Biography

I am a Senior Lecturer and member of the Science, Society and Sustainability (3S) Research Group in the School of Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia.

I am interested in the challenge of making everyday life and society more sustainable. Accordingly, my research focuses on how different types of sustainability innovation – from ‘smart’ home technologies to grassroots social innovations like community energy initiatives – operate in everyday settings and situations, and how attempts to govern everyday life impact on patterns of societal engagement. 

A key focus of my research has been to explore how social relations and dynamics shape, and are shaped by, the adoption, use and impacts of sustainability innovations. I have developed this theme across a number of different topics, with a particular focus on sustainable energy transitions. This has included work on: how energy feedback from smart meters is shaped by household social dynamics, and what might be done to move beyond energy feedback and open up new forms of social engagement with energy; how workplace behaviour change initiatives operate within and can struggle against existing social practices, social interactions, office politics and power relations; how community energy initiatives can benefit from relations with one another and with intermediary organisations, but can struggle against narrow energy system priorities that don’t always align with local wants and needs; how social relations and emotions can impact on the capabilities of energy vulnerable households in asking for and receiving support; how household roles and relations shape the domestication of smart home technologies; how different forms of public engagement with energy transitions are inter-related in wider ecologies of participation; how different academic disciplines might experiment with new ways of relating to one another in interdisciplinary collaborations.

In pursuing this research, I draw on methods and concepts from human geography, sociology and science and technology studies. I am particularly inspired by in-depth, qualitative and ethnographic research methods, but have also used methods such as surveys, social network analysis, Q method, content analysis, secondary qualitative analysis, systematic mapping and comparative case study analysis. Theoretically, I enjoy working with approaches that develop and encourage a focus on situated and grounded social relations and dynamics. As such, my work to date has drawn on and sought to develop a variety of theoretical approaches including: social practice theory, governmentality, social interaction, domestication, socio-technical transitions, grassroots innovations, capabilities approaches, geography of emotions, phronetic social science, and ecologies of participation.

My research is of direct relevance to a wide range of audiences outside academia and I am always keen to develop new partnerships and collaborations beyond the academy. This has included giving presentations on my research, as well as conducting research consultancy and advisory work with a range of organisations including: BEIS, Defra; the European Commission, E.On UK; British Gas; Anglian Water; Adapt Low Carbon; Green Energy Options; E.On UK, and Marketforce.

I teach on a number of different modules across both Undergraduate and Masters degree programmes at UEA. I am also the module convenor for ‘Energy and People’ a third year undergraduate module that explores the social science of sustainable energy transitions. Since 2018 I have served as the External Examiner for the M.Sc in ‘Energy, Society and Sustainability’  in the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.

 

Websites

My Google Scholar profile

 

PhD Positions

I welcome email enquiries from any potential PhD students.

I am especially keen to hear from people interested in researching the roles played by social relations and dynamics in shaping sustainability transitions, but am open to enquiries from any applicants wanting to work in relation to my other areas of interest. I will work with you to secure funding from the ESRC (UEA is a partner in the SeNSS DTP) and/or help with applications for internal or external funding. Recent PhD students have been funded by the ESRC, UEA Science Faculty, Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Networks, and Norfolk County Council.

Click here for current PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.

 

 

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