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About Dr Rebecca Collins

I am a human geographer with research interests in the social dimensions of sustainable lifestyles and community resilience, material cultures of sustainable consumption, and young adults’ understanding of and engagement with notions of ‘sustainable futures’. My current research explores the ways in which social and temporal structures impede young adults’ ability to act on their environmental knowledge, and how digital technologies can be mobilised to prompt engagement with new pro-environmental behaviours.  I am interested in supervising postgraduate research in any aspect of sustainable lifestyles, material culture or youth geographies.


  • GE4009 Sustainable Development
  • GE5014 Researcher Development
  • GE5018 Social Research Methods and Geomatics
  • GE5021 Going Places
  • GE6006 Sustainable Futures (module leader)
  • GE6019 International Field Experience (Human Geography) (module leader)


My research primarily focuses on the social dimensions of sustainable lifestyles and community resilience, material cultures of sustainable consumption, and young adults’ understanding of and engagement with notions of ‘sustainable futures’.  At present I am engaged in the following projects:

Growing Up Green: This project, now in the write-up stage, explored how sustainable everyday practices developed in childhood and adolescence are transposed into young adulthood contexts (e.g. away from the family home).  This research was funded by an RGS-IBG Small Grant (2018-19), project title: 'Growing Up Green: Young Adults' Everyday Sustainabilities after 10+ Years of the Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project'.

Local Lockdown Life/Home Grown Green: This open-ended, longitudinal study (with Dr Katharine Welsh) has been exploring the legacy of the COVID-19 lockdowns for creating shifts in everyday household consumption behaviours.  Originally funded by University of Chester internal funding, the current project phase (‘Home Grown Green’) focuses on the development of an app-based game to ‘nudge’ re-engagement with ‘green’ habits.  The original development of Home Grown Green was funded by an RGS-IBG Environment & Sustainability Grant (2021-22), project title: Gamifying Green: harnessing household habit changes catalysed by COVID-19.

New-old things and old-new things: This strand of research works with young adults as peer researchers to investigate tensions in concepts of ‘oldness’ and ‘newness’ in young adults’ clothing consumption.

Published Work

Journal articles (selected)

Collins, R. and E. Stanes (2023) “Ambivalent storage, multi-scalar generosity, and challenges of/for everyday consumption” Social & Cultural Geography, 24 (5), 738-757.

Collins, R., M. Rushton, K. Welsh, A. Cliffe and E. Bull (2022) ‘Nature, Nurture, (Neo-)Nostalgia?  Back-casting for a more socially and environmentally sustainable post-COVID future’, Social & Cultural Geography, 24 (3-4), 699-718.

Collins, R. and K. Welsh (2022) “The road to ‘local green recovery’: signposts from COVID-19 lockdown life in the UK” Area, 54 (3), 451-459.

Collins, R. (2020) “Great Games and Keeping it Cool: New political, social and cultural geographies of young people’s environmental activism”, Children's Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2020.1853677.

Cuzzocrea, V. and R. Collins (2019) ‘Wiki-transitions? Assessing the role of an online platforms for the study of youth transitions’, European Societies,


Collins, R. (2019) ‘Excessive… but not wasteful? The (un)sustainable material accumulations of youth’, cultural geographies, 27 (2)

McCullough, D. and R. Collins (2018) “Are we losing our way?” Navigational aids, socio‐sensory way‐finding and the spatial awareness of young adults', Area,

Collins, R. (2015) 'Keeping it in the Family? Re-focusing Household Sustainability, Geoforum, 60, 22-32.

Cuzzocrea, V. and R. Collins, R. (2015) 'Collaborative Individualization: Peer-to-peer action in youth transition', Young, 23 (2), 136-153.

Hitchings, R., R. Collins and R. Day (2015) ‘Inadvertent environmentalism and the action-value opportunity: reflections from studies at both ends of the generational spectrum’, Local Environment, 20 (3), 369-385.


Collins, R., J. Esson, C. O’Neill Gutierrez and A. Adekunle (2013) ‘Youth In Motion: Spatializing Youth Movement(s) in the Social Sciences’, Children’s Geographies, 11 (3), 369-376.

Autio, M., R. Collins, S. Wahlen and M. Anttila (2013) ‘Consuming nostalgia?  The appreciation of authenticity in local food production’, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 37 (5), 564–568.

