Susan Buckingham

Professor Susan Buckingham

Professor - Social Work

Room: Mary Seacole 201D
Brunel University London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1895 266090
Fax: +44 (0)1895 269736

About Susan

Academic qualifications

BA (Portsmouth), MSc (London)


I am a feminist geographer whose main focus is on gender and environmental issues. I see my teaching, research, and activist work as interlinked through a commitment to environmental and social justice, and have been able to develop this through working with universities, government institutions and NGOs in Europe, the USA, Pakistan, and internationally.

Current news

Drawing on my expertise in gender and environmental issues, I am convening the working group on Gender, Energy & Climate Change for the European Union COST initiative, running from 2012 - 2016. This Targeted Network aims to advance the state of the art in knowledge and policy implementation on gender, science, technology and engineering through creating a network of policy-makers and experts on these disciplines.

Specifically, 'genderSTE' will enhance the implementation of gender-focused policy measures for structural change in science and technology institutions, and integration of sex and gender dimensions in the content of science and technology. 'genderSTE' will also work towards enhancing knowledge and resources regarding the sex and gender dimensions of technological development and innovation processes, with specific attention to the Grand Challenges identified in Horizon 2020 and the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe.

The project is scoping research into gender, energy and climate change, and identifying research gaps, to enable us to develop research proposals and disseminate research across the EU. 




Other responsibilities

With Professor Ruth Simpson, I initiated development workshops for early and mid career women academics. I mentor women staff.

Teaching responsibilities

I believe that we all learn best when we are active learners and able to apply what we are learning. I also believe that we are privileged to teach and learn in a university setting, and that we have a responsibility to share our resources with others less privileged. Inspired by the writings of educators bell hooks and Paulo Freire and historian Howard Zinn, this has led me to develop modules in which students work with organisations supporting disadvantaged people and communities. By doing so, students not only share some of the resources and social and intellectual capital they are developing in higher education, but also learn from applying these resources, and from those they work with. Evaluating this practice over the 15 years I have run these modules suggests that undertaking applied work in the not-for-profit sector makes a considerable difference to students' commitment to study, and subsequent career choices and opportunties. Concurrently, the groups with which they work appear to value the input students have into their work. I was one of the initiators of 'Brunel Skills for Society', with the intention that it could help to broker the skills of Brunel students with needs in the local community. Within programmes I have taught, I have initiated an 'applied learning' module in which students are supported through seminars on issues such as citizenship, equality and the role of activism in the academy, to work with organisations supporting, for example, refugees and asylum seekers; cared for children; mobility impaired people; and environmental improvements.

Current teaching:

MA Children, Youth & International Development

Applied research in children, youth and international development (module leader on two module options, one 15 credits in which students work for 10 days in an organisation; one 30 credit module where the placement is 20 days. Participating organisations have included: Action Aid; Body & Soul; National Deaf Children's Society; Oxfam; Project Hope; The Mouth That Roars.

Research Methods I teach a session on 'Action Research-Activist Research'

Dissertation I supervise dissertations, particularly on issues concerning gender, women and girls, and community activism.

MSc Environmental Management and Legislation

I run a session on 'Gender and Waste' 

MA Social Work

I run a session on environmental justice, supported by references co-written with social workers.  

'Social Work and Sustainable Development' for Elsevier's International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition (IESBS2). Publication date anticipated 2015, with Victoria Jupp Kina


'What has sustainability got to do with social work?' in 'In Focus' Issue 06, 2010, with Sweta Rajan Rankin


PhD supervision

Currently supervising:

Jose Benedicto Royuela on 'Participative foresight scenario mapping: adapting an MCM method to appraise foresight scenarios for the long term sustainable development of a small island' (submitted Jan 2014)

Yusi Cheng on 'Examining the transformative role of music education in developing students' understandings of sustaianable development' (submitting summer 2014)


Dr Virginie Le Masson (2013) Exploring disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation from a gender perspective. Insights from Ladakh, India

