My research and teaching focuses on issues surrounding food, farming and the countryside.
I am particularly interested in the production of different knowledges associated with farming and rural living, in the implications of technological interventions in agriculture, in human-nonhuman relationships in rural spaces, and in 'alternative' ways of living in the countryside and of producing and distributing food.
I am currently a Co-Principal Investigator on the Wellcome-Trust funded FIELD (Farm-level Interdisciplinary Approaches to Endemic Livestock Disease) project. FIELD is run by a group of researchers from six UK universities, all interested in the challenges posed to livestock health, welfare and productivity by endemic diseases. The project focuses on Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and lameness as two contrasting examples of endemic diseases. Endemic diseases are common but difficult to eradicate, and they have an impact on animal health and productivity. We will consider how responses to these diseases have changed over time, and what their impacts are for animals and farm businesses. We will ask if they can be better managed, and if so how. We want to identify ‘best bet’ interventions to help reduce the incidence of these disease and their costs to UK farming. The research includes investigating the history of these diseases to see what we can learn from the past. It involves working with present day farmers and vets, to find out what problems these diseases cause on farms and how farmers and vets deal with those problems: we want to consider different approaches taken by different farmers and vets on specific farms. The project also involves creating economic and epidemiological models which aim to identify how transmissible diseases like BVD move between animals and farms, helping us to identify areas of risk in farming systems. Our project website is available at https://field-wt.co.uk/