The Sustainable Practices Research Group is a committed group of researchers, from eight universities, working across 7 projects and 4 fellowships. The SPRG can be contacted by writing to SPRG, School of Social Science, Arthur Lewis Building (3rd floor), The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, by telephoning 0161 275 4485 or by sending an email to For more information regarding specific SPRG members, click on their name to follow the link to their homepage.

Management Group

  • Dale Southerton ImageDale SouthertonDirector

    • Dale is the Director of SPRG and co-investigator of two SPRG projects: ‘Changing Eating Habits’ and ‘Theoretical and Conceptual Integration’. He is the Director of the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI), SCI Professorial Research Fellow and Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester. He has published extensively in the fields of consumption and consumer culture, time use, material culture, sustainability, and is editor of the Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture (Sage, 2011). His principal areas of research interest are: consumption; sustainability; theories of practice and social change; innovation and material culture; time-use; and comparative analysis.

  • Andrew McMeekin ImageAndrew McMeekinDeputy Director

    • Andrew is the Deputy Director of the SPRG and Principal Investigator of the SPRG project ‘Theoretical and conceptual integration’. He is the Research Director and SCI Professorial Fellow at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI), The University of Manchester, where he is the Innovation theme lead. He is Professor of Innovation at Manchester Business School,  and leads research on innovation and sustainability in the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research. His research interests include eco-innovation; consumption and demand; sustainability; and the changing role of the State.

  • Elizabeth Shove ImageElizabeth Shove

    • Elizabeth is co-investigator of three SPRG projects: ‘Keeping Cool’, ‘Theoretical and conceptual integration’ and ‘Engagement, interaction and influence’.  She is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, and has an ESRC “Climate Change Leadership Fellowship” on Transitions in practice: Climate change and everyday life. 


  • Gordon Walker ImageGordon Walker

    • Gordon is Professor of Environment, Risk and Justice at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University and co-investigator for the SPRG project ‘Keeping Cool’ and ‘Zero-Carbon Homes’. He has previously conducted research projects on environmental inequalities, risk governance, community energy initiatives and public responses to renewable energy technologies. He is currently collaborating on projects on energy and equity (InCluESEV), on energy, thermal comfort and older people and on social capacity building for natural hazards (CAPHAZ-net). His research interests focus on the social and spatial dimensions of environment, risk and sustainability issues.


  • Mark Harvey ImageMark Harvey

    • Mark is the Principal Investigator for the SPRG project ‘Drinking Water and Water-Drinking’. He is Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex where he is the Director of the Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation (CRESI) and ESRC Professorial Research Fellow (2012-13). His ESRC Fellowship focuses on how different parts of the world are dealing with climate change, the depletion of finite energy and material resources such as oil, and a growing population with increasing and changing demand for food. His research interests focus on developing a theoretical and empirical economic sociology across a range of fields including, European food consumption, production and retailing, biotechnology, welfare regimes and the emergent bioeconomy in Europe, USA and Brazil.

SPRG Researchers

  • Ben Anderson ImageBen Anderson

    • Ben is the joint Principle Investigator of the SPRG project ‘Patterns of Water’.  He is a Senior Research Fellow in the University of Southampton's Sustainable Energy Research Group and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Lancaster Environment Centre. His research interests focus on the interactions between people, resources and infrastructure; social communication; micro-social adaptation and resilience; sustainable living and cross-cutting issues of consumption and spatial variation. He has used techniques from computer science, cognitive psychology, anthropology, economics, sociology, and social geography  during his time as an academic and commercial research scientist engaged in basic, applied and strategic social research. He also has an interest in research 'outside the walls'  (citizen science) and non-institutionalised methods of learning. 


  • Ralf Brand ImageRalf Brand

    • Ralf is co-investigator of the SPRG project ‘Zero-Carbon Homes’. He works as Senior Lecturer at the Manchester Architecture Research Centre, University of Manchester. His research focuses on the co-evolution of social, technical, and institutional factors in the built environment, ranging from individual buildings, via neighbourhoods to whole cities. He employs this theoretical angle in a number of research projects. One, called ‘Conditioning Demand’, investigates the social practices of elderly people to achieve thermal comfort. In another one, he studies the coexistence of different religious groups in ‘Multi-Faith Spaces’.


