Student Profiles

Alice-Marie Archer

Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Short is Beautiful: Restructuring the West Dorset Food System
Research Supervisor:
Primary Supervisor: Professor Terry Marsden, Secondary Supervisor: Dr Scott Orford
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,

In part enabled by the emergence of the Internet, supermarkets are increasingly seeking to supply the value derived desires of their consumers – both offering web-facilitated delivery services and simultaneously in the ‘real world’ including more regional and seasonal produce on their aisles. Not forgetting the recent response to the horsemeat scandal; re-localising and being more transparent about aspects of their supply chain.

Alternative Food Networks (AFN) foster case-specific infrastructure needs through face-to-face connections between consumers and producers. Concurrent to the shifts seen in the conventional food system; across the UK alternative food networks are seeing a spatial shift – progressively extending their taking place beyond the community scale and expanding into the bioregional space.  This parallel shift represents a convergence of AFN and Conventional food systems into a hybrid space  – a sort of ‘missing middle’ – representing the complex psycho-spatial disconnect between current conventional and alternative food systems and the logistical / supply chain and infrastructure gap that opened-up following the centralisation and rationalisation of the UK food system.

This research takes a multi-modal quantitative approach to examine the ‘fuzzy’ disconnect that is the missing middle; and how convergence across the missing middle space offers opportunities for a transition towards a sustainable UK food sector. It investigates the missing middle not only in terms of the AFN – conventional food system disconnect, but also the need to bridge the logistical / supply chain and infrastructure gaps that make up the missing middle.

Selected Recent Publications:

Rebecca Petzel, Alice-Marie Archer, Rong Fei, Collaboration for sustainability in a networked world, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 4, 2010, Pages 6597-6609, ISSN 1877-0428, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.04.070(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042810011286) Keywords: collaboration; innovation; sustainability; networks; COINs.

Archer. A (2012) Making Aquaponics Accessible. Schumacher Institute Challenge Paper.

Lucy Baker

Lucy Baker
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
What are the social and individual economic impacts of importing used bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa?
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Dimitris Potoglou, Dr Justin Spinney
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My study will explore the social and individual economic impacts of importing used bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Used bicycles donated by developed countries have a role in SSA of increasing mobility and accessibility to services. Development organisations aim to empower women and children by providing bicycles that will reduce their journey times, enable heavy load carrying and increase access to education. Bicycles are provided for rural health care workers and are also used as ambulance services. Development organisations aim to improve attitudes towards cycling, increase maintenance and safety skills, and encourage governments to invest in safe cycling infrastructure. The impacts, equity and sustainability of used bicycle distributions are unknown.

The research of bicycles, in the context of transport development, accessibility and mobility, has predominantly been focused in Asia due to its popularity as a transport mode and relatively cheap cost. Characteristics of bicycle ownership in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the activities of the export of used bicycles to developing countries, have not been previously researched. There is also a need for practical applications of methods used in measuring the social impacts of transport developments. Methods will include semi-strucutred interviews, focus groups and a survey of bicycle owners that aims to assess the social and economic impacts to individuals. The study will explore attitudes towards cycling and perception of safety using disaggregated data to identify factors that influence the use of bicycles in sub-Saharan Africa, such as age, gender, income and culture.

Research interests: sustainable transport, transport in the context of development and social equity, active travel, workplace travel plans and cycling.

Bella Beynon

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
Governance for Food Security
Research Supervisor:
Dr Roberta Sonnino, Professor Kevin Morgan
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The nature of food insecurity is changing in both scope and geography, so that it is now a concern for both the global north as well as the developing countries which it has traditionally been associated with. Food security is now being recognised by academic, private and public realms alike, as sitting at the nexus of food debates: encompassing debates around the sustainability implications of current and proposed food systems; malnutrition, hunger, mal-consumption and obesity, and the ability of rural landscapes to support the nutritional needs of an ever urbanising growing population. This research looks at how the reinterpretations of these issues has resulted in innovative urban and regional governance mechanisms such as urban food strategies and food policy councils. Taking an interpretive policy analysis approach, these governance networks and their associated documents, strategies and projects will be investigated to see what real and potential contributions to local and global food security they [can] make.

