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My aim is to identify where sustainability happens through intention, where it happens inadvertently, and where it is stymied by the inconsistencies, contradictions and paradoxes that characterise everyday life. 
Rebecca Collins

Research Interests

My research primarily investigates the multiple dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social and economic) as practised at personal, household and community levels.  I use augmented interviews – conversations directed by images, objects, or activities – to explore the minutiae of everyday practices.  My aim is to identify where sustainability happens through intention, where it happens inadvertently, and where it is stymied by the inconsistencies, contradictions and paradoxes that characterise everyday life. 

I am particularly interested in young adults’ practices of (un)sustainable living and have conducted research on this subject with young people aged 12-30 over a period of ten years.  At present I am working on two projects: the first, in which I am working with two students as peer-researchers, focuses on young adults’ responses to the tensions between novelty and ageing in clothing consumption; the second is an ethnographic study of Chester market as it transitions from its current location in the Forum to the new Northgate Development.

Latest / Proudest Achievement

I was pleased to receive funding from the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) in 2018-19 for a project entitled, “Growing Up Green: Young adults’ everyday sustainabilities after ten+ years of Ashton Hayes’s ‘Going Carbon Neutral’ project”.  This project built on many years of work by my colleague, Professor Emeritus Roy Alexander, and explored the long-term impact on young adults of growing up in a village community that was publicly committed to achieving carbon neutrality. 

I connected with as many young adults as I could reach who had grown up in Ashton Hayes since the commencement of the Going Carbon Neutral project and sought to identify to what extent the knowledge and habits that characterised that project had proved to be transposable into their adult lives away from the village.  I am in the process of writing up the outputs from this project and I have been invited to present research seminars on my findings at the universities of Cardiff and Keele later this year.

Further information

RGS-IBG Small Research Grant (2018-19)

Other applications currently pending outcome.

No publications related to this project are, as yet, in press.  Other recent publications that are illustrative of my work on young adulthood and the multiple dimensions of sustainability:

Contact 

Dr Rebecca Collins 

Deputy Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

Department of Geography & International Development

Faculty of Social Science

Email: rebecca.collins@chester.ac.uk

Twitter: @Collins_R_C

Website: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/departments/geography-and-international-development/staff/rebecca-collins