Dr Laura Pottinger

Simon Research Fellow, Research Associate

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I am a cultural geographer interested in everyday forms of social and environmental activism. My research draws on participatory and ethnographic methodologies, and focuses on practices of making, cultivation and consumption; sharing economies; and young people’s politics. I completed my PhD in Human Geography at the University of Manchester in 2015, which looked at seed saving and exchange in the UK. The project followed seeds and plants as they were cultivated, swapped and shared amongst allotment holders and gardeners, examining the embodied, emotional and affective dimensions of growers’ practice.

I am currently a Simon Early Career Research Fellow in Geography. My project, Making Slow Colour focuses on the practice of natural textile dyeing, investigating the relationship between slow, creative practice and environmental care. Working with textiles practitioners, it examines the diverse modes of collaboration taking place in slow processes of colouration, and the novel environmental sensitivities that may be developed by creating colour with plants and living materials. Carried out on a part-time basis over six years, it also explores the potentials and challenges of slow making and alternative temporalities in academic scholarship.

I am also Co-I on Methods for Change (Aspect, UKRI), which highlights the value of social sciences methodologies beyond academia. This project aims to create a platform to showcase innovative research methods that facilitate social transformation, and to demonstrate the benefits social sciences research can bring across a range of sectors.

I have worked as a Research Associate on a number of projects, including:

Working-Class Youth Voice and Inter-generational Justice in Manchester’s Devolution (ESRC IAA), exploring youth politics in the context of devolution in Greater Manchester with youth leadership charity, RECLAIM.

Unpacking the personal and political potential of cookery classes in low-income communities (N8 Agrifood Partnership), a project unpacking the impacts and potential of social cooking for those from low-income backgrounds, partnered with Cracking Good Food, Manchester.

Gender, Race, Disability and Austerity (Barrow Cadbury Foundation), combining qualitative and quantitative research to provide a comprehensive assessment of the distributional impact and lived experience of austerity policies on BAME women since 2010, with the Women's Budget Group and Runneymede.

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