayne (2013) ‘Doctoral researcher skill development: learning through doing’ Planet 27(2): 14-20.

Disney, T. (2012) ‘Краткий обзор советской концептуализации молодежи [A Short Overview of Soviet Conceptualisations of Youth]’ Rusistika No. 37