Thesis Title: Becoming Therapeutic With Community Farm Animals
Primary Supervisor: Dr Chris Bear
Secondary Supervisor: Dr Geoff DeVerteuil
Reviewer: Dr Mara Miele
Starting Date: October 2013
Funding Source: ESRC Studentship and Cardiff University President’s Scholarship
- BSc (Hons) Sustainable Development, First Class, University of Wales, Bangor (2010)
Membership / External Activities
- Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (since 2013)
- Member of the National Union of Students Sustainability Direction and Oversight Board (since 2013)
Grants and Prizes
- 'Runner up Award for Best Presentation' at the 17th Emerging New Researchers in the Geographies of Health and Impairment conference, Portsmouth, June 2014.
- Sustainable Gwynedd Gynaladwy Prize for Best Dissertation, 2010.
Areas of Research Interests
- Community Supported Agriculture
- Care Farming
- Therapeutic Landscape Geographies
- Animal Geographies
- Assemblage Theory
- More-Than-Human Methodologies
My research examines local and alternative food networks – particularly Community SupportedAgriculture (CSA) farms and projects; more specifically, I’m interested in CSAs that include animals. There’s been a great deal of research on CSA and related models of alternative agriculture, but very little attention has been paid as to how animals fit into such systems. Horticultural forms of CSA have dominated research despite a growing number of projects in the UK farming and keeping animals simultaneously to vegetable cultivation.
My research seeks to explore why CSAs include (or don’t include) animals as part of their farming practices; the benefits and difficulties of integrating animal farming into CSA and other similar local and community-scale food systems. My research aims to support and grow the uptake and success of small-scale animal farming, as well as contributing to an understanding of the diverse ways in which people are growing and sourcing their food. Whilst also investigating human-animal relationships, and the diverse and multiple ways in which we relate and respond to non-human life in contemporary society, simultaneously capitalising on and caring for the more-than-human world.
I’m also interested in the voluntary aspect of CSA, and in exploring how CSA can facilitate positive wellbeing for people through an active involvement on the farm and engagement with farm animals, particularly through the active integration of a ‘Care Farming’ element to the project. As with my interests in CSA, I’m specifically curious about the uses of animals within structured care farming practices, and how animal life can help create a space of positive health and wellbeing for vulnerable people.
To investigate these links between CSA systems, animal actors, and experiences of health, I’ve been mobilising the geographic concept of the ‘Therapeutic Landscape’ combined with a Deleuzian ‘assemblage’ theoretical ontology as a way to critically understand how experiences of health can form and disperse through the gathering and reorganisation of heterogeneous actants and relations. I draw upon animal geographies literature in order to explore how human-animal relations can be crucial to co-producing these therapeutic experiences, and also question, for whom are these landscapes ‘therapeutic’ or ‘caring’– human, non-human, or multi-species.
“Therapeutic Landscapes and Non-Humans - Co-Creating Experiences and Perceptions of Health” – Presented at 17th Emerging New Researchers in the Geographies of Health and Impairment conference, Portsmouth, June 2014.
“De-centering the Human - Therapeutic Landscapes & Community Animal Farming” – Presented at Welsh Human GeographyPostgraduate Conference, Gregynog, March 2014.
“Food with an Animal’s Face on it - Animals and Community Supported Agriculture Farms” – Presented at Cardiff Postgraduate Food Research Conference, February 2014.
Co-convenor of Spotlight on Social Sciences interdisciplinary conference at Cardiff University, April 2014.