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Geography and Environmental Science
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Dr Emma Roe BSc, PhD

Associate Professor in Human Geography

Dr Emma Roe's photo

Dr Emma Roe is a social and cultural geographer often found working in the spaces of transdisciplinary research.

She is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Veterinary Sciences, 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

2017- present Associate Professor in Human Geography, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton.
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.
2007-2016 Lecturer in Human Geography, Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton.

2020 Openness in Animal Research Award for The Mouse Exchange.

Research interests

Dr Emma Roe is a leading trans-disciplinary more-than-human geographies scholar within the field of animal geographies and agro-food studies.  Current research is related to Global Challenges including creating a carbon-neutral agro-food system, tackling the rise in anti-microbial resistance and most recently supporting a return to public transport through and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. She is often found working with those outside her discipline (veterinary science, microbiology, health science, rural studies, anthropology, sociology and economics, artists) and with community and industry partners when relevant.  
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 Global Challenges Research Fund, the Animal Welfare Foundation and the University of Southampton. She has  

  • written over 25 peer-reviewed journal articles, book-chapters, reports and short articles.
  • published the books ‘Food and Animal Welfare’ (Bloomsbury) with Henry Buller and ‘Participatory research in a more-than-human world’ (Routledge) with Michelle Bastian, Owain Jones and Niamh Moore
  • 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.
  • received an Understanding Animal Research Openness Award in 2020 for the Mouse Exchange.

Currently, she sits on Sweden’s Formas research panel for Animal Health and Welfare 2019-22 and is external examiner for Geography and Environmental Studies at the Open University, UK (2021-25).  
Her more-than-human geographical approach is characterised by analysing human-nonhuman relations in two ways.  
Firstly human-nonhuman relations are inter-corporeal, this is a theoretical and pragmatic interpretation to rework imaginations of individual choice and identity. Articulating the inter-corporeality of more-than human life means we cannot materially, emotionally and practically disconnect our interpretation of what is taking-place, from the processes of life and their affects that deeply connect human and non-human bodies (animal, vegetable, viral forms) and through these connections to fellow human lives. Agro-food networks (especially food animal-based) and research animal provisioning networks are two research sites that re-occur to explore this in her work where there are rich ethical and environmental challenges at stake in what goes on. More recently she has extended this approach to infection prevention networks within and beyond agro-food to public transport. Her thinking develops from relational materialism combined with corporeal feminism to closely attend to bodily vulnerabilities to feel, to be harmed, to need care, and to be dis-assembled, especially in spaces where voicing those vulnerabilities have historically been marginalised, but which by doing so can help leverage behaviour or regulatory changes.  
Secondly, she pays close attention to ethics in practice in accounting for changes to how a non-human is given capacities to participate in knowledge-making, - whether for example animal, virus, bodily tissue, or meat -, because of changing situated knowledges and sensitivities for a nonhumans’ behaviour and character. This is a critical approach when addressing Global Challenges related to Planetary Health across the fields of agro-food and public health as shifting cultures of economic, regulatory and social practices circulate around how relations between humans and non-humans are stabilised, shift and change.  
She brings an energy and enthusiasm for qualitative, ethnographic, behavioural approaches to the study of what people do, think, and feel and how that is shaped by knowledges of the non-human and wider cultural economic and social infrastructures. Always keen and interested in bringing disciplinary knowledges of the non-human subject, other than her own, into a cross-disciplinary interpretative framework. Social infrastructure can include regulation, market instruments, marginalised voices, cultural beliefs, anxieties and norms that may in various ways block or ease behaviour, market and institutional changes needed to address Global Challenges. Her work straddles the social science and humanities literature on human-nonhuman relations taking in more-than-human geographies, anthropology, animal studies, environmental humanities and cultural economic geography.  
Public and industry engagement work is central to much of her work, where she often tackles challenging public engagement topics. For example public engagement around animal research or the potential invisible viral infection risks in the air we breathe on public transport, or historically moves away from animal-based food protein consumption. In recent work in this area of knowledge exchange she continues to develop the Becoming Ecological Citizenship approach (with Dr Paul Hurley) to public engagement that foregrounds a sensory, durational engagement with the object of concern and a juxtaposition of different knowledges/voices on the topic. The award-winning Mouse Exchange is one example. A new project The Micro-pet Community bus is another. She also has worked with the Food Standards Agency in targeting antibiotic reduction with the food system. 
She has a longstanding specialism 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. These research interests are currently being developed through intersection with tackling on-farm antibiotic reduction in UK, Kenya and Malawi, and intersection with drivers for global reduction in livestock production to address the climate crisis. 

