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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Mary Gearey is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography within the School of Environment and Technology. She has over twenty years’ research experience in water resources management and governance, gained through interdisciplinary practice throughout the EU and sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Gearey undertakes empirical qualitative fieldwork to explore the corresponding relationships between practices of community resilience and water resources policy, planning and management in the context of Sustainable Futures.  Her work is inter-disciplinary, orientated around emerging modes of governance within natural resources management informed by her background in International Development. 

Dr Gearey’s research has been funded through NERC, the European Union, the Daphne Jackson Trust, the Landscape Research Group and the Royal Academy of Engineers amongst others.

Dr Gearey’s current research project is WetlandLIFE (www.wetlandlife.org) part of the Valuing Nature Programme. She is a management board member of the Centre for Aquatic environments https://www.brighton.ac.uk/aquatic/index.aspx

Approach to teaching

My commitment to Sustainable Futures scholarship and dialogue means that I am constantly reworking, refining my understanding and exposing myself to new ideas and approaches. I apply this same approach to my teaching – encouraging students to challenge themselves in their learning. I have committed years of my life to my development work in the field and to academic study – which has involved sacrifice and hard work. I hope to share with our students the potential they have to make a significant contribution to the world around them and to communicate that through the academic training we give them we help them develop the skills and the confidence to enable them to pursue their life’s ambitions.

Research interests

My research interests lie in seeking to bridge the disjuncture between climate change science, water resources management practice and local articulations and experiences of changing water environments. My work is critically engaged with understanding how developed economies organize and manage their freshwater resources with regards to transitioning towards sustainable futures in the context of climate change. At heart my research explores why climate change narratives are still failing to resonate with most citizens, and are still not embedded within organisational praxis, and seeks to determine what approaches may close these gaps in order to support transitions towards sustainable futures. Inherent to this line of questioning are explorations of emergent forms of citizenship, discourses of governance and the links between landscape, taskscape and community within the late capitalist era. I draw on the work of Karen Bakker, Noel Castree, Eric Swyngedouw, Neil Adger and Tim Ingold to undertake empirical qualitative fieldwork which interrogates the political, cultural and physical intersections which co-create our sense of place, and our intimate, immediate relationship with our water environments

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research students in the following areas: community led water resource governance; sustainable water futures; elder environmental activism; nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation, degrowth theory in relation to environmental citizenship.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Cranfield University

Master, SOAS University of London

Bachelor, University of Leeds

External positions

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Royal Geographical Society

1 Oct 2019 → …

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Research Output

Disruptive Elders: Enacting Heterotopias of the Riverbank

Gearey, M., 19 Feb 2020, Heterotopia and Globalisation in the Twenty-First Century. Ferdinand, S., Souch, I. & Wesselman, D. (eds.). 1st ed. London: Routledge

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

  • English wetlands: spaces of nature, culture, imagination

    Gearey, M., Church, A. & Ravenscroft, N., 11 Jun 2020, 1 ed. Palgrave Macmillan. 174 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

  • English wetlands, COVID 19 and more

    Gearey, M., 4 Jun 2020

    Research output: Non-textual outputDigital or Visual Products

    Open Access
  • The Challenges of Changing Governance: Curating New Civic Identities for Health and Wellbeing

    Gearey, M., 10 Aug 2020, Naturally Challenged: Contested Perceptions and Practices in Urban Green Spaces. Dempsey, N. & Dobson, J. (eds.). 1 ed. Switzerland: Springer International, Vol. 1. (Cities and Nature).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

  • Chronos and Kairos: Time, water, memory and the wayfaring riverbank

    Gearey, M., 3 Feb 2019, (Accepted/In press) Monsoon [+other] Waters. Bremner, L. (ed.). London: University of Westminster, p. 155-163

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

  • Activities

    • 8 Invited talk
    • 5 Publication Peer-review
    • 1 Oral presentation

    English wetlands, COVID 19 and more

    Mary Gearey (Presenter)

    4 Jun 2020

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    Antipode (Journal)

    Mary Gearey (Reviewer)

    25 Aug 201924 Sep 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    Routledge; Taylor & Francis (Publisher)

    Mary Gearey (Reviewer)

    1 Aug 201930 Aug 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication Peer-review

    An introduction to the WetlandLIFE project

    Mary Gearey (Presenter)

    19 Dec 2018

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk