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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a multidisciplinary researcher focusing on work in food systems.

My work is currently supported by a Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the British Academy.

In my current research project, I explore the social dimensions of the food systems that supply the city of Bristol. This project is titled: Working for ‘five a day’: risk and resilience in the changing food system. The first stage of research was a survey open to growers and workers in edible horticulture. This project is now in the qualitative phase in which face to face research is taking place in five sites of production that supply UK consumers with fruit and vegetables.

The research that I carried out for my PhD (University of Bristol), focused on the precarious work of tomato-pickers in the context of a hub (or enclave) of global food production in the south of Morocco. I found that workers were deeply affected by the structural conditions of the agri-food system which dominated in the region; workers contested such conditions actively. My thesis developed the category of an enclave of global food production by illustrating the socio and economic manifestations of this. My PhD was supported by a 1+3 scholarship from the ESRC and was awarded the Hilary Hartley Prize for best thesis in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies.

I became interested in the year-round food system for fresh tomatoes during my Masters research, first in Spain (through the University of Córdoba) and then in the UK (MRes, University of Bristol). This research focused on the labour and social implications of organic agriculture as experienced by migrant workers in greenhouse production. I have published two articles on this work. One legal piece questions the ‘seasonal’ justification for temporary workers, whom, I argue, are needed almost year-round. The earlier piece illustrates the areas of minor alleviation of working conditions that I found were evident for migrant workers in contexts of organic production.

I enjoy teaching and have previously taught or supervised students from several connected disciplinary areas (Human Geography, Law, Sociology, Social Policy and International Relations). Prior to taking up my  current research position, I was a full-time lecturer in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. The majority of my other teaching roles have been with the University of Brisol, alongside guest lectures at the University of Bath Spa. My approach to teaching is deliberative and participatory. I am interested in students’ perspectives and encourage them to bring their knowledge into discussions and activities.

Prior to re-entering academia in 2013, I worked for five years in an international NGO, Access Info Europe, focusing on transparency and access to information across Europe and globally.

Twitter: @Lydyact

Project website: Working for 5 a day research website

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Cabot Institute Food Security Research
  • Migration Mobilities Bristol
  • Perspectives on Work
  • SPAIS Gender Research Centre
  • Global Political Economy
  • Food Justice Network


  • Seasonal work
  • Food
  • Work
  • Seasonal migration
  • Agriculture
  • Spain
  • Morocco
  • Participation


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