Jennifer Cole

Lecturer in Global and Planetary Health

Themes: Reducing health inequalities, Greener futures, Thriving communities

Expertise: Biological anthropology, planetary health, critical health geopolitics, global health

My work is highly interdisciplinary across the fields of human, global, planetary, eco and one health, focusing how environments impact on human health across the lifecourse. (Un)health environments can be natural environments, urban environments, political ecologies or historical legacies of colonialism, repression or conflict.

My experience includes over a decade working at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, a policy think tank, and as Public Health Advisor to the Rockefeller Economic Council on Planetary Health at the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University. I am a member of the Planetary Health Alliance and a World Health Organization accredited Infodemic Manager.

Dr Ruth Cruickshank

Humanities Representative, Living Sustainably Catalyst

Themes: Thriving communities, Reducing health inequalities, Greener futures, Sustainability and creativity

Expertise: ‘Leftover’ meanings in food; global production and consumption of food; eating disorders (notably the discourses around OSFED, the most prevalent yet least known eating disorder)

I am passionate about revealing the unthought-of constructs of power; effects of trauma and exploitation; and critical potential bound up with representations of food, drink and their production and consumption. My work is at thenexus of literary and cultural criticism and comparative, food studies and the medical humanities, examining discourses and literary, philosophical and visual texts.

My latest book is Leftovers: Eating, Drinking and Rethinking with Case Studies from Post-war French Fiction and I am currently working on the politics of not knowing and of representation of eating disorders, and supervising PhD projects on interrogating representation of meat substitutes and diasporic Desi foodways.

I also publish on documentary aesthetics and postcolonial global food chains; intertextual geopolitics and gastrodiplomacy; understanding of alterity revealed by comparing structuralist and poststructuralist thought involving food; relationships between globalisation, cultural capital and symbolic violence; and questions of recycling and cultural production.

I am a founder member of The Food Group at RHUL, co-organising events raising awareness of the intersection of sustainability and culture, Inedible, Unpalatable and Indigestible and Food and Drink on the Brink.

Find out more.

Klaus Dodds

Professor of Geopolitics, Director of Living Sustainably

Themes: Greener futures, Reducing health inequalities

Expertise: Environmental geopolitics, polar and ocean conservation, health geopolitics, public communication, and forecasting

I am passionate about environmental matters, and my work focuses on real-world challenges and problems that require evidence synthesis, expert advice and futures-orientated thinking.  My experience includes serving as specialist adviser to UK Parliament, consultant to business and environmental stakeholders in ocean and polar conservation, member of the DEFRA COVID futures advisory group and NATO Strategic Foresight Analysis contributor and would like to continue to work with diverse stakeholders and partners. My latest book, Border Wars (Penguin 2022) addressed the implications of climate change for the political geographies of the earth.

Find out more.

Helen Gilbert

Professor of Theatre

Themes: Greener futuresReducing health inequalities

Expertise: Environmental arts, Indigenous climate activism, postcolonial ecocriticism, environmental justice

Helen Gilbert researches environmental activism in the creative arts in Australia, Canada and the Pacific, particularly in Indigenous and other marginalised communities. She has curated a major London exhibition on the theme of Indigenous arts and sustainability and recently contributed to a group exhibition on humanities research and climate change, organised the Rachel Carson Center in Munich in conjunction with COP26.

She is now developing a new international project that will study water-related eco-activism over the last three decades, particularly in marginalised communities. The project aims to advance knowledge of the crucial, global role live arts have already played, and could play in the future, in spurring civic and political action to protect marine and freshwater ecosystems across the world. Helen is on the advisory board of FOGGS (Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability) a UN-related ‘think-and-do’ tank, based on Brussels, and is also involved in environmentally focused research projects at Yale (USA) and the University of Victoria in Canada.

Martina Hutton

Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Themes: Thriving communities, Reducing health inequalities

Expertise: Consumer poverty, social stress complexities of economic/social disadvantage, consumption adequacy and wellbeing, community-based research methodologies

For 14 years I have worked as a researcher with diverse communities experiencing a range of intersecting inequalities, specifically focusing on deprived consumption, economic and social exclusion. My experience includes partnering with national and international stakeholders who represent groups experiencing hunger, poverty and post-prison restrictions.

I have published widely on the issues of consumer poverty, wellbeing and marketplace exclusion and have expertise in a range of social justice research methods (eg critical PAR, emancipatory praxis). Currently I am working on a funded impact study with a cross sector multi-stakeholder initiative, examining a range of sustainable food well-being solutions designed by the community for the community.

Zena Kamash

Senior Lecturer in Roman Archaeology, Dept of Classics 

Themes: Reducing health inequalities, Sustainability and creativity, Thriving communities

I am British Iraqi archaeologist who is strongly committed to improving wellbeing amongst communities, especially in the UK and the Middle East. I am currently PI on a British Academy-funded project titled ‘Crafting Heritage for Wellbeing in Iraq’, which brings together researchers in the UK and Iraq across the fields of archaeology, heritage, psychology and arts/craft practice to explore how bringing together heritage and crafting can improve the wellbeing of people who have experienced conflict.

I am also writing a book titled Heritage and Healing in Syria and Iraq (under contract with Manchester University Press) that challenges existing approaches to cultural heritage reconstruction in post-conflict contexts and explores the ways in which such reconstruction might be more effectively framed to promote healing and reparation.

Outside academia, I am a trustee for Oxfordshire Mind, where I work to reduce mental health inequalities to ensure that everyone who needs support is able to access it.  

Find out more

Dr James Kent 

Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies

Themes: Reducing health inequalities, Sustainability and creativity

Expertise: Curatorial and photographic practice, public engagement and visual cultures

I am passionate about curatorial and photographic practice, public engagement and storytelling. My research-led photography projects combine portraiture with social documentary – engaging and raising awareness about challenges faced by different communities. I photographed Cuba in the wake of revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s death in 2016, curating exhibitions in both the UK and Cuba.

My latest project makes interdisciplinary connections between visual arts, health and wellbeing. Working alongside colleagues at the University of Cambridge, I co-founded the Generation COVID UK collaborative research group – a consortium of clinicians, healthcare professionals, midwives, researchers and creative practitioners whose work involves collaborating with and/or supporting parents of babies born during the pandemic.  The project has featured in The Lancet and The Independent. Work from this collaboration will be showcased in a series of events at Cambridge Festival 2022. I am keen to use my experience and creative practice to raise awareness and drive change.

Find out more.


Zoe Raven

PhD Student

Themes: Thriving communities, Reducing health inequalities

Expertise:  Ethics of care, business ethics, practice theory, sensemaking, social justice, social inclusion, childcare and early years education

I have extensive experience and knowledge of the UK childcare sector, and am particularly interested in the problem of making childcare accessible, affordable, and inclusive in a marketised sector. My PhD thesis explores the tensions between ethical intentions and marketisation, and I am also hoping to carry out further research on the transition of childcare provision from a local authority to the third sector, and the impact of community-based childcare on the lives of low-income families, particularly women.

Laura J Spence

Professor of Business Ethics

Themes: Greener futures, Reducing health inequalities

Expertise: Business ethics, corporate social responsibility, small business social responsibility, sustainability

My research focuses on a range of issues at the intersection of business, society and the environment. In particular I have worked with business intermediaries and policy makers to advise on the small business perspective, such as in the UK parliament, the International Labour Organization, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the United Nations Global Compact.

I would like to deepen these collaborations at the national, European and global levels, for example through the framework of support for NetZero, and continue to influence support for responsible business practice which is relevant to small and medium sized enterprises.