My research interests fall into three categories: (i) human-nature relationships, (ii) sensory perception, and, (iii) pedagogy and continuing professional development.
I am currently leading (in collaboration with Dr Kate Orton-Johnson, Sociology) research on contemporary camping cultures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has included unfunded research on the phenomenon of ‘camping at home’ and the ways in which it has enabled people to cope and be resilient during this stressful period. Individually, I am working on archival material looking specifically at the poetry written by campers in the early-mid 20th century but also scoping new areas for research.
I am part of an interdisciplinary team (led by Dr Catherine Baker, School of Art, Birmingham City University) working in collaboration with the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh, and Edinburgh Printmakers looking to creatively investigate the impact of diagnosis on the social welfare of young women with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS). This research is funded by the British Scoliosis Research Fund.
I am also co-leading an interdisciplinary team (led by Jenny Glen, University of Dundee) working with academic colleagues and partner organisations in Portugal, Brazil and Nepal funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute Programmes of Knowledge Exchange. The programme of workshops on ‘Community Gardens Beyond Communities’ will look at the role of local community activism in addressing climate change and related challenges faced by urban centres. We will focus, in particular, on how community gardens can mobilise local communities, create synergies, and provide a modelling for community action to addressenvironmental issues that affect local lives but connect to global issues.
(ii) Sensory perception
I maintain a strong interest in sensory perception. I recently gave a paper at the Uncommon Senses III Conference (Concordia University, Montreal) on the sensory-embodied perception of stillness and motion during a spin class. I have also recently published a chapter on dancing in the dark in Rethinking Dakness (Routledge) edited by Nick Dunn and Tim Edensor.
(iii) Pedagogy and continuing professional development
My research (with Hazel Christie, Institute for Academic Development) on the use of assessed blogs in the undergraduate curriculum has received internal and external recognition. The use of assessed blogs is of growing interest to academics across a range of disciplines and the COVID-19 pandemic has further amplified the need for online assessment options. A set of adaptable GRMC for assessed blogs produced from this research is now available as an OpenEd resource.
I am currently Co-Investigator on the Teaching Matters PTAS-funded project (led by Jenny Scoles, Institute for Academic Development) designed to enhance and promote conversations around good teaching and learning practice within the UoE.