Dr Matt Watson

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

Matt Watson

Room number: F9
Telephone (internal): 27911
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7911
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7911
Email: M.Watson@Sheffield.ac.uk

I gained my PhD from Lancaster University and spent a number of years as a postdoctoral researcher at Lancaster University and the University of Durham, before joining the department in 2007. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2013.

Research Interests

My work is concerned with understanding social change in relation to sustainability, through a focus on everyday life and the socio-technical systems that shape it. My research engages with geographical and sociological theories of practice, materiality and everyday life, as well as with science and technology studies, and literature on the structures and processes of governing. Research and writing has covered issues relating to biodiversity, waste, food, mobility and energy.

Current Research

My work is concerned with understanding social change in relation to sustainability, through a focus on everyday life and the socio-technical systems that shape it. My research engages with geographical and sociological theories of practice, materiality and everyday life, as well as with science and technology studies, and literature on the structures and processes of governing. Research and writing has covered issues relating to biodiversity, waste, food, mobility and energy.

Current funded research takes this programme forward through two projects:

Reshaping the domestic nexus

This is a project bringing together academics from leading research groups with policy partners in DECC, DEFRA, FSA and Waterwise. The researchers are from research groups which have been at the forefront of new ways of understanding how householders’ routine activities end up demanding resources, including of energy, food and water. This project’s purpose is to make that understanding useful for informing actual policy processes with our policy partners.

The project is funded by the ESRC Nexus Network: http://www.thenexusnetwork.org. You can find out more on the project's website: https://nexusathome.wordpress.com.

DEMAND: Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand

The Demand centre sets out to advance understanding of the processes and dynamics through which energy demand is constituted, and identify the opportunities for tackling it. The centre is a collaboration across of 9 academic institutions, led by Lancaster University, with non-academic partners including the European Centre and Laboratories for Energy Efficiency Research, the International Energy Agency and Transport for London. It has funding from the Research Councils UK Energy Programme for 5 years from summer 2013. I am co-investigator in the centre, and leading the University of Sheffield’s contribution to it.

Teaching

In keeping with the research-led teaching strategy of the University and of the Department of Geography, my teaching is closely aligned with my research. In much of my teaching, the topics, concepts and knowledge which I help students learn about are related to my own research on themes of sustainability, governing, technologies and consumption. Through modules like Environment, Society and Policy or Geographies of Consumption, a key aim is to engage students critically with big geographical themes, like climate change, food security, well being and social justice, and with contemporary ways of thinking about them, by reflecting upon their own lives as members of the society which produces and responds to these issues.

In 2016/17 I am teaching:

Level 2

  • GEO246 Environment, Society and Politics (convenor)

Level 3

  • GEO384 Critical Ecologies
  • GEO387 Geographies of Consumption (convenor)

Postgraduate

  • GEO6303 Food Security and Food Justice Dissertation with Placement (convenor)
  • GEO6804 International Development Field Class

Like all academic staff in the department, I also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual undergraduate students at all three levels, including through the following modules:

  • GEO163 Information & Communication Skills for Geographers
  • GEO264 Research Design in Human Geography
  • GEO302 Extended Essay
  • GEO356 Geographical Research Project
  • GEO6805 International Development Dissertation with Placement

Key Publications

Please see 'Publications List' page for more publications.

  • Shove, E, M. Watson, N. Spurling (2015) ‘Conceptualising connections: energy demand, infrastructures and social practices’ accepted January 2015 for special issue on Climate Change and Social Theory, of the European Journal of Social Theory 18 (3).
    http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/85359
    doi: 10.1177/1368431015579964
  • Watson M and A Meah (2013) ‘Food and waste: negotiating conflicting social anxieties into the practices of provisioning’, in Evans, D, Murcott, A and Campbell, H (eds) Waste Matters: New Perspectives of Food and Society, Sociological Review Monograph, Wiley-Blackwell 60 (S2) 102-120.
    doi:10.1111/1467-954X.12040
  • Watson, M. (2012). How theories of practice can inform transition to a decarbonised transport system. Journal of Transport Geography, 24, 488-496.
    http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/74552/
    doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.04.002
  • Shove, E., Pantzar, M. and Watson, M. (2012). The Dynamics of Social Practice. Sage, London. ISBN 978-1857020427
    www.sagepub.com/books/Book235021

Other Information

I have provided peer review and served in reporting and advisory roles for national and international research councils including the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the UK Research Councils’ Energy Programme, Research Council of Norway, Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences, the Leverhulme Trust and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. From 2016 I am a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, and I am a registered expert with the European Commission.

Current and recent advisory and working group roles include:

  • Working Group member Institutional Rhythms and Energy Demand, engaging with researchers and National Health Service professionals, 2016-17
  • Expert Advisory Panel member for Systemic Participation and Decision-making in Energy Transitions a project funded by UKERC based at UEA, 2015-17
  • Advisory Panel member for AHRC project (£850k) Intergenerational Justice, Consumption and Sustainability in Comparative Perspective, PI Prof Gill Valentine, 2014-16
     
    I have been a PhD external examiner for Aalborg University (Denmark), Copenhagen University (Denmark), Aalto University (Finland) and RMIT (Australia) as well as Manchester and Lancaster Universities in the UK.
     
    I have been an invited peer reviewer for over 30 scholarly journals and reviewed manuscripts and proposals for publishers including Sage, Routledge and Polity
     
    Within the department I am currently Director of Masters Programmes and Principal Ethics Contact, and serve on Postgraduate Taught Committee (aschair), Teaching and Learning Committee, Research Committee and Departmental Exec.