Dr Catherine Walker

Research Associate

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I am an interdisciplinary social scientist with interests in environment, childhood, family life, negotiations of environmental knowledge, environmental/sustainability education, nexus thinking, and cross-national research, particularly between Global North and South contexts.

I joined the University of Manchester in Feburary 2018 as a Research Associate in the Sustainable Consumption Institute and the Sociology Department.  


I gained my PhD in Sociology from UCL Institute of Education in March 2016. My thesis considered children's (aged 11-14) experiences, understandings and practices of environment in India and England. This PhD was linked to the ESRC-funded project 'Family Lives and the Environment' (FLE) and part of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods node 'Narratives of Varied Everyday Lives and Linked Approaches' (NOVELLA). My PhD was supervised by Professor Ann Phoenix (UCL Institute of Education; Principal Investigator on NOVELLA and Co-Investigator on FLE) and Professor Janet Boddy (University of Sussex; Principal Investigator on FLE). Along with Ann, Janet and Professor Uma Vennam (SPMV Women's University, Tirupathi, India) I am a co-author of a book based on the Family Lives and the Environment project, entitled 'Environment in the Lives of Children and Families'.

From October 2016 - August 2017 I was based in the Geography department at Leicester University, where I worked as a post-doctoral researcher on the cross-institutional ESRC/Newton-funded project '(Re)Connect the Nexus: Young Brazilians' learning about and participation in the food-water-energy nexus' under the supervision of Dr Ben Coles, Co-Investigator on (Re)Connect the Nexus. Within this project, I had responsibility for interviewing key stakeholders in Brazil whose work in industry, governance, education or campaigning relates to food, water and/or energy and young people.  In September 2017 I became an Honorary Research Fellow of the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, Leicester University. 

In August 2017 I was elected Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group.

Since joining SCI in February 2018 I have been working with Dr Tally Katz-Gerro and Dr Sherilyn MacGregor to develop a research agenda on the intersecting axes of social different that shape individuals’ engagement with environmental governance, particularly governance aimed at making household practices more sustainable. As part of this work, we organised a one–day workshop in May 2018 entitled Household Sustainability and Social Inequalities, attended by participants from eight UK universities, we have carried out pioneering research on migrant understandings of sustainability with Somali residents of Manchester, and I have contributed to two major research proposals that build on this research.



Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Secretary, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (2017-2020).

Member of European Sociological Association Biannual Conference 2019 Local Organising Committee.

Areas of expertise

  • HM Sociology - Geographies of Children and Youth, Sociology of Childhood, Environmental Sociology, Environmental Education, Cross-National Methods, Narrative Analysis, Nexus Thinking

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2016 - Doctor of Philosophy University College London (UCL) (2011 - 2016)
  • 2010 - Master of Social Science School of Advanced Study, University of London (2008 - 2010)
  • 2007 - Bachelor of Arts, Hispanic Studies, The University of Nottingham (2003 - 2007)

Related information


Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etc

Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

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