Ollie Chesworth

School of Geography and Planning

PHD Candidate

Ollie Chesworth- PHD student
Profile picture of Ollie Chesworth- PHD student

Full contact details

Ollie Chesworth
School of Geography and Planning
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

Ollie Joined the Department as an Undergraduate Student in 2017 to complete a BA in Human Geography. After this he completed his MA in Social research in 2021 before returning to the Department of Geography in 2022 to begin his PhD studies. Alongside this, Ollie has a wide ranging experience working in the food industry. This includes time as a Chef, working with local social eating spaces such as Sheffield Foodhall, and at the Malcom X centre in Bristol.

The title of Ollie's thesis is 'Interrogating the nature of foodscapes and alternative food-economies through alternative beyond-profit food sites.'

This research will consider how alternative food spaces (AFS), such as community kitchens and food partnerships, contribute to local foodscapes for communities where access to healthy and affordable food is limited. Foodscapes are defined as “a marriage between food and land-scape, both the conceptual notion of landscape and actual, physical landscapes." Research on food insecurity in economically wealthy nations has increased over the last several years. Not only has this research highlighted the depth of the problem, but local foodscapes have been identified as key sites where people encounter and overcome barriers to food security, including barriers extending beyond affordability, such as local availability and the ability to utilise and know foods. Whilst some research examines approaches to addressing food insecurity that move beyond emergency food support, the focus on individual organisations leaves a gap within the literature regarding how AFS intersect with their foodscapes more widely to tackle long-term food insecurity. Addressing this gap will enable policy makers, community-based food alliances and third sector organisations to understand the contributions of such interventions to the wellbeing of communities struggling with inequalities linked to age, income and social background. This project contributes to the 2021 National Food Strategy agenda by providing evidence that can inform the call for local food strategies that are a key recommendation.

To uncover key practices in AFS, this study will use food-based methods which combine interview and observational methods with visual data collection of participant practices and interactions in AFS. This will reveal which practices underpin AFS through participants’ actions and interactions with each other and non-human actors by understanding their doings and sayings, drawing out critical meanings. In-depth interviews will be used to understand reasoning behind my participants’ actions alongside creative methods such as photo-diaries to further reveal practices in AFS.

This project intends to understand how practices of gifting and reciprocity rather than consumption and exchange separate the economies of AFS and traditional foodscapes alongside notions of stewardship. By interrogating everyday values that underpin mainstream capitalist economies, this project will question how these may be differently enacted in AFS. Guided shopping trips, intercept surveys and participatory mapping will be employed to understand how people interact and engage with the mainstream elements of foodscapes. This allows the investigation of how AFS are incorporated into participants' foodscapes, contrasted to mainstream foodscapes. Additionally, these will draw out insider and outsider perspectives of these foodscapes, revealing the wider differences and impacts of AFS.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and facing a cost-of-living crisis, grasping alternative foodscapes has become more important to aid those left isolated by the pandemic’s effects (The Trussell Trust, 2021).

Primary Supervisor: Dr Megan Blake, Secondary Supervisor: Prof Richard Phillips, Tertiary Supervisor: Dr Rowan Jaines


2017-2020: BA Geography, The University of Sheffield

2020-2021: MA Social Research, The University of Sheffield

Teaching activities

GEO114 Exploring Human Geography (GTA 2022-2023)

GEO3100 Employing Geography Skills in Sustainability and Social Justice (GTA 2022-2023)

Professional activities and memberships

Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures Scholar