I research, write and teach in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield.
My research is concerned with understanding social change in relation to sustainability, through a focus on everyday life and the socio-technical systems that shape it. I engage with geographical and sociological theories of practice, materiality and everyday life, as well as with science and technology studies.

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Keynote at Practices and Space conference, Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Nearing Halle centre

Where should Geographical research be going with practice theory? And how? Thinking on that was the challenge I set myself for an invited keynote talk in Halle yesterday.

The Summer School was organised by the Practice Theory and Space Group, funded by Germany’s national research council and led by Jonathan Everts, professor of Anthropogeography at Martin Luther University, Halle-Salle.

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Enjoying saving quarter a ton of CO2e – train to Germany for a keynote

image of liege station
Liege station

It’s the second time I’ve taken the train to Germany rather than fly. The first time it was for an invited talk at a meeting at the Cultural Politics of Sustainable Mobility  international network – the irony of flying for that was too great, after a few years of building guilt as hopped on planes around Europe to examine PhD or evaluate grant proposals on themes of sustainability. Finding then that Germany by train is a pleasure, and increasingly motivated to contest the flight dependence of academia, it was easy to say I’d only take on this invitation if I could get the train. So, an enjoyable journey to Halle-Salle and back to deliver a keynote talk at the Practice and Space summer school.

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What role for communication initiatives in reducing energy demand? Talk at knowledge exchange event at the Science Museum

energy descent? steps to the central line

It was a surprise to be invited to speak at a knowledge exchange event on communication and behaviour change to reduce energy use. My work and that of others, not least in the DEMAND centre on which I was co-investigator, challenges the emphasis on communication, and behaviour change as conventionally framed, to effect change in what people do. But the event was part of a follow on project from the excellent Material Cultures of Energy project led by Frank Trentmann at Birkbeck, and seemed an opportunity to deliver the same messages again to a diverse audience of academics and policy professionals at the Science Museum.

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Change Points presentation to inaugural meeting of the Behavioural Science and the Natural Environment group

Change Points

Sam Outhwaite and Matt Watson represented the Change Points team, which was invited to present the approach to the inaugural meeting of the Behavioural Science and the Natural Environment group.

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Talking power in practice theory for the first Practice Theory Podcast

Good to dig out that chapter on power and practice and remember what I wrote, and all I didn’t get round to writing. That was in getting ready for the delight of being guest for the very first Practice Theory Podcast. A friendly but critical conversation with Elizabeth Shove and Stan Blue. It was a bit like a PhD viva, with two scholars reading what I wrote and asking questions, some of them testingly tough. But with nothing riding on it (apart from the judgement of anyone that listens to the podcast…) it was a lot more fun.

Redefining Single Use Plastics – new project

I’m part of the very interdisciplinary team on a new £1m project announced today. Together we’re going to be Redefining Single Use Plastics to help tackle the scourge of plastic waste. I’ll be working on understanding the social changes that got us where we are, and that need to happen to get us somewhere better.