  • Sam Brown ImageSam Brown

    • Sam has now completed his work as a SPRG Research Associate on the ‘Keeping Cool' project. He was concurrently a member of the ESRC Social Change and Climate Change Working Party. Sam is based at the University of Lancaster. He did his PhD on understanding how older people living in care homes in the UK are made vulnerable to the effects of heat waves, focusing on how heat management practices are shaped by their institutional environment. His research interests lie more broadly in the interaction of society and the environment, with a particular focus on the ways in which everyday practices might be changed in order to move towards a more sustainable and lower carbon future.

  • Alison Browne ImageAlison Browne

    • Alison is a Research Fellow at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, the University of Manchester.  She is the Senior Research Associate managing the SPRG project ‘Patterns of Water' as well as its sister project ‘ARCC-Water'. Both projects focus on the everyday use of water and the potential drivers of demand in the context of social/cultural, infrastructural and climate changes in the UK. The SPRG project is focused specifically on understanding patterns of water use practices related to different types of metering. Alison is a member of the Australian National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) Social, Economic and Institutional ‘Adaptation College' for early career leaders in the field of climate change adaptation. Her research interests include the social and governance aspects of climate change adaptation (water infrastructures, sustainable agriculture and development), developing an everyday practice perspective to shape interventions and communications towards more ‘sustainable futures', and public participation in science and democracy.

  • Sue Chilton ImageSue Chilton

    • Sue works on the SPRG Fellowship ‘Practices in Discounting Future Benefits and Food Choices’.  She is Co-Director of the Economics of Safety, Health, Environment and Risk (ESHER) Research Group. Her research focuses on applied welfare economics, based on the use of surveys and experimental methods to understand how individuals make decisions affecting their economic welfare.  Her core research interests are environmental economics, safety economics and health economics.


  • Isabelle Darmon ImageIsabelle Darmon

    • Isabelle is the research associate working at the University of Manchester on the project ‘Changing eating habits - an international comparison'. Prior to her PhD at Manchester, she coordinated/contributed to European research and evaluation projects in the fields of work, employment and the fight against social exclusion for 15 years. She thereby developed an interest in theorisations of the framing and shaping of ‘adequate dispositions' and adaptation in contemporary capitalism. This led her to undertake a thesis on Max Weber's theoretical and empirical take on the shaping of ‘types of human being', the contemporary mechanisms of entrenchment of the rationalised capitalist cosmos and the generation of everyday ‘forms of life'. She is in part drawing on these perspectives in the SPRG project for the conceptualisation of the shaping and change of habits in the field of food and nutrition.

  • Adrian Evans ImageAdrian Evans

    • Adrian is a senior research officer working at the University of Essex on the SPRG project 'Bottled water consumption and markets.'  He has previously worked on the EU-funded Welfare Quality project investigating the consumption and retail of animal welfare-friendly foods across Europe.  He is also the book review editor for the International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food.  He has a particular interest in theories of practice and in developing novel methodologies to explore embodied practices within divergent research settings - ranging from archival research to exploring the practical ethics-aesthetics of contemporary food consumption.  His research interests also include science and technology studies, historical geography and material-culture studies.


  • Alex Franklin ImageAlex Franklin

    • Alex holds the SPRG Fellowship ‘Sustainable Communities, Social Enterprise and Local Food’.  She is a Research Fellow at the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE), Cardiff University, and an Associate member of the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS).  Alex is jointly responsible for the Place Work Package theme of ‘City-Regions in Adaptation and Transition’ with Professor Terry Marsden.  She works closely with Dr Julie Newton researching a range of different issues under the umbrella theme of Sustainable Communities.  Alex’s main areas of research interest are:  Rural Development; City-Regions in transition; Sustainable Communities; Equine Landscapes; Human-animal relationships; Sustainable practices; and skills, knowledge and learning for sustainability.

  • Simon Guy ImageSimon Guy

    • Simon is the Principal Investigator of the SPRG project ‘Zero-Carbon Homes’.  He is Professor and Director of the Manchester Architecture Research Centre and Head of the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. His research has involved: the development and application of an innovative sociotechnical approach to researching architecture, urban development, technological innovation and urban change; analysis and integration of previously disconnected research fields - architecture and urban planning, the property sector and utilities industry; and the stimulation of a collaborative, inter-disciplinary methodological approach.


