After completing my doctoral research in the Science Studies Unit, University of Edinburgh, in 2003 I joined STIS as a lecturer in sociology. My academic roots are in sociology, cultural studies and science and technology studies - a path that began with an inspirational and gifted A Level Sociology teacher. As part of previous and current work, I am interested in:
- Gender and sustainability, particularly in over-developed countries
- Gender and household sustainability
- Classifications and understandings of nature
- Animal-human relations in the context of environmental issues
- Technologies and caring relations
My teaching-related roles include:
Other Teaching Activities
Previous roles in teaching and related administration have included redeveloping the MSc in Science and Technology in Society, coordinating the Impact Case Studies for the Sociology submission to REF2014, and course development and teaching at both undergradute and postgraduate levels.
My current research interests focus on relations between gender and sustainability in over-developed countries. I am currently researching and writing about the gender-sustainability-household nexus, particularly through the concepts of work and care.
Sustainable Practices Research Group (2010 - 2013)
I was principal investigator for the 'Engagement, Interaction and Influence' work-package for the Sustainable Practices Research Group (SPRG), funded by ESRC, DEFRA and Scottish Government. The SPRG aimed to develop fresh understandings about how social practices change and how to encourage more sustainable behaviours. Particular emphasis was placed on consumption - on the grounds that changing the consumption practices of billions of individuals poses the greatest challenge to the achievement of sustainability. The SPRG took its cue from social theories that emphasize the importance of collective understandings and everyday practices and on the material and social circumstances that constrain behaviour in order to find levers for intervention.
Building on my previous research on public engagement, this project had both a research and an engagement component. The aim of the research component was to further our understanding of the relationship between social science and public policy. Through the analysis of four contemporary case studies where social science and public policy are interacting we asked: what are the processes within each that lead to the inclusion/exclusion of social science ideas in/from public policy? Our findings from the research element fed into an engagement component which brought together social scientists with people from public policy, civil society, business and the third sector. The aim of the engagement component was to identify opportunities for opening up existing debates in such a way that insights from social science research on behaviour, environment and sustainable consumption could be taken up. My collaborators on this project were Prof. Joseph Murphy (co-I) and Dr Fraser Stewart (Research Fellow, 2011-2013).
Eurostemcell (2010 - 2014)
I was involved in a European consortium for communicating stem cell research. This project brought together the major EU-funded large-scale stem cell projects and aimed to create a coordinated platform for widespread dissemination of scientific knowledge spanning the research fields of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. My role was to advise on the evaluation of the communication and engagement activities generated as part of this project.
Meanings of nature (2008 - 2010)
Funded through the ESRC's Genomics Network I coordinated a network of scholars to explore the relationship between developments in genomics and our knowledge and understanding of 'nature'. I subsequently co-edited a book (with John Dupré) on the same topic which was published in 2010 (see below).
Public engagement and stem cell research (2005 - 2008)
Funded under the ESRC's programme, "Stem Cell Research: The Economic and Social Agenda", I was principal investigator on a three year project: "The Social Dynamics of Public Engagement in Stem Cell Research". This was a collaborative project with Sarah Cunningham-Burley (Public Health Sciences & CRFR), Wendy Faulkner (Science Studies Unit) and Austin Smith (Institute for Stem Cell Biology, University of Cambridge). We also had a research fellow and a science communications officer working as part of the research team. The project had two aims: first, to explore the views of a wide range of publics and experts in Scotland and, second, to develop engagement methods for establishing a dialogue between different groups.
I have enjoyed supervising doctoral students from a range of backgrounds - from the natural and social sciences - and would welcome students interested in: i) Gender-environment relations, particularly in over-developed countries; ii) Gender and sustainability in households and communities; iii) Animal-human relations in the context of environmental issues; and iv) Gender and environmental ill/health. I will be glad to hear from any excellent students that have an idea that builds on any of these interests.
Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with: (opening in new windows)
Current PhD Students
Antonio Ballesteros Figueroa (2017 - 2021) An Investigation into the construction of indicators: An STS approach to the construction of environmental knowledge.
Joyce Serwaa Oppong (2019 - 2022) The role of children as e-waste pickers in Ghana.
Xin Zhang (2020 - 2026, part-time) Sustainable fashion.
Denisea Fernandez-Kennedy (2020 - 2024) Sex Robots Among Us: Feminist and Ethical Issues.