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Emma is a Reader and a Geographer with expertise in the geographies and sociologies of education, training and welfare. She is a member of the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies (Welfare, Health and Wellbeing theme) and was Director of the Centre for Human Geography (2012-15). Emma studied Geography at the University of Aberdeen and, after completing her PGCE (Secondary) at the University of Edinburgh and a brief foray into teaching, was awarded a scholarship by the University of St Andrews to undertake her PhD in Social and Historical Geography. Prior to working at Brunel, Emma was a Research Executive in the Social Research Institute at  MORI (now Ipsos MORI).

Emma's broad research interests attend to: education, training and welfare-to-work; housing; family, parenting and care; embodiment, body work and emotional labour. Her work has been funded through grants awarded by the ESRC, the British Academy, Barclays, the Learning and Skills Council, the Money Advice Service, and Brunel University London. Emma is currently a member of the ESRC peer review college (2010-2019), external examiner at the University of Hertfordshire (BA/ BSc Geography) and Cardiff University (MSc Education, Policy and Society and MSc Childhood and Youth), and acts as a regular reviewer for various academic journals. In 2006 Emma was awarded the Newbigin Prize by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for her paper published in the Scottish Geographical Journal. Recent work has been published in Area, Educational Review, British Journal of Sociology of Education and Geoforum. Emma is currently an editor of the British Educational Research Journal.

Emma worked part time (FTE 0.6) from January 2010 to September 2016 with two periods of maternity leave. 


PhD, Geography, University of St Andrews

PGC in Higher Education, Brunel University London

PGC in Secondary Education (Geography and Modern Studies), Moray House, University of Edinburgh

MA (Hons) Geography (1st Class), University of Aberdeen



Senior Tutor

Chair of EC and SEC meetings

Member of Department Management Board

Member of University's British Academy review panel


Editor: British Educational Research Journal

ESRC Peer Review College member (2010-)

External Examiner, MSc Education, Policy and Society and MSc Childhood and Youth, Cardiff University (2018- )

External Examiner, BA/BSc Geography, University of Hertfordshire (2018- )

External Examiner, BA Geography, Newcastle University (2014-2018)

Newest selected publications

Wainwright, E., Marandet, E. and McHugh, E. (2020) 'Spatiality and auto/biographical narratives of encounter in social housing', in Parsons, J. and Chappell, A. (eds.) The Palgrave MacMillan Handbook of Auto/Biography.. Palgrave/MacMillan. pp. 1 - 17.Open Access Link

Book chapter

Wainwright, E., Aldridge, D., Biesta, G. and Filippakou, O. (2020) 'Why educational research should remain mindful of its position: Questions of boundaries, identity and scale.'. British Educational Research Journal, 46 (1). ISSN: 0141-1926 Open Access Link

Journal article

Barker, J. and Wainwright, E. (2020) 'Geography matters: Spatiality, geography and auto/biography', in Parsons, J. and Chappell, A. (eds.) The Palgrave MacMillan Handbook of Auto/Biography. Palgrave MacMillan.Open Access Link

Book chapter

Norris, M. and Wainwright, E. (2020) 'Learning professional touch: an exploration of pre-registration Physiotherapy students’ experiences'. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: an international journal of physical therapy. pp. 1 - 11. ISSN: 0959-3985 Open Access Link

Journal article

Wainwright, E., Chappell, A. and McHugh, E. (2019) 'Widening participation and a student ‘success’ assemblage: the materialities and mobilities of university'. Population, Space and Place, 2019 (e2291). ISSN: 1544-8444 Open Access Link

Journal article
More publications(40)