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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a researcher, writer and lecturer based at the University of Brighton, UK. I undertake research that explores the power of human connections to the rest of nature, including human-animal relations, focusing on experiences of mental health, wellbeing, belonging, identity, reciprocity and much more besides. For me, distress as the natural world degrades is an important dimension of connection to nature, so another aspect of my research looks closely at how we respond to our ongoing ecological and climate crisis, addressing a wide range of responses including anxiety, grief, denial and defence mechanisms, anger, activism and resilience. My books Anthropocene Psychology: Being Human in a More-Than-Human World (2020) and Ecological Crisis, Sustainability & the Psychosocial Subject: Beyond Behaviour Change (2016) are good examples of my approach to these topics. I am especially interested in developments in interdisciplinary developments in the posthumanities, multispecies, more-than-human and animal studies. As well as books I write journal articles, give public lectures and presentations, produce research summaries and commentary for platforms such as the Conversation, and give media interviews. I often work collaboratively with community groups and academic colleagues exploring these and related issues.

Supervisory Interests

I supervise PhD students addressing a range of topics including ecology, nature-connection, nature-based interventions, climate change and human-animal relations. I am especially interested in supervising students adopting qualitative methodological and critical theoretical approaches. Interdisciplinary projects are especially welcome. 

Approach to teaching

My specialist teaching areas are human-animal relations, ecopsychology, environment and ennvironmentalism, climate crisis and the Anthropocene. I like to find ways to teach subjects in ways that have direct personal relevance and make lots of links between topics and familiar experiences, everyday life, popular culture, art and literature. I like to bring different media (art, film, advertising) to illustrate ideas and concepts.

I think that good teaching involves more than the transfer of knowledge from active expert (lecturer) to passive recipient (lecturer). It also encompasses helping students to develop the capacity to look at the familiar and taken-for-granted in new ways - to gain confidence in using academic tools to do so - the research skills, concepts, forms of argumentation and expression.

I do not adhere to the idea that there are strict boundaries between my main teaching subject - psychology -and related subjects such as philosophy, sociology, biology and ecology. I draw on work from these disciplines as well as classic and contemporary work to make sense of core psychology curriculum topics with students.

As an active academic and research psychologist, I am fortunate to be able to find many opportunities to bring my own research into teaching. In both 2014 and 2017 I received a University of Brighton Award for Excellence in Facilitating Learning, after being nominated by undergraduate psychology students.

Keywords

  • BF Psychology
  • Critical psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Cultural psychology
  • Human-animal relations
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Psychosocial studies
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • HM Sociology
  • Psychosocial studies
  • Climate change
  • Ecology
  • Anthropocene
  • HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
  • speciesism
  • human-animal relations
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene
  • GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
  • Anthropogenic
  • Anthropocene
  • Climate change
  • GN Anthropology
  • human-animal relations
  • Climate change
  • Anthropocene

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