Personal profile

Research interests

My research focuses on relationships between environment, science and society. I am particularly interested in initiatives that seek to ‘put nature to work’ as a solution to climate change and other environmental problems – whether in the form of biomass fuels derived from crops and trees, peatlands restored to act as more effective carbon sinks, or moss harnessed as a bio-based form of air pollution control in cities.

Situated at the interface of political ecology and science & technology studies (STS), my work draws on qualitative research methods to enrich understandings of the contested dynamics by which knowledge about non-human natures and ecological processes is produced, represented and mobilised within efforts to address environmental problems.

More practically, I also aim to promote enhanced public engagement and knowledge co-production in climate and environmental governance processes, especially through the use of participatory methods such as deliberative workshops. I am a Research Affiliate at Oxford University’s Institute for Science, Innovation & Society (InSIS).

 

Ongoing Projects

Carbon Futures in the Mire? The Political Ecology of Peatland Restoration and Remaking

I am Principal Investigator of a three-year project exploring knowledge controversies around efforts to restore European peatlands for carbon storage. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the “Peatscapes” project will examine how scientific expertise and local knowledges interact and conflict in ongoing efforts to restore peatlands at four case study sites – two in the UK and two in Estonia.

Public Perceptions of Greenhouse Gas Removal (GGR)

Working with Rob Bellamy, Laurie Waller (Manchester) and Emily Cox (Oxford), I am co-facilitating a series of deliberative workshops around the UK which will examine public responses to a range of proposals for biological carbon dioxide removal methods. This work forms part of a larger project organised by CO2RE – the UK’s national research hub on greenhouse gas removal (GGR).

Synthesis for Policy in Amazonia (SynPAm)

Together with Filipe Franca and James Moura Jr. (Bristol), I am co-leading a participatory exercise aiming to strengthen connections between conservation science and policy in the Brazilian Amazon, engaging local experts, stakeholders, indigenous representatives and policymakers in the co-production of a future research agenda for the region.

 

Previous Projects

The Work That Plants Do

Along with Marion Ernwein (Open University) and Franklin Ginn (Bristol), I co-edited a book examining the diverse ways in which vegetal life is enrolled in processes of value creation and social reproduction, drawing together contributions from geography, anthropology and the environmental humanities.

The Political Ecology of Advanced Bioenergy

Between 2018 and 2020, I held a three-year Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship in Environmental Social Sciences and Humanities at Bristol. My work on this project examined resource-making practices associated with new bioenergy economies and infrastructures in the UK and United States, as well as broader relationships between plant growth, vegetal labour and value production in the renewable energy sector.

Climate Geoengineering Governance

Working with colleagues at the Oxford Institute for Science, Innovation & Society (InSIS), I co-led a deliberative workshops engaging stakeholders and publics in efforts to shape the governance of scientific research and policy development for climate geoengineering and carbon dioxide removal in the UK.

‘Clearing the air’ after Dieselgate

Between 2015 and 2016, I undertook research examining the politics of environmental expertise and knowledge which gave rise to the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, as well as the scandal’s implications for reforming and opening up environmental governance processes at the EU level.

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