Wenna Chartres

Wenna Chartres​
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Environmentalism in children: spatialized empathy, locality and activity.
Research Supervisor:
Dr Andrew Kythreotis and Dr Jon Anderson
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

I’m interested in furthering current understanding of children’s approaches toward environmentalism. I believe that, by analysing environmental empathy, locality and activity across spaces such as the home, school, social and media, both the influence of the spaces on the student and the role of the student across these spaces can be explored.

Charlotte Eales

Charlotte Eales
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Exploring the (possibly contested) re-construction of the identities of young Gypsies and Travellers in relation to education for citizenship.
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Huw Thomas and Dr. Richard Gale
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My project lies within the fields of political and cultural geography. It will explore the ways in which Gypsy Traveller children experience education in Wales. In particular, it will focus on the potential reconstruction of the identities of Gypsy Traveller children in relation to education for citizenship. In doing this, I will explore ideas of citizenship, British identity and multiculturalism and the methods through which these are dealt with in Welsh schools.

My research questions are:

  • Does citizenship in education emphasise a singular national identity with which non-mainstream identities cannot easily co-exist?
  • Are attempts made to engage Gypsy Traveller children with education in new ways? I.e. mainstreamed with a focus on citizenship
  • How do these attempts affect the identities of Gypsy Travellers and in particular those of young people?

Rich Gorman

Rich Gorman
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Health, Place, and Animals: The Co-Production of Therapeutic Geographies
Research Supervisor:
Dr Chris Bear, Dr Geoff Deverteuil
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The concept of ‘therapeutic landscapes’ has been used by geographers as a way to critically understand how health and wellbeing are related to place. However, applications of the therapeutic landscape concept have often failed to discuss the heterogeneity of elements that come together to produce spaces of health and wellbeing. In order to more critically unpack the heterogeneity of ‘therapeutic spaces’ and engage with their more-than-human constitutive elements, I draw on post-structuralist understandings of space to demonstrate an approach which moves from considering places as inherently therapeutic, but rather instead describes how they emerge relationally co-constituted by a variety of heterogeneous agencies.

I mobilise qualitative research exploring animal-assisted-therapy and care-farming practices and spaces in England and Wales, to discuss how the agency and presence of animal life can often be crucial to the formation of specific therapeutic geographies and the opening up and closing down of therapeutic possibilities. I thus highlight the range of ways in which encounters with animals can shape and reshape people’s health assemblage, producing new bodily capacities, and allowing people to navigate and negotiate a range of difficult life situations. Further, I discuss how interactions with, and around, animals can lead to an increased desire to participate and engage in certain therapeutic processes, overcoming former barriers and perceptions, and actively creating and facilitating a therapeutic engagement with place.

However, when thinking about and discussing the role of animals within therapeutic practices and spaces, there is perhaps a need to ask, for whom exactly are these processes therapeutic? I thus also critically consider the ways in which animals become entangled in certain ‘therapeutic’ relationships with humans within these practices and spaces of care, exploring how care for humans and non-humans can be brought together and framed through more egalitarian relationships of mutualism.

Publications

Gorman, R. 2016. Changing ethnographic mediums: the place-based contingency of smartphones and scratchnotes. Area  (doi:10.1111/area.12320) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/area.12320/full

Gorman, R. 2016. Therapeutic landscapes and non-human animals: the roles and contested positions of animals within care farming assemblages. Social & Cultural Geography (doi:10.1080/14649365.2016.1180424) http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14649365.2016.1180424

Laura Norris

Laura Norris
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Networks as an actor in sustainable transitions: the case of Anglesey Energy Island
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Gillian Bristow, Dr Richard Cowell
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research will explore the impact of networks on the transition of regions and the embedding of radical innovations within them. The case study region is in Wales, where there are extensive efforts on the part of the Welsh Government and industry to develop the low carbon energy sector. In particular, Anglesey Energy Island is home to two competing energy technologies: nuclear and marine; enabling a comparative analysis of the influence of networks on transitions.

My thesis will seek to understand the relationship, if any, between network and transition theory. Whilst the role of knowledge networks in stimulating innovation has been extensively considered, what is missing in our current understanding is what role or influence these networks have in embedding new technologies. This research will provide an evaluation of the significance of networks in system transition.