  • Mike Hodson ImageMike Hodson

    • Mike works on the SPRG Fellowship ‘Intermediaries and the Meso-Level Restructuring of New Practices. He is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures (SURF), University of Salford. Mike’s research interests focus on city-regional transitions to low-carbon economies, the ways in which this happens and understandings of the lessons to be learned from such processes. Projects have been funded by the European Commission, UK research councils, sub-national government and private consultancy. These have addressed the relationships between sub-national territories and the reconfiguration of their key socio-technical infrastructures in a period of globalisation, neoliberalisation and in a context of the challenges posed by climate change.

  • George Hutchinson ImageGeorge Hutchinson

    • George is the Principal Investigator for the SPRG fellowship 'Practices in discounting future benefits and food choice'.   He is Director of the Institute for a Sustainable World (ISW) at Queen's University, Belfast.  George's main research interest is in methodological issues associated with Discrete Choice Contingent Valuation and Choice Modelling.  He has led research projects for the Department of the Environment and for the Republic of Ireland's Research Stimulus Fund.  He has  also acted as consultant to The European Commission, the Department of the Environment and other bodies.

  • Andrew Karvonen ImageAndrew Karvonen

    • Andrew is a researcher on the SPRG project 'Zero-Carbon Homes' and is a research fellow in the Manchester Architecture Research Centre at the University of Manchester.  He studies issues of sustainability as they relate to the built environment and is particularly interested in the role of technologies and technical experts in sustainable urban development practices.  He also works on a research project funded by EPSRC and EDF titled 'Conditioning Demand: Older People, Diversity and Thermal Experience'

  • Morten Lau ImageMorten Lau

    • Morten works on the SPRG Fellowship 'Practices in Discounting Future Benefits and Food Choices'.  He is Professor of Behavioural Finance at Durham University.  He has previously conducted a number of research projects on elicitation and estimation of individual risk attitudes and discount rates.  He is currently working on a project that explores the link between atemporal risk aversion and the intertemporal elasticity of substitution.  Morten's research interests focus on investment behaviour, field experiments and time consistency.

  • Simon Marvin ImageSimon Marvin

    • Simon works on the SPRG Fellowship ‘Intermediaries and the meso-level restructuring of new practices’. He is a Professor at Durham University where he is the Carillion Chair of Low Carbon Cities and Deputy Director of Durham Energy Institute.    Simon is an expert on the changing relations between neighbourhoods, cities, regions and infrastructure networks in a period of resource constraint, institutional restructuring and climate change. Simon’s research has been funded by the ESRC, EPSRC, international research foundations, the European Commission, commercial funders, and many public agencies. Simon is currently working on two large three years programmes on Urban Retrofitting funded by EPSRC and on the internationally comparative Mistra Urban Futures programme.

  • Will Medd ImageWill Medd

  • Lucie Middlemiss ImageLucie Middlemiss

    • Lucie holds the SPRG Fellowship ‘Consumerism on the Margins’.  She is also a Lecturer in Sustainability at the Sustainability Research Institute, University of Leeds. Her research focuses on understanding people’s day to day experiences of (un)sustainable living, as well as evaluating ways in which people can be persuaded to change their consumption in order to live more sustainably. She is currently working on two interdisciplinary projects: one exploring the experience of living in fuel poverty, and the other looking at the influence of local schools on their communities regarding climate change.

  • Joseph Murphy ImageJoseph Murphy

    • Joseph is co-investigator of the SPRG projects ‘Theoretical and Conceptual Integration’ and ‘Engagement, Interaction and Influence’. He holds a professorial Chair in Environmental Studies at Glasgow University. Joseph’s research focuses on environmental policy and politics and the challenge of sustainable development. In the past he has worked on innovation, environment and competitiveness in the chemicals industry, environmental policy for sustainable consumption, and regulation of risks associated with GM crops and foods. In addition to his work with SPRG he is currently interested in the relationship between environment and imperialism and recent work in ‘green’ postcolonial studies.

  • Julie Newton ImageJulie Newton

    •  Julie holds the SPRG Fellowship ‘Sustainable Communities, Social Enterprise and Local Food'.  She is a Research Associate of the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) and Research Affiliate of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE), Cardiff University.  Julie is currently working on a number of sustainable communities and wellbeing related projects. Julie's main research interests include: sustainable communities; wellbeing; social inclusion and integration; natural resource management, green spaces, gender mainstreaming and participatory research methods.