Dr Rakibe Kulcur (2013) Environmental injustice? An analysis of gender in environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) in the United Kingdom and Turkey

Dr Elodie Marandet (2013) (2nd supervisor) Governing through freedom, ruling at a distance: neoliberal governmentality and the new aid architecture in the AIDS response in Malawi

Dr John Barker (2006) (2nd supervisor) 'Are we there yet?': Exploring aspects of automobility in children's lives

Dr Theresa Aldridge (2005) Local Economic Trading Systems

Dr Kate Theobald (1999) (2nd supervisor) Local environmental policy and local government restructuring in Britain: The tensions between compulsory competitive tendering and local agenda 21  




Research interests

  • Gender and environment (gendered environmental justice; the gendering of environmental decision making; gender and climate change; gender and waste). On this I have advised UNEP/UNED, the EU Framework programme and universities in Pakistan (British Council). I am currently advising the Horizon 2020 programme on gender equality in research. I have undertaken work on gender mainstreaming for the EU (DG Environment) and am currently convening the working group on gender, energy and climate change for EU COST Action 'genderSTE'). 
  • Women's work and training. Through research funded by the European Social Fund and the Learning and Skills Council, Fiona Smith, Emma Wainwright and I have explored how women with low educational attainment, and child care responsibilities, have experienced training for paid work.
  • Embodied research methodologies (particularly with reference to the use of yoga in research with abused and marginalised women). With Dr Monica Degen (Sociology) I have been working with a women's support centre in East London developing understandings of how embodied practices (yoga) can enhance the research process.
  • Community gardening (particularly as it is used by marginalized women).
  • In my own research practice, and, pedagogically, I try to engage in participatory, engaged and activist research. I have been a trustee for the Women's Environmental Network and am currently a trustee of a support centre for vulnerable women.

Research centres

Research projects and grants

European Union COST Action 'genderSTE' I am convenor of working group 3iii: gender, energy and climate change



Membership and affiliation

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

Professional activities or recognition

  • External Examining (Geography/Environment programmes at Staffordshire;Sheffield Hallam; Bradford)
  • PhD examining: UCL; Kings; Derby; Northumbria; Addis Abbaba; KTH Stockholm 
  • Consultancy on gender equality with EU: Horizon 2020 (March 2014); UNEP/UNDP (2012); Royal Town Planning Institute


  • Engendering Cities: Designing sustainable and inclusive urban environments (GenderSTE/Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Rome, September 2014) Conference co-convenor 
  • Exploring climate change through gender equity and equality (RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, August 2014) Session convenor
  • Gender, Energy and Climate Change (session convenor) Science for the Environment Conference (Aarhus, October 2013)
  • Embodied methodologies: using the body as a research instrument (AAG Conference, Washington DC, April 2010, with Monica Degen
  • International Sociological Association RC21: Sociology of Urban and Regional Development, Sao Paulo, with Monica Degen)
  • Bread and Roses: the challenges and contradictions of sustainable consumption (RGS-IBG conference session 2007, with Prof Gordon Walker)
  • Women, Work-Life Balance and Quality of Life (RGS-IBG conference session 2007, with Elodie Marandet, Fiona Smith, Emma Wainwright)
  • Agenda 21: Retrospect & Prospect. (RGS-IBG Conference, Belfast Jan 2002, with Gordon Walker)
  • The Economic, Social and Planning Reconstructon of Declining and Destroyed Areas in Europe. (9th PERG International Conference, Thessaloniki, 3rd-6th September 2001)
  • Local Sustainabilities (AAG Conference, New York, 2001, with Bob Evans)
  • The Public and the Environment: Citizens, Sustainability and Science. RGS/IBG, 14th April 1999.
  • Local Economic Restructuring - Social and Environmental Impacts' Brunel University London, June 1999 (with Alan Patterson)
  • The Politics of Environmental Action - RGS/IBG Research and Higher Education Division annual conference, University of Surrey January 1998 (with Alan Patterson)

