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About Dr Rebecca Collins

I am a human geographer with research interests in sustainable consumption and production, sustainable communities, material culture, professional and hobbyist making, practices of repair, the 'maker movement', geographies of youth and intergenerational relations. 

I am keen to hear from fellow researchers, including potential PhD students, concerned with any of the above topics who might be interested in exploring research opportunities.


  • GE4002 Introduction to Human Geography
  • GE4007 Sustainable Development (Module Leader)
  • GE5013/14 Researcher Development and Research Design (social research methods strand leader)
  • GE5016 Geopolitics and the Global Economy
  • GE6001 Dissertation
  • GE6006 Sustainable Futures (Module Leader)
  • GE6019 International Field Experience: Human Geography (Barcelona) (Module Leader)


My research explores everyday consumption, grass-roots sustainability, and the intersections of youth culture(s) and consumer culture(s) through several related areas of interest:

  • How sustainable practices in childhood and adolesence 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'
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic has created micro-scale 'green shoots' of more sustainable household consumption practices This research, conducted with Dr Katharine Welsh, is currently funded by an RGS-IBG Environment & Sustainability Grant (2021-22), project title: Gamifying Green: harnessing household habit changes catalysed by COVID-19.
  • The aesthetics of sustainable consumption, particularly tensions in understandings of 'old' and 'new' material things, and engagement with practices of repair, reuse and maintenance.  This work currently takes the form of a series of pop-up repair workshops located across University of Chester campuses, branded as the #PopUpPatchChallenge
  • The 'Maker Movement', hobbyist and professional making practices, 'prosumerism', and the spatiality of making, as linked to local-level making as a catalyst for more sustainable production and consumption, and as a political and cultural crucible for youth cultures
  • Young adults' environmental care and activism

I am also engaged in a long-term autoethnographic enquiry based on my long-established life drawing practice.  Through this I'm exploring a number of themes linked to my identity as a critical feminist scholar, including notions of permission, proximity, consent, intimacy and the (de)sexualisation of the body.

Pedagogically, my interests relate primarily to student engagement with feedback and collaborative staff-student research projects.

Published Work

Journal articles

Collins, R., M. Rushton, K. Welsh, A. Cliffe and E. Bull (under review for Special Edition) ‘Nature, Nurture, (Neo-)Nostalgia?  Back-casting for a more socially and environmentally sustainable post-COVID future’, Social & Cultural Geographies

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

Collins, R. and E. Stanes (2021) “Ambivalent storage, multi-scalar generosity, and challenges of/for everyday consumption” Social & Cultural Geographies.  [Awaiting DOI.]

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

Healey, R. and R. Collins (2019) 'Addressing gender inequalities', Geography Review (A Level magazine) 

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 (2013) ‘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.

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.

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.

Collins, R. and V. Cuzzocrea (2012) 'Edgeryders: A Synthesis Report of the First Five Months', unpublished report to the Council of Europe.

Collins, R. and R. Hitchings (2012) 'A Tale of Two Teens: Disciplinary Boundaries and Geographical Opportunities in Youth Consumption and Sustainability Research', Area, 44 (2), 193-199.

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.

Conference Papers


‘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.


'Through the eyes of a maker: Affordance perception in everyday interactions with the material world', RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 27-29 August 2014.

'Keeping it in the Family: Co-producing familial roles in the context of managing the material home', RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 27-29 August 2014.

'Making space for youth prosumerism', RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 27-29 August 2014. 

'Keeping it in the Family: Negotiating the management of consumption in the home', Family Geographies: Care and Well-being Workshop, Brunel University/Royal Geographical Society, London, 28 April 2014.


"Communitarian Individualization - or, the role of trust and collaboration in youth transitions", RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 28-30 August 2013 (non-presenting author: V. Cuzzocrea).


"Living On The Edge: The Transition So Far", Living On The Edge Conference, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France, 14-15 June 2012.

" "New things just make you temporarily happy" - Exploring how young people experience consumption beyond acquisition" 2nd Nordic Conference on Consumer Research, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, 30 May - 1 June 2012.

"Happy Hedonist or Engaged Environmentalist?  The role of adolescents in the drive towards sustainable consumption", Sustainability: Concepts and Materials Conference, Department of Anthropology, University College London, UK, 18 May 2012.


" 'Until it breaks or I lose it, I'm not going to change it' - Teenage material consumption beyond acquisition". Lancaster University Sociology Summer School, UK, 4-6 July 2011.

" 'I would never chuck it away, I would have to recycle it' - Teenage material consumption as the crucible of sustainability". RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 2nd September 2011.

" 'Until it breaks or I lose it, I'm not going to change it' - Teenage material consumption beyond acquisition". European Sociological Association International Conference, Université de Genève, Switzerland, 10th September 2011.


"Structure-agency interrelations in young people's pro-environmental consumption behaviours". RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, UK, 3rd September 2010.

"Agency in young people's consumption choices".  RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-Term Conference, University of Aberystwyth, Wales, 6th March 2010.

Invited talks, seminars and guest lectures

‘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”, 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.

“No sex, please, we’re naked! Locating sanctuaries for the desexualised nude”. Research seminar series, Institute of Gender Studies, University of Chester, 11 May 2017. 

“Educating undergraduate geographers for/about/using the geographies of children and youth”, invited discussant. RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 30 Aug – 2 Sept 2016.

“Harnessing the Maker-Movement to Everyday Sustainability”, lecture for the University of Chester China Centre Summer School, 31 July 2015. 

““I’d hate to have to get rid of it, and I hate the thought of having to buy another one” Young people’s consumption and sustainability”, Department of Geography, University College London, guest seminar for MSc Environment, Science and Society, 9 March 2015. (Guest MSc seminars on similar themes in 2012, 2013 and 2014.)

“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)

RGS-IBG Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group (member)

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

AHRC Stitching Together network member

MEND*RS research network co-founder