Select a School below to see how its academics working on climate issues.
Josh Appignanesi, Senior Lecturer in Film
Josh is a filmmaker whose widely-released feature films The Infidel, Female Human Animal, The New Man and Song of Songs explored questions of ethnoreligious and gender identity, spanning documentary, fiction and the space inbetween. His next project – My Extinction – explores our psychosocial response to the enormity of the Climate Emergency, exploring how ‘climate feelings’ like guilt, anxiety, anger and impotence frequently lead to paralysis, denial, or dangerous ‘acting out’, and asking under what conditions this might be transformed. Mounting a lived experiment in the everyday dissonances, denials and hypocrisies arising from the clashes generated between intimate family life, child-rearing and social reproduction, and our imbrication in systems of society-wide systems of extractive capitalism, the film engages in cross-disciplinary activities between auto-ethnography, climate psychology and cultural activism to trace, not without irony, what it might really look like to feel your feelings, confront your denials, and get active when threatened with extinction.
Stephen Drinkwater, Professor of Economics
Stephen's main research interests lie in applied economics, particularly in relation to migration, the labour market, regional issues and public attitudes. With regards to the latter, he is currently undertaking research on changing attitudes towards climate change using large-scale survey data. He has previously produced a State of Science Review for the Foresight Project on Migration and Global Environmental Changes that was funded by the Government Office for Science. He is on the Editorial Board of Sustainability as well as Economic Issues. He is a research fellow at the Institute for Labor Economics (IZA) in Bonn, the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE) at the University of Manchester, the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Data, Research and Methods (WISERD) and the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), University College London.
Gabor Sarlos, Senior Lecturer
Gabor is committed to ensuring that young generations are aware of and engaged in tackling the next global emergency: the climate crisis. He believes that today’s graduates, whatever their field of studies, need to be prepared for the role they will play in ensuring the long-term liveability of our planet. During the last 5 years, climate change has been the focus of his research activities, including developing a responsible energy citizenship model, assessing the climate awareness of young people in the UK, Vietnam and Hungary, and exploring what leadership models are required to lead climate thinking. Through his conference contributions and journal articles, he has focused on building an alliance between academia, business and society to tackle climate change. Most recently, he has discussed a phantasma of the post-climate change world in a book analysing the media and technological context of the popular ‘Black Mirror’ TV series.
Rodrigo Silva de Souza
Rodrigo’s focus on risking, and accounting for risk, including in the era of the climate crisis. Recently, he has been supporting the creation of the Brazilian Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment (BRASFI) at the Federal University of Bahia and a new start-up to disseminate this knowledge among practitioners WeESG. Furthermore, he is a member of Institute of Risk Management’s working group on Climate Change SIG (Special Interest Group), which is developing a Climate Risk Course for the institute in partnership with Imperial College and a Guide to adapt COSO to Climate Risk imperatives. He also collaborates with the UFBA Research Lab in Management Accounting led by Professor Sonia Gomes, who is an expert in Environmental Accounting and Controllership in Brazil.
Penny Lawrence, Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies
Penny Lawrence is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies. Her current research works with new materialist non-binary conceptualisations of urban childhoods as not separate from ‘Nature’ and contextualizing the local as part of the global. The focus is significant because sustainable living to curb climate change means being out of the car, walking and playing. This interconnection is relevant for whatever income level because it enhances the immediate environment and reduces damage to the environment locally and globally. The research aims to examine dialogical processes in work with young children, families, early childhood educators and city councils in children’s immediate neighbourhoods near homes and educational settings. It will explore how more-than-human, non-anthropocentric, Common Worlds views can be part of urban planning and design thinking. The initial locations are the cities of Birmingham and Southampton where there is cross-party support to explore how early childhood pedagogies and urban planning initiatives can attend more collaboratively with children as part of the public realm. The research aligns with work towards Child-Friendly City status, the recently increased emphasis on the hyperlocal in 15-minute cities, and sustainability policies internationally.
Dr Rachele Dini
Dr Rachele Dini's research expertise spans literary waste studies, Cold War-era speculative U.S. fiction, and, most recently, the literary representation of domestic electrification and resource extraction. Her books include Consumerism, Waste, and Re-use in 20th-century Fiction: Legacies of the Avant-Garde (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and “All-Electric Narratives”: Time-Saving Appliances and Domesticity in American Literature, 1945-2020 (Bloomsbury, 2021). Dini is also the founder of the International Literary Waste Studies Network, which brings together literary studies scholars working on waste across genres, periods, and forms, and is the editor of the network’s first publication, Queer Trash and Feminist Excretions: New Directions in Literary and Cultural Waste Studies (SUNY Press, 2022). She is a peer reviewer for Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, on the editorial board of Gothic Nature, and a participant in the Andrew Mellon-funded project hosted by Rice University (Texas), Waste Histories and Futures.
