I assist criminal defense teams and their clients by producing compelling multi-media mitigation exhibits and providing expert testimony as a social geographer.
I have worked on federal, state, military, capital, non-capital, and Miller cases.
To access example social geography materials please click here and enter the password.
Geography itself is a multi-faceted discipline that, in short-form, studies the “why of where.” The two main branches are human geography which studies the lived experiences of humans including politics, culture, economics, and social life and physical geography which studies the planet.
Social geography is a sub-field of human geography and focuses on understanding the ways people (as individuals and/or communities) experience identity, difference, and inequality, and the meanings they give to these experiences.
What is key to a social geography approach is the recognition that life experiences happen in places and, therefore, to fully understand an individual it is necessary to situate them in relation to the larger forces shaping their geographic locations.
Social geography is an important component of any competent investigation of the life of those who are charged with capital murder. Through my work with Dr. Urbanik, I have had the opportunity to understand my client's life experience through a very important lens.
- Cyndy Short, CLS Mitigation
Benefits and Value
Provides new ways to share your client's story
Contributes to preparing the client and/or key parties for testifying
Life context narratives demonstrate client's ability for self-reflection
Place-based narratives can help make the client more "relatable"
Educates the judge/jury about the larger social forces that shaped the client's life choices
Social geography of client context reports
Life context bodymap narratives
Place-based memory-walk narratives
Societal context reports/media on specific topics
Social geography research summaries
Social geography expert testimony
2021 How Social Geography Can Help Tell Your Client's Story. Arkansas Public Defenders Conference, May.
2020 Social Geography and Mitigation Videos. Mitigation University Workshop Training Series, August.
2017 How Social Geography Can Help Tell Your Client’s Story. NAPD Training Webinar.
2017 Social Geography for Mitigation. Federal Public Defender Training, Kansas City, Missouri.
2021 Applied geonarratives: Arts-based social geography in criminal defense mitigation. Social Sciences &
Humanities Open 4 (1): 1-10. Click here for access to full article.