Jennifer Owen

Jennifer Owen
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ – The Hidden Life of Belongings: Self-Storage, Attachment and Divestment
Research Supervisor:
Dr Jon Anderson, Dr Stephen Burgess and Dr Rachel Hurdley
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research explores the growing phenomenon of self-storage units, both looking at the factors that have contributed to their usage and the ways they have become embedded into everyday material lives.

Whilst it is commonplace to own more possessions, it has also been noted that attic conversions and the size of new builds has led to houses having a distinct lack of necessary storage space that they once afforded. These two factors coupled with more mobile lifestyles and other individual circumstances have necessitated the growing usage of self-storage units.

Despite storage’s intimate nature, containing objects of immense attachment and future value, locating stored materialities in an extension to the home brings up many questions which this research aims to answer.

Kieran O’Mahony

Kieran O'Mahony
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Where the Wild Things Are- Living With governing Wild Boar
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Gareth Enticott (main supervisor) Dr. Jonathan Prior (co-supervisor)
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Wild boar have returned to the British landscape, through accidental escapes from farms and more furtive, intentional releases by environmental activists. In locations where wild boar are now feral, to use official vernacular, or reintroduced, they are having significant impacts on notions of rurality, identity, and our understanding of the wild. Increasingly, however, this has also fed into wider national debates about environmental planning and the nature of place.

This PhD will use the case of wild boar to explore contemporary discussions around rewilding, biosecurity and environmental governance. Within these, animals are represented in different ways by actors with competing philosophies of nature which assert alternative constructions of landscape, identity and knowledge over others. Specifically, it will explore the ways in which: wild boar challenge accepted notions of place and space; they fit into or transgress the differing metaphysical boundaries and categorisations we apply to non-human others; human actors live with nature, and are included or excluded from governance.

Kate O’Sullivan

Kate O'Sullivan
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
The Impact of Energy Transitions on Vulnerable Peripheral Communities
Research Supervisor:
Dr Oleg Golubchikov, Dr Abid Mehmood
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The aim of this project is to investigate new governance challenges arising from low-carbon transition in peripheral communities in and around the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Wales.

A theoretical framework based on theories of Spatial Justice will be adopted and, with this in mind, the following research questions have been set:

  • How do energy transitions interplay with the socio-economic evolution of place?
  • How do communities of different status engage with energy practices and innovations?
  • How can different communities capacity to adapt to the new energy agenda be increased in times of austerity?
  • How do existing governance systems and structures impact upon communities resilience to energy transitions?
  • How can theoretical and methodological perspectives for understanding the impacts of low-carbon innovations in vulnerable communities be developed, to inform future innovation and practice rollout?

Jack Pickering

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Traditional markets: Alternative and/or marginalised consumption sites?
Research Supervisor:
Mara Miele
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research aims to explore the processes of consumption, exclusion and change at alternative sites of consumption in urban areas, with a focus on “traditional” (covered and indoor) markets in UK city and town centres. This includes attention to intersecting issues relevant to different policy areas, such as sustainable food systems, urban policy, and community cohesion.

These forms of markets have been neglected in comparison to newer forms of alternative consumption such as Farmers’ Markets, and I aim to shed light on these spaces and the challenges they face, as well as the potential they have for change. Change in such markets is often highly contentious and processes of retail gentrification do interact with these markets, making them an interesting site in which to examine how the themes described above interact.

Daniel Prokop

Dan Prokop
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
University Networks and the Success of Academic Spinouts
Research Supervisor:
Dr Gillian Bristow, Prof Robert Huggins
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The study looks at the university networks and how they contribute to the success of academic spinouts. These networks include investors, entrepreneurs, and structures that facilitate network access, e.g. business incubators, science parks.

Pawel Pustelnik

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
European struggles and American resistance: inclusion of aviation into the EU ETS
Research Supervisor:
Dr Richard Cowell, Dr Oleg Golubchikov
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Pawel’s research focuses on international dimensions of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) – a CO2 trading scheme – and specifically the move by the EU to include international aviation within this scheme. This extension of the EU ETS can be viewed as unilateral step of the European Union (EU) to regulate a global issue, which sets a new path for environmental governance, bypassing international organisations responsible hitherto for aviation regulation. Important questions therefore arise about the nature of this policy change, how it came about, and the arguments it has generated in policy-making processes on both sides of the Atlantic.

