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Geography and Environment
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Dr Emma Roe 

Lecturer in Human Geography

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Dr Emma Roe is a social and cultural geographer who has held the position of Lecturer in Human Geography since 2007, at University of Southampton.

She is an Honorary Research Associate at the School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bristol.




B.Sc. Geography (Human and Physical) Reading 1998
Ph.D. Geography Bristol 2003
Fellow of Higher Education Academy 2010
Fellow of Royal Geographical Society

2001-2003 Lecturer in Human Geography (fixed term), School of Geographical Sciences, Bristol University
2003-2004 ESRC Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, Geography Discipline, The Open University
2004-2007 Research Associate on EU FP6 WelfareQuality® research project, School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University.






Research interests

Bodily cultural geographies of human-nonhuman relations

  • Commercialisation of the nonhuman: retailing and supply-chain cultures
  • Embodied consumption practices /Embodied stockperson practices
  • Farm animal welfare
  • Cross-species comparison of ethical practices of consent and welfare in clinical drug trials.

Methodologies for researching the performative, material nonhuman

  • Critical ontologies for researching the nonhuman
  • Post-phenomenological interpretations of video empirical material.

Theorising the corporeal nonhuman as naturecultures

  • Embodied Material Ethics
  • Affective geographies of care for the sentient nonhuman


Dr Emma Roe has over fifteen years experience of social science research in food and agriculture studies at the Universities of Bristol, the Open, Cardiff and currently Southampton.

Additionally, over the last ten years she has developed expertise in studies of human-animal relationships as performed through food supply chain practices, and animal care practices both on farm and in animal research facilities.

Her theoretical and methodological interests develop across these two major research themes.

Firstly, she specializes in the social scientific study of farm animal welfare in the food supply chain through research in the UK, Hungary, Western Europe and China. This interest began when working as a leading social scientist in the EU WelfareQuality® project 2004-2009, managing the UK and cross-European studies of the retail and food service sector study of foodstuffs with higher animal welfare standards. Additionally, she co-investigated an implementation study into the on-farm certification process and its flexibility to a change from resource-based to animal-based welfare measures. This research interest is currently being developed through active projects that address:

1 How both the material form of the animal’s body and the life it lives places particular demands on and possibilities for the food industry’s product innovation practices.

2 Research projects with animal scientists which seek to understand the barriers and challenges farmers face in taking-up veterinary advice that would improve the welfare of their animals.

Secondly, and related, she is interested in how ethics is carried out in practice. This finds its empirical focus in how ethical relations with living animals are performed through care. Two relationships are currently studied – that between a careperson/stockperson and food animals, and the junior animal laboratory technologist and animals used in medical research experiments. In both sites society holds expectations about the standards of care animals should receive, whether it is animals sold as raised with higher animal welfare standards or confidence that animals experience minimal suffering when used in medical research experiments.

Thirdly, she is profoundly fascinated by human-matter-body relations. This fascination she engages with to understanding how the highly heterogeneous forms that matter gives itself to humans shapes what humans do with it. To give one example, she is interested in how the animal body is broken down into differently valued meat products by the meat industry and how this goes on to shape the impact meat production and consumption has on human health, the environment and farm animal lives. Ultimately, the fascination here is on how object-object relations found when you mine an animal carcass for meat, drive particular forms of commercial product innovation to handle an excess of less-favoured matter to eat.

Fourthly, she is curious about how people can engage with foodstuffs not as ethical consumer within a value-added quality-driven food retail environment, but rather as ecological citizens. This research interest is in its early stages and so far has explored how performance art can engage people to relate to food not as consumers but as ecological citizens. Exploring how people who receive emergency food aid can perform the role of ecological citizens, when to be an ethical consumer is beyond their financial grasp, is one avenue of research.

Her work has received research funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council, UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Commission, the British Academy, the Wellcome Trust, the Animal Welfare Foundation and the University of Southampton. She has written numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book-chapters, reports and short articles. She has presented research findings to academic and non-academic audiences, nationally and internationally, including laboratory animal technicians, the food industry, farm veterinary professionals and the arts-design community.


Research projects


  • 2014-2017 Co-investigator with Reyner K*. (PI), Main D*., Whay B*., Roe E., Haase A**., Scrase A*. Improving dairy cattle welfare: promoting uptake of veterinary advice. £109,816 *Veterinary Science, University of Bristol **Policy Studies, University of Bristol.


  • 2014-2015 Principle Investigator. How do food and nutrition services provided by The Matthew Tree Project Foodstores influence the diet of clients in food poverty? University of Southampton Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences Enterprise Fund. £5000
  • 2013-2015 Co-Principle Investigator with Dr Beth Greenhough, Queen Mary University of London on ‘Exploring how laboratory animal technicians put ethics into practice’. Wellcome small grant £5,000.
  • Co-Principle Investigator on ‘Foodscapes’ Arts and Humanities ‘Connected Communities’ Research Council Grant. With Michael Buser University of the West of England; Liz Dinnie, John Hutton Research Institute; Carolyn Hassan, Knowle West Media Centre; Roz Hall, Knowle West Media Centre. £50,000 2012-2013
  • Principal Investigator 'Constructing Quality' - UK part of UK/France comparison of how animal welfare is currently included, audited and developing in farm assurance schemes. Subcontracted from Prof Henry Buller, Exeter University. 63979 euros. Funding from EU Welfare Quality project. Jan-Dec 2008
  • Principal Investigator 'Negotiating post-Mao natures: a recent history of NGO involvement in improving farm animal husbandry in China' British Academy Small Grants Fund £5,530. 2007 - 2008.
  • Principal Investigator. Cross-country study of welfare-friendly foodstuff in the food service sector. Work carried out in Norway, Italy, UK and the Netherlands. Includes product innovation work with Sodexho. 114,000 euros (30,820 euros for UK work). 'Funding from EU Welfare Quality project'. Jan-Dec 2007.

Research group(s)

Economy, Governance and Culture

Research project(s)

Higher welfare salmon

Care theme

Foodscapes - Dormant

FOODSCAPES was an AHRC Connected Communities project (2013) that explored the use of art as a way of opening up discussion about food consumption and food poverty

Emma is BA Human Geography Programme Leader.

Emma is on the steering committee for the USRG NAMRIP (Network for Antimicrobial resistance and infection prevention) and EPSRC funded NAMRA (Network for AntiMicrobial Resistance Action) representing the Faculty of Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences.

Emma’s on the UK Food Standards Agency register of Social Scientists.

Emma is currently supervising PhD candidates James Gott (NERC Spitfire studentship), Julia Walker (ESRC studentship) and Thomas Dekeysner (University of Southampton Studentship).


Key Publication(s)



Book Section(s)



Convenor of GEOG2029 Research Methods in Human Geography (Fieldcourse and lecture course).
Convenor of GEOG3041 Geographies of Nature.
GEOG1010 Geographical Skills Tutor
GEOG3018 Undergraduate dissertation advisor.
GEOG2008 Critical Human Geographies lecturer.



Dr Emma Roe
University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 44/2072

Telephone: (023) 8059 9222
Facsimile: (023) 8059 3295

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