  • Sarah Parry ImageSarah Parry

    • Sarah is the Principal Investigator of the SPRG project ‘Engagement, Interaction and Influence’. She is Lecturer in Sociology at the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject-group and an Associate at the ESRC Innogen Centre (both University of Edinburgh). Her previous research has examined the construction and negotiation of knowledge and expertise in public and policy debates about stem cell research in the UK; the promises and limitations of public engagement with science; and classifications and understandings of nature.

  • Martin Pullinger ImageMartin Pullinger

    •  Martin is a Research Associate at Lancaster Environment Centre, working on the SPRG project ‘Patterns of Water' and its sister project ‘ARCC-Water'. For these projects he is analysing the diversity and common variants of the everyday practices in which household water use is implicated. Martin's research interests include the effects of people's practices and working patterns on the environment and on wellbeing, how land use patterns affect ecosystem services and biodiversity, non-Western understandings of happiness, and the use of art and novel visual approaches to engage people with nature and research, looking at what these insights imply for policy and interventions.  He takes a multi-disciplinary perspective, and applies statistical and spatial analysis/GIS methods in his work.

  • Graeme Sherriff ImageGraeme Sherriff

    •  Graeme is a Research Associate in the Manchester Architecture Research Centre (MARC), working on the Zero Carbon Habitation work within SPRG. He has a background of work on climate, energy and sustainability in the academic, public and NGO sectors. Since his PhD he has worked on a range of projects in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. Sustaining Knowledge for a Changing Climate (SKCC), Supermarket Adaptation to Future Environments (SAFE) and GRaBS concerned adaptation to climate change, whilst in EUCO2 the focus has been on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in European regions through scenario workshops with regional-level stakeholders. SKILLS and Train the Trainers, funded through the Tesco Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) aimed to develop training in sustainability for the retail sector.  His most recent project, Challenging Lock-in Through Urban Energy Systems (CLUES), concerned decentralised energy system through the lens of coevolution. Graeme is also involved in teaching, particularly transport planning and research methods.

  • Nicola Spurling ImageNicola Spurling

    • Nicola is a researcher on the SPRG project 'Theoretical development and integration', based at The University of Manchester. This project focusses on two distinct, but interrelated aspects: researching historical case studies to understand how policy and intervention intersect and interact with the trajectories of social practices; theoretical and conceptual development across the empirical research of SPRG to deepen understandings of key processes through which practices emerge, stabilize, change and decline. Her research interests focus on how practices take hold in personal biographies and professional lives, how policy impacts on social practices and everyday life, and the temporal dynamics of policy and intervention.

  • Fraser Stewart ImageFraser Stewart

    • Fraser is a Research Fellow on the SPRG 'Engagement, Interaction & Influence' project.  This project aims to further our understanding of the relationship between social science, politics and policy in relation to behaviour, environment and sustainable consumption.  His PhD thesis examined the relationship people have with rubbish in everyday life, focusing on domestic recycling policy and practice.  Based in Edinburgh, his current research interests reside in and around environmental sociology, with a particular interest in waste and consumption practices and how society can move toward a more sustainable future by exploring how macro, meso and micro processes intersect in society, impacting people in everyday situations.

  • Alan Warde ImageAlan Warde

    • Alan is the Principal Investigator of the SPRG project ‘Changing Eating Habits’. He is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and is also a Professorial Fellow of the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester. His current research interests include: sociology of consumption, food, theories of practice, sociology of culture, and the analysis of sustainable consumption.

  • Dan Welch ImageDan Welch

    • Dan has replaced Isabelle Darmon as research associate on the Changing Eating Habits project with Alan Warde - Isabelle has taken up a lectureship at the University of Edinburgh in July 2013. He recently completed a PhD at the Sustainable Consumption Institute and School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester. Dan's thesis takes a practice theory orientated approach to understanding the field of commercial sustainability communications, with a focus on processes of cultural intermediation. His research interests include cultural economy, sustainable and ethical consumption, and theories of practice.Dan also works on communications for the SPRG.

Administrative Group

  • Katrina Ferrugia ImageKatrina Ferrugia

    • Katrina is Administrator for the SPRG and for the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester.

  • Dan Welch ImageDan Welch

    • Dan's role includes both working on both public-facing and internal academic communications, contributing to reports, and helping to organise the SPRG finale event. Dan has previously worked as a journalist, copywriter and editor.

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