Professor Peter Jaeger
Professor Peter Jaeger is interested in the “recycling” of source texts in poetry and fiction that have a philosophical or political engagement with the environment. The recycling of found text in this work offers a critique of the disposable goods which our economic situation consistently produces, and which consumer culture uses without regard for environmental sustainability. Jaeger’s work focusses on linguistic form and its relation to ecology, rather than on the thematic representation of ecological content. How and why have specific contemporary writers “scavenged” other texts for ecological purposes? Jaeger’s on-going project “carrion poetics” explores textual scavenging through practice-led research and creative-critical hybridity. His ecologically-informed publications include the volumes John Cage and Buddhist Ecopoetics (Bloomsbury 2013) and A Field Guide to Lost Things (If P Then Q 2015), as well as poetry in the pioneering American journal Ecopoetics and in the forthcoming anthology Earthbound: Compass Points for an Ecopoetics (Wesleyan University Press).
Ian Kinane’s current research examines ecocritical concerns in Gothic fiction and the Robinsonade genre (a literary genre that takes its name from Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe; otherwise known as the ‘desert island story’), focusing on the relationship between island cultures and topographies, environmentalism, and post-colonial island narratives. Previous work in this field includes Theorising Literary Islands (2016) and Didactics and the Modern Robinsonade (2019). He is a consultant reader for Island Studies Journal and Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures, and sits on the editorial board of Gothic Nature.
Dr Neil Williams
Dr Neil Williams is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and joined Roehampton in 2018 having previously worked as a Teaching Fellow in Applied Ethics at the University of Leeds. In his research he applies concepts and theories drawn from the history of American philosophy to contemporary social and ethical issues, with a particular focus on the environment. He is particularly interested in how the affective dimensions of our experience can ground our ethical and metaphysical perspectives on the nonhuman world. Currently, he is a co-investigator on the AHRC funded project ‘The Guardians of the Rivers,’ an interdisciplinary project exploring the rights of nature, and indigenous peoples’ legitimate representation of those rights. When not researching, he can usually be found teaching topics related to the environment across the School of Humanities, including environmental history, ethics, philosophy, and literature.
Dr Nick Mayhew-Smith
Dr Nick Mayhew-Smith studied for his PhD on Celtic nature spirituality at Roehampton University, and is now working with the Susanna Wesley Foundation at Southlands College, University of Roehampton, promoting creative and positive narratives around religion and the environment. He also teaches a course on landscape spirituality with the Catherine of Siena College at Roehampton. He began his working life as a journalist on the Financial Times before moving into travel and nature writing. His book Britain's Holiest Places (2011) was turned into a BBC television series in 2013, celebrating both the natural and built heritage of sacred sites. Since then he has produced other books on pilgrimage and environmental spirituality. In addition to his university work, he is also involved with the British Pilgrimage Trust, jointly producing a book Britain's Pilgrim Places in 2020. His next book Landscape Liturgies is due to be published in September 2021.
Dr Martin Poulsom
Dr Martin Poulsom is a Roman Catholic Christian theologian, specialising in theology of creation. His interest in articulating the relation between God as Creator and the world as creation, and the ways that Christianity has used this relation to model the one between humanity and the rest of the created order, have led him to deeper engagement in environmental activism, and to engage in dialogue between that broad movement and academia. He participated in the Pilgrimage to Paris in 2015 and gave a paper at the pre-COP Conference in Krakow in 2018. He is a theological consultant, board member and trustee of Operation Noah and regularly works with CAFOD and other NGOs in areas of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. Drawing on The Dialectics of Creation (Bloomsbury, 2014), he has recently explored some outcomes of this dialogue in ‘Concentrating on Creation: Following Christ in a Context of Climate Change’ (2017) and ‘Schillebeeckx’s Praxis of Creation’ (2019)
Antonia Ford has been studying fish populations for 15 years to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes through which species adapt, or fail to adapt, to new and changing environments. Her research integrates environmental datazsets and morphological and genomic data on wild populations. For the past 7 years she has studied populations of three-spined stickleback fish across two continents (North America (Alaska and Canada) and Europe (Scotland, Iceland)) to understand the role of the environment shaping the adaptation of this species to freshwater habitats across large geographic scales. Currently she is focusing on expanding this research to include populations at the species range limit. Stickleback seem to be following the pattern of many other species and migrating north in response to warming waters. She hopes that understanding the ecology of range margin populations, particularly at the early stages of range expansion, will provide fundamental insights into species tolerance for climatic conditions and for assessing the impact of future climate change.