Other external activities

2000-2012 Regular panelist on BBC Radio4 'Home Planet'

2000-2009 Trustee for Women's Environmental Network

2011-ongoing Trustee for U Turn Women's Project

2000 - member of the QAA Geography Benchmarking panel


Journal Papers

(2012)  Buckingham, S.  and Degen, M. , Sensing our way: Using yoga as a research method, The Senses and Society 7 (3)  : 329- 344

(2012)  Krueger, R.  and Buckingham, S. , Toward a ‘Consensual’ Urban Politics? Creative Planning, Urban Sustainability and Regional Development, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36 (3)  : 486- 503

(2011)  Smith, F. , Wainwright, E. , Buckingham, S.  and Marandet, E. , Women, work-life balance and quality of life: case studies from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, Gender, Place and Culture 18 603- 610

(2011)  Wainwright, E. , Marandet, E. , Buckingham, S.  and Smith, F. , The training-to-work trajectory: pressures for and subversions to participation in the neoliberal learning market in the UK, Gender, Place and Culture 18 (5)  : 635- 654

(2010)  Buckingham, SJ. , Call in the Women, Nature 468 502- 502

(2010)  Wainwright, E. , Buckingham, S. , Marandet, E.  and Smith, F. , 'Body training': Investigating the embodied training choices of/for mothers in West London, Geoforum 41 (3)  : 489- 497

(2009)  Buckingham, S.  and Kulcur, R. , Gendered geographies of environmental injustice, Antipode 41 (4)  : 659- 683 Download publication

(2009)  Krueger, R.  and Buckingham, S. , Creative city scripts, economic development, and sustainability, Geographical Review 99 (1)  : iii- xii Download publication

(2008)  Smith, F. , Barker, J. , Wainwright, E. , Marandet, E.  and Buckingham, S. , A new deal for lone parents? Training lone parents for work in West London, Area 40 (2)  : 237- 244

(2006)  Buckingham, S. , Marandet, E. , Smith, F. , Wainwright, E.  and Diosi, M. , The liminality of training spaces: places ofprivate/public transitions, Geoforum 37 (6)  : 895- 905 Download publication

(2005)  Buckingham, S. , Reeves, D.  and Batchelor, A. , Wasting women: the environmental justice of including women in municipal waste management, Local Environment 10 (4)  : 427- 444

(2005)  Buckingham, S. , Women (re)construct the plot: the regen(d)eration of urban food growing, Area 37 (2)  : 171- 179

(2004)  Buckingham, S. , Ecofeminism in the twenty-first century, The Geographical Journal 170 (2)  Download publication

Book Chapters

(2013)  Buckingham, S. , Gender, sustainability and the urban environment. In: Sánchez de Madariaga, I.  and Roberts, M.  eds. Fair Shared Cities: The impact of gender planning in Europe. Ashgate 21- 32

(2010)  Buckingham, SJ.  and Kulcur, R. , Gendered Geographies of Environmental Justice. In: Holifield, R. , Porter, M.  and Walker, G.  eds. Spaces of Environmental Justice. Wiley-Blackwell 70- 94

(2008)  Buckingham, S.  and Collins, PEF. , Food. In: Buckingham, S.  and Turner, M.  eds. Understanding Environmental Issues. SAGE Publications Ltd 121-

(2007)  Buckingham, S. , Micro-geographies and micro-ruptures: the politics of gender in the theory and practice of sustainability. In: Krueger, JR.  and Gibbs, D.  eds. The sustainable development paradox: urban political economy in the United States and Europe. New York : Guilford Press 66- 94


(2008)  Buckingham, S.  and Turner, M. , Understanding Environmental Issues. Sage Publications Ltd

(2006)  Buckingham, S.  and Lievesley, G. , In the hands of women. Manchester Univ Pr

(2003)  Buckingham, S.  and Theobald, K. , Local environmental sustainability. Woodhead Publishing

Page last updated: Tuesday 25 November 2014