PhD Supervision 
She is always interested to hear from potential PhD or Research Fellows who share her research interests or would welcome her contribution as a supervisor to a transdisciplinary supervisory team. 
Current students

  • Ms Rebecca Thomas - A holistic approach to laboratory welfare. 2018-2021
  • Mrs Preeti Dhuria - Investigating legislative options to curb the promotion of unhealthy foods in prominent retail locations: building a complex adaptive system 2018-2024
  • Ms Kate Goldie - Geographies of care in pet-keeping: The case of pet-pigs. 2020-2023
  • Ms Ellie Atayee-Bennett – Veganism within the Abrahamic Faiths

Research projects


  • 2021-22 Principle Investigator. Micro-pet community bus. University of Southampton Public Engagement with Research – Development Funding Award £3,951.80 + £1000 (Faculty of Life and Environmental Science Public Engagement fund) With Sandra Wilks (Health Sciences), Paul Hurley (Geog & Env Sciences) and Charlotte Veal (U of NCL).
  • 2021-2022 Principle Investigator with Veal C (U of NCL), Wilks S (UoS), Hurley P (UoS) Routes of infection, routes to safety: Creative mapping of human-viral behaviors on the bus to understand infection prevention practices. UKRI/AHRC Covid-19. £208,907 FEC.
  • 2017-2022 Co-Principle Investigator Project 3: Managing breeding, biobanking and rehoming networks – Laboratory Animal Research Nexus. With Davies, G. U of Exeter (Lead), Greenhough B. U of Oxford, Pru Hobson-West, U of Nottingham, Rob Kirk U of Manchester. Wellcome Collaborative Award. £1.6Mn (£267K to University of Southampton).
  • 2019-2021 Co-investigator Changing Food Systems in Kenya and Malawi and the Challenge of Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance. With Alex Hughes, University of Newcastle (PI); Alistair Munthali, University of Malawi; Abdhalah Ziraba, African Population and Health Research Centre; Megan Vaughan, University College London. AHRC/GCRF £199,981.65 (100% FEC)


  • 2019 Principle Investigator Understanding non-elite environmentalisms in a global context With L. Olang, Tech University of Kenya (TUK); F. Oloo (TUK) P.Wekesa, (TUK) P.Hurley. University of Southampton GCRF Strategic Development Fund. £33,000.
  • 2017-2018 Co-investigator with Hughes A, PI (Newcastle), Lowe M (Southampton), Wrigley N. (Southampton), Keevil B (Southampton). Corporate Food retailers, meat supply chains and the global responsibilities of tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). £141,468 80% FEC)
  • 2017-2018 Principle Investigator with Goodway M. The Matthew Tree Project, Sayer S. Windmill Hill City Farm. Man food: exploring men’s opportunities for ‘Becoming an ecological citizen’ through protein-related food practices. Arts and Humanities Research Council. £68,528 (80% FEC).
  • 2016 Food retail supply chains and AMR: Scoping workshop with Food Standards Agency. With Lowe, M, Wrigley N, Hughes A, Cherret T, Keevil B and Leighton T. Supporting funds from Food Standards Agency (£5050); NAMRIP (£4500) and ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (£2500). Sept – Nov 2016.
  • 2016-2016 Principle Investigator. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Network for Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention (NAMRIP) Pump-priming. Fighting superbugs on the home front: becoming an ecological citizen in your bathroom. £19,723
  • 2016-2016 Co-investigator. Arts and Humanities Research Council, Connected Communities. Protein Pressures for AHRC Utopia Fair. £14,867
  • 2016-2016 Principle Investigator. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Network for Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention (NAMRIP) Pump-priming. Preventing the spread of infection in hospital care settings: health professions, the agency of microbes and imaging tracking technology. £15,497
  • 2015-2020 Member of steering group University Strategic Research Group (USRG) for Network for Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention (NAMRIP) £20 000 per year, for five years. University of Southampton USRG Fund
  • 2015-2017 Co-Investigator and Leader of theme: Behaviour within and beyond the health care setting NAMRA – Network for Antimicrobial Resistance Action. With Professor T. Leighton (PI), Keevil B., Eason R., Huang Y., Read R., Wood R., Attard G., Frey J., Voegeli D. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council £868,704 (80% FEC).
  • 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 projects on there own website

AHRC Man Food

EPSRC Mapping Microbes

ESRC Tackling Antimicrobial resistance in meat supply chains

Wellcome Animal Research Nexus

Routes of Infection, Routes to Safety

The Mouse Exchange

Research group

Population, Health and Wellbeing (PHeW)

Affiliate research group

Economy, Society and Governance

Research project(s)

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

  • Population Health and Wellbeing Theme Leader.
  • Full Board School Management Team Committee.
  • Editorial Board for Journal of Social and Cultural Geography 2017-
  • Panel member for FORMAS Animal Health and Welfare Research 2019-22
  • External Examiner for Geography and Environmental Studies, the Open University.
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Key Publications



Book Chapters



Working Papers

GEOG1010 Geographical Skills Tutor
GEOG3018 Undergraduate dissertation advisor.
GEOG2008 Critical Human Geographies lecturer.
Module co-ordinator for GEOG 3041 Geographies of Nature.
Module co-ordinator for GEOG 2036 Cultural Geographies.
Lecturer on GEOG 2036 Practicising Human Geography.
Personal Academic Tutor



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

Room Number : 44/2072

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