The aim of this research is to analyse the policy-making processes surrounding the process of including aviation in the EU ETS, both within Europe itself, and in the international responses coming from the US and organisations such as International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The research asks what are the differences surrounding aviation pollution policy in the EU and US and how can those be understood in a broader context of multi-level governance?

Emma Spence

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
An assemblage approach to ship, sea and shore
Research Supervisor:
Dr J Anderson
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research draws upon ethnographic fieldwork to explore the social-spatial relations of seafarers. I seek to explain how the use of assemblage theory in conceptualizing the place of the boat, the sea and the shore can help us to further understand the cultural processes, liminality and inherent mobility of seafarers. Assemblage theory is a form of relational thinking that views place as a whole that can be broken down into separate ontological, experiential, human and non-human components (see McFarlane and Anderson, 2011). These components function in their own right when detached, but the compilation of these parts creates ‘irreducible properties’ that assemble place (DeLanda, 2006). Thinking in terms of assemblage allows us to unravel the concentrations of entwined social and spatial interactions of seafarers and their relationship with their vessel, the sea and the shore. My research, therefore, seeks to identify the tensions and fractures that trigger the realignments of the ship-sea-shore assemblage for seafarers, in addition to further understanding the mobile and liminal lives of this group. Conceptually, my research seeks to situate assemblage within the mobilities field, whilst evaluating its contribution to existing relational thinking. I will draw upon ethnographic experiences to explore the methodological implications of applying assemblage theory empirically.

Rebecca Windemer

Rebecca Windemer
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Timescapes of solar and wind energy Negotiating reversibility and expectations regarding temporality and landscape change
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This research will provide an exploration of the ways in which considerations of time, place identity and the complexities of landscape change influence opinions of renewable energy infrastructure. Through qualitative case study research this thesis should enable an understanding of how the length and character of the land use impacts of renewables are considered and assessed in the context of the surrounding landscape.

Gayle Wootton

Gayle Wootton
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
Social inclusion, rights based approaches and public transport in rapidly urbanising cities.
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Georgina Santos and Prof. Alison Brown
Supervising school:
School of Planning and Geography,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research will take a comparative look at assessing the extent to which right-based approaches, such as the right to the city concept can and has been applied to public transport within the context of developing cities.

Environmental Planning is distinctive in its concern with critically examining the spatial dimensions of interventions in social and economic life at various different scales. The dynamic interactions of the urban and urbanisation and the reconfiguration of rurality are prominent themes.  Major concerns include:

  • changing demands on governance structures for cities and regions
  • the nature and consequences of food production and consumption systems
  • demands on rural resources
  • the implications of addressing climate change for energy production, transmission and consumption.

The Environmental Planning pathway is a collaboration between the School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University and the Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire. Cardiff’s research has been consistently judged excellent across a broad range of relevant themes; it has a particular, though not exclusive, focus on urban settings. Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute is noted for excellent research  in relation to rural and agri-food studies. Collaboration strengthens both institutions by allowing a more focused and coherent exploration of contemporary issues that are inter-disciplinary, cut across urban and rural settings and interrogate the construction of urbanity and rurality.

Students will benefit from the many links the pathway has with various research centres, UK, European and international research projects, and non-academic organisations. For students on the ‘1+3’ route, subject specific elective modules include: Environmental Policy and Climate Change; Environmental Management; Planning for Sustainability; Environmental Behaviours-Citizens, Consumers and Communities; and Local Food and Sustainable Development. Students also benefit from a lively research culture in which both full and part-time students play a full part. Throughout the doctorate students will participate in annual away-days, of which there will be at least two (with one at Cardiff and one at the University of Gloucestershire), presenting papers or preparing posters. Students will also be encouraged to attend advanced training events at each institution, such as the Countryside and Community Research Institute winter school and advanced methods workshops, also benefiting from the involvement of relevant professional bodies in these events.