Brighton Earthship (Photo: Jenny Pickerill)

The seminar series is being coordinated by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from around the UK, led by Dr Gavin Brown (Department of Geography, University of Leicester).  Here you can find a bit more about who we are.

Dr Gavin Brown is a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Leicester.  Gavin is a social and cultural geographer, with a broad range of research interests examining the spatiality of contemporary life in cities.  He is particularly interested in processes of social change and transformation and the relationships between these and changes in urban life and the built environment. Gavin is best known for his work on sexual geographies and co-edited the (2007) collection Geographies of Sexualities.  He is currently extending this research to examine how lesbian and gay identities (which were forged in a period of oil-fuelled high consumption) might mutate in the transition to a low carbon economy.

Dr Alex Haxeltine is a Senior Research Fellow in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

Dr Mike Hodson is a Research Fellow for SURF – The Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Salford.

Prof. Simon Marvin is Professor and Co-Director of SURF – The Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Salford.

Dr Kelvin Mason is a Senior Lecturer and Distance Learning Tutor for the Graduate School of the Environment at the Centre for Alternative Technology.  Previously, he worked as a consultant engineer and manager on development projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Specialising in energy efficiency in small-scale building materials production, his focus has been mainly on fired clay bricks, lime and stabilised soil blocks. Along with his technical capabilities, he has experience in participatory technology development as an epistemological approach.   Kelvin completed his PhD in Citizenship and Sustainable Development in the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of Aberystwyth, engaging in participatory action research. He holds an MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Aalborg in Denmark, an MA in Human Geography from the University of Wales, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Engineering Design and Appropriate Technology (EDAT) from Warwick University.  His current research interests include environmental citizenship, sustainable urbanism, (auto)ethnographic research methods, environmental and scholar activism.

Dr Peter North is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Liverpool.  Pete gained his BA in History and Politics in 1984. After a few years working for the Departments of Employment, Trade and Industry, and Environment, he gained his MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford (1993) and his PhD from the School for Advanced Urban Studies at the University of Bristol (1997). He was a post-doctoral Research Associate on a project on Local Business Representation in Local Economic Development at the University of Sheffield (1996-7). Between 1997 and 2002 he was Senior Research Fellow at the Local Economy Policy Unit at South Bank University. He joined the University of Liverpool in 2002.   

Pete’s research focuses on social movements that organise broadly against globalisation and for localisation, and that develop alternatives to capitalism. More recently he has become interested in the politics of adaption to and mitigation of climate change, and the way that movements that argued for different conceptions of ‘the economic’ are now developing ideas for a post carbon economy, and in particular thinking about links between economies, livelihoods and environments that are not exploitative and which provide an alternative to forms of growth and development that may not be sustainable in the long term. More recently Pete has been looking at what conceptualisations of local economic development might facilitate action against dangerous climate change.  Pete is the author of four books on alternative currencies.

Dr Jenny Pickerill is a Reader in the Department of Geography at the University of Leicester.  Jenny’s research focuses on how we understand, value and (ab)use the environment.  She is particularly interested in inspiring grassroots solutions to environmental problems and in hopeful and positive ways in which we can change social practices. This work includes a concern for justice; recognising that the broader context of environmental problems is often inequality, colonialism, racism and neo-liberalism. As a geographer Jenny is interested in how these different issues connect, relate and entangle at different scales and in diverse places. She has conducted research in Britain, Australia, USA, Spain, Thailand and Argentina. Jenny is experienced in a range of empirical research methods – in-depth interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, photography and ethnography – used in a range of fieldwork situations from businesses in London to forest blockades in Australia.  She seeks to work with others through participatory methodologies in research design, practice, and production of knowledge. For example she has completed an open-access collaborative book on Low Impact Development with environmental activists in Britain.

Dr Gill Seyfang is an RCUK Academic Fellow in Sustainable Consumption at CSERGE (Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment), University of East Anglia. Her interdisciplinary approach covers environmental sociology, social economy, geography, environmental politics and development studies. Research examines alternatives to mainstream systems of provision, seeking to evaluate and demonstrate their contribution to a challenging ‘new economics’ vision of sustainable development. This includes a number of projects looking at grassroots innovations in energy, housing and complementary currencies (see Gill is the author of ‘The New Economics of Sustainable Consumption: Seeds of Change’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Dr Adrian Smith is a Senior Research Fellow in SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex.  Adrian’s research considers the politics and governance of innovation for sustainability. Most of his work draws upon theories and methodologies from political science, innovation studies, and science and technology studies. Recent research has addressed three themes: 1. grassroots innovations for sustainable development; 2. the transformation of large socio-technical systems and transitions to sustainability; and 3. critical policy analysis for sustainability. Adrian’s work is funded by a variety of academic, government and civil society organisations in the UK and overseas. He has led fieldwork in both developed and developing country contexts, and has covered national to international scales in a variety of sectors, including energy.

Dr Amanda Smith is a Senior Lecturer in International Studies in the School of Arts & Humanities at Nottingham Trent University.