Book chapters

Collins, R. (2020) 'Auto-ethnography: Managing Multiple Embodiments in the Life Drawing Class' for Hall, S.M. and H. Holmes (eds.) Mundane Methods: Methodological Innovations for Exploring the Everyday, Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Collins, R. (2018) ‘A Sustainable Future in the Making?  The Maker Movement, the Maker-Habitus and Sustainability’ for Price, L. and H. Hawkins (eds.) Geographies of Making, London: Routledge.

Collins, R. (2018) ‘Fashion acolytes or environmental saviours?  When will young consumers have had ‘enough’?’ for Ingleby, M. and S. Randalls (eds.) Just Enough, London: Palgrave Pivot. 

Hayward, B., R. Collins and S. Nissen (2016) ‘Children and Environment’, for The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, Wiley-AAG.


Collins, R. (2013) ‘The Edgeryders Guide To The Future’, Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.

Collins, R. and V. Cuzzocrea (2013) 'On Being Edgeryders: A Picture of Young Europeans Navigating Their Transition to an Independent Life', Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Conference papers (selected)


‘Gamifying Green: harnessing household habit changes catalysed by COVID-19’, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (Newcastle, UK/virtual), 30 Aug – 2 Sept 2022. 


‘Nested, emergent and uneven boundaries in young people’s attempts to ‘grow up green’’. RGS-IBG Annual Conference (virtual), 31 Aug – 3 Sept 2021.

‘The illogics of bobbles: garment ageing and the esteem-distaste paradox’, Produce Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) Virtual Conference, 26-28 May 2021. (With Megan Rushton, Research Assistant, non-presenting author.)


‘New-old jeans or old-new jeans? Contradictory aesthetics and sustainability paradoxes in young people’s clothing consumption’, Produce Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) Conference, Berlin, Germany, 18-20 September 2019.

‘Growing Up Green: Tracing the embodied legacies of community sustainability’. Nordic Geographers’ Meeting, Trondheim, Norway, 17-19 June 2019.


'Wastage denied: storage and sustainability in the home', RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Cardiff University, 31 Aug-2 Sept 2018.  (With Dr Elyse Stanes, University of Wollongong, non-presenting author)

'Looking uncomfortable: gazing and being gazed at in the life drawing class', RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Cardiff University, 31 Aug-2 Sept 2018.

“Nonsense, whimsy and little robots that beep: playfulness and pragmatism in hobbyist making”. Everyday Creativity conference, Morgan Centre for Everyday Life, University of Manchester, 10-11 July 2018.


“New-Old Jeans or Old-New Jeans? Unpicking paradoxical temporalities in young people’s clothing consumption”. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 30 Aug – 2 Sept 2016.


“‘Fashion doesn’t last long so you don’t need your items to’: Youth as friend or foe of sustainable fashion?”  The Emperor’s New Clothes conference, University of Leeds, 24 June 2015.

Invited talks, seminars and guest lectures (selected)

‘Localised Living and (Un)Sustainable Futures: Lost in Translation?’, research seminar for University of Sheffield, Department of Geography, 16 March 2022. 

‘Growing Up Green: Intimacies for/against Sustainable Living’, research seminar for University of Plymouth, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, 9 March 2022.

‘Intimacies for/against Sustainable Living’, research seminar for Keele University, Department of Geography & Geology, 28 April 2021.

‘Auto-ethnography: Managing Multiple Embodiments in the Life Drawing Class’, group research seminar (with book editors) for University of Sheffield Department of Sociology, 20 January 2021.

‘Intimacies for/against Sustainable Living’, research seminar for Cardiff University Department of Geography & Planning, 2 December 2020.

“A Youth Geographer’s Perspective on Reconnecting People & Place” (keynote), Cheshire & Warrington Annual Sub-Region Summer Conference, Tatton Hall, Knutsford, Cheshire, 14 June 2019.

“Pink, purple or teal? A colourful critique of neoliberal consumer womanhood in the workplace”, International Women’s Day, University of Chester, Chester, UK, 8th March 2019.

“Everyday material cultures and household sustainability”, Household sustainability and Social Inequalities workshop, Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester, 17 May 2018.

“Harnessing the Maker-Movement to Everyday Sustainability”, Department of Geography and Planning research seminar, University of Liverpool, 30 October 2014.


MA (Cantab), MSc (UCL), PhD (UCL), PG Cert. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Chester)

Professional Affiliations

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

RGS-IBG Geographies of Children, Youth & Families Research Group (Workshop Officer 2019-2022; Committee Secretary 2014-2017)

RGS-IBG Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (member)

Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) Conference Scientific Committee member

AHRC Stitching Together network member