Home > Research > Researchers > Rebecca Whittle

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Rebecca Whittle supervises 1 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

Student research profiles

Show all »

View graph of relations

Dr Rebecca Whittle


Rebecca Whittle

Lancaster University

LEC Building



Tel: +44 1524 510261

Research overview

I’m a human geographer with apparently quite diverse interests in food, emotions, children & families, learning and failure(!) and sustainability. I also work part-time, so keeping my interests in check can be difficult!

However, at the heart of these different projects, I’m interested in relationality – put simply, in exploring the ways in which we come to connect with each other and the world around us...

As of August 2017 you can also find me on Twitter: @beccy_whittle

Research Interests

Current research

I’m currently attempting to work on 3 projects:

Baby on board: Exploring the impact of sling use on families’ experiences of space and place

Within the UK there is a growing interest in ‘babywearing’ (the practice of carrying babies and young children in slings). Today, many parents/carers are choosing slings as well as – or perhaps even instead of – prams and pushchairs as a means to transport and nurture their children. I first discovered slings when I had my son in 2014 and found them to be transformational for both of us. However, surprisingly little is known about the impact of sling use on parents/carers’ and children’s mobility practices and their experiences of space and place. This made me decide to start an action research project in partnership with Morecambe Bay Slings (Lancaster’s sling library) for whom I also volunteer regularly and Dr Rosie Knowles of the Sheffield Sling Surgery. I’m currently analysing the data and hope to have some results to share soon! For now, here’s a blog post that I wrote about the project: http://www.morecambebayslings.co.uk/index.php/2017/08/06/baby-on-board/ Suffice to say that it engages with a number of themes from previous work including on emotional geographies and work with children and families (the Hull Children’s Flood Project – see below)… I’m very grateful to LEC for the start up funding that they gave me for this work.

Failure to Learn, Failure to Grow: creating space to ‘fail’ in order to allow real learning to take place

This is another action research project supported by the Lancaster University Friends Programme which is funded by the generosity of alumni and friends of Lancaster University. It combines my research and teaching interests by focusing on the thorny topic of failure! It’s a collaboration with Liz Brewster (FHM), Hilary Simmons (SBS) and Will Medd, a professional coach. During the project, we’ll be working to develop and pilot a series of innovative, coaching-based resources for students, teaching staff and staff associated with Student Based Services. The resources will be designed to relieve students of the fear of failure and help them bring attention to their creative learning potential, thus delivering benefits for wellbeing, learning and employability. From a research perspective, I also hope to connect this to previous work that I conducted during the ‘Current’ project (see below) on emotions and relationality in the workplace.

Empowering Community Food Innovations: Developing experiemental knowledge-exchange spaces for AgriFood resilience in Todmorden

This pilot project, which is funded by the N8 AgriFood programme is being led by Katerina Psarikidou (Sociology) in collaboration with Dennis Touliatos (LEC) and Ben Campbell (Anthropology, Durham). The project explores community agrifood innovations – specifically, the Incredible Edible series of projects, in Todmorden – in order to understand more about what makes such initiatives resilient, and how they grow and spread. As part of the project, we are also going to pilot the development of a knowledge exchange hub which will bring researchers and community members together in a supportive context. This picks up on an interest in local and alternative food geographies that I developed during my PhD.

Previous Research

My PhD explored sustainability through an investigation of the relationship between alternative food networks and tourism in a UK context. This gave me an interest in food ethics and sustainability which continues today.

However, my interests in emotional geographies, resilience and sustainability have also developed from my work as a contract researcher on projects like 'Current' - a two-year EPSRC research project investigating sustainable energy use in an office environment http://current.lancs.ac.uk/, and the Hull Floods Projects. This involved participatory action research with adults and children to explore key dimensions of the longer term experience of flood recovery www.lec.lancs.ac.uk/cswm/hfp and www.lec.lancs.ac.uk/cswm/hcfp


I enjoy teaching and am particularly passionate about reflective learning and coaching-based approaches, which I’m trying to bring into the modules I’m involved in.

I’m also very happy to supervise students from undergrad through to PhD.

View all (28) »

View all (3) »

View all (7) »