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Dr Judith Tsouvalis

Senior Research Associate

Judith Tsouvalis




Research Interests

I am a geographer and science and technologies studies (STS) scholar concerned with the changing interrelations between science, technology, people and the natural world and their role in making/remaking the world. To grasp how the material, physical, and biological are intertwined with the socio-cultural and political I use what have become known as ‘more-than-human’ modes of enquiry which are informed by concepts and approaches from STS, multispecies geographies, anthropology, process philosophy and new materialism.

My empirical work to date has focused on:

  • Reimagining and remaking public participation and democracy from a relational, constructivist STS perspective;
  • policy co-design in the UK (England’s post-Brexit Environmental Land Management (ELM) approach);
  • how digital technology figures in achieving participatory democracy and how it can impact harder-to-reach stakeholders (ELM co-design);
  • the role of power relations, competing epistemologies, and political legitimacy in environmental governance (industrial forestry, precision farming, plant biosecurity; ash dieback);
  • science and expertise and their role in depoliticizing environmental issues (catchment management; plant biosecurity);
  • the inclusion of more-than-humans in environmental politics and practice;
  • the driving forces and transformative effects of large-scale systems transformations (forestry and farming).

My research is characterized by a sustained engagement with a broad range of intellectual resources from STS, philosophy, geography, anthropology, political ecology and design theory, and a commitment to experimental, collaborative, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and inclusive research practices.

In 2011, I received a Lancaster University Staff Price for ‘Making complicated research or topics accessible and exciting to the general public, young people and non-specialists’ (Loweswater Care Project, 2008-2012).

My research tends to be highly policy-relevant and often involves close collaborations with Government civil servants and policymakers. I have sat on two UK Government Expert Panels:

  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs/Natural England’s joint expert panel on social science evidence for improving agri-environment outcomes (co-design of England’s post-Brexit agri-environmental policy (2018-2022) and
  • Environment Agency’s “Science Task Group for the Bassenthwaite and Windermere Restoration Program” (2008-2010)

I am a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Design and Policy Network and the Ecosystems Knowledge Network.


Academic profile

In April 2023, I joined the University of Lancaster’s School of Computing and Communications to work as a Senior Research Associate on the EPSRC