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Dr Lauren J Blake

BSocSci, MA, PGCertVE, PhD

  • BS40 5DU

20112020

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Research interests

Lauren is an interdisciplinary anthropologist and human geographer focusing on agrifood systems, through empirically driven research with an ethnographic and systemic approach. Particularly, she looks at how different actors and socio-political processes shape agrifood systems, ranging from the producers and consumers to NGO and policy makers, to map, understand and analyse the challenges, interconnections and interdependencies between the health of people, animals and the environment, from policy, global development and sustainability to food security, malnutrition, gender and identity.  

 

At Bristol, Lauren works primarily on the multi-institution and interdisciplinary project POR EL Páramo (POst-conflict Reconciliation of Environment and Livelihoods in Boyacá Páramo) in Colombia. The research, taking a political ecology perspective, seeks to understand the socio-environmental struggles that campesinos are facing at the intersection between farming, environmental change and post-peace agreement conservation policies. More info at: https://porelparamo.org/en/home/ 

 

Lauren holds a bachelor's degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester and a Masters from SOAS University of London, in Anthropology of Food, for which she conducted ethnographic research on malnutrition, gender and development intervention programmes with agrarian communities in rural Guatemala (funded by an award from the Tropical Agriculture Association). Whilst at SOAS, she also conducted research on food labelling for the Social Science Research Unit of the Food Standards Agency. Her PhD in Human Geography (from the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the British Library), was based on in-depth oral history interviews with agri-food activists, campaigners and policy makers from across the food system. The recorded interviews form a public sound archive at the British Library. 

 

Before joining the University of Bristol in 2019, she worked as a teaching fellow at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and as a member of the London Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH). Here, her principal role was developing and delivering a cross-university interdisciplinary food systems training programme (IFSTAL). At the RVC, Lauren was a leading member of the qualitative research methods group, supervised student research projects, and, often taking a One Health approach, was involved in research on zoonotic diseases in Jordan, antimicrobial resistance within the food chain and agricultural sector, and sustainability within livestock farming. At LCIRAH, she has led the development and delivery of a qualitative methods learning lab for the annual Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Week. She is particularly interested in the role of social sciences and qualitative and participatory methods within interdisciplinary projects related to agrifood systems.   

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