Lewis’s research focuses on how changing climate impacts on the lives of a range of animals, including studies into the effects of abiotic factors on the behaviour and energy expenditure on both ectotherms and endotherms. He is presently working with colleagues to develop a laboratory-ant research model to understand how nest building by an ant colony is affected by different temperatures and humidities and to investigate differences in the thermal performance curves of gammarus species from very different environments. Lewis studies seabirds around the world and investigates their capacity to adapt to changing conditions within their habitats over time, from the frequency and force of the wind to the distribution and abundance of food. He also studies the behavioural and physiological responses of our own species to variation in ambient conditions and is presently attempting to quantify the upper critical temperature in humans and how this varies with body type and immutable characteristics.
Julia’s research is primarily concerned with individual sociality in group-living primates (non-human and human). Many primate species are in decline and understanding group dynamics and requirements as well as the mechanism driving the link between social integration and survival is crucial for designing viable conservation programmes. Using modelling approaches that are underpinned by individual behavioural decisions we have shown the impact climate change is expected to have on apes in Africa and Asia. Furthermore, more extreme weather conditions and catastrophic events driven by climate change are likely to affect group cohesion and social interactions, yet the consequences of these changes are poorly understood. My research is addressing this gap by assessing how such events affect the social networks of primates with the aim to further our understanding of the impact climate change will have on group living species.
Isabel has been studying fish populations for 15 years to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes through which species adapt, or fail to adapt, to new and changing environments. Her research integrates environmental data-sets and morphological and genomic data on wild populations. For the past 7 years she has studied populations of three-spined stickleback fish across two continents (North America (Alaska and Canada) and Europe (Scotland, Iceland)) to understand the role of the environment in shaping the adaptation of this species to freshwater habitats across large geographic scales. She is currently focusing on expanding this research to include populations at the species range limit. She has found that stickleback appear to be following the pattern of many other species and migrating north in response to warming waters. Her hope is that understanding the ecology of range margin populations, particularly at the early stages of range expansion, will provide fundamental insights into species tolerance for climatic conditions and for assessing the potential impact of future climate change.
Harry is a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist whose research is focused on how animals’ social behaviour is influenced by changing environmental conditions and how this might make social species more susceptible to the effects of environmental and climatic change. This work has included showing how the ecological conditions an animal experiences in early life affects its survival and reproduction in adulthood, and how extreme climatic events influence social structure and population dynamics.
Andrea Perna is a Senior Lecturer in theoretical biology. His research focuses on understanding how multiple interactions between living organisms drive the self-organisation of ecological communities and ecosystems. He addresses these questions with laboratory experiments on unicellular organisms and by developing mathematical and computational models.
The complex nature of ecological interactions means that even small, gradual changes in the physiology and behaviour of individual organisms -such as those induced by a changing climate- can sometimes trigger rapid and dramatic transitions at the level of the entire ecosystem. Andrea Perna’s research is driven by the conviction that achieving a strong mechanistic understanding of ecosystem self-organisation will make it possible to predict future transitions in natural ecosystems, and hopefully also to prevent them by implementing minimal interventions in interplay with the self-organisation of the ecosystem itself.
Climate change is an inter-generational emergency. I have worked in the Caribbean on the island of Montserrat looking at risk, tourism and regeneration following the loss of landscape by volcano. Recently I developed an AHRC project in Madagascar to work on sustainability and resilience in the Sainte Luce conservation zone. Previously worked as an academic consultant with QinetiQ and the ODI. I have additional interests in Apocalyptic and ruined landscapes, conservation and tourism, existential loss, exclusion zones, and the Dungeness biozone.
Martin Crook, Lecturer in Sociology and International Relations
Martin is a research associate at the Human Rights Consortium at the school of Advanced Study, University of London and an associate editor for the International Journal of Human Rights. He has published a number of papers on the political economy of genocide and ecocide. His research interests include human rights and the environment, the political economy of genocide, ecocide and the political economy of development. More recently, Martin has been researching the impact of market environmentalist approaches to international environmental governance and specifically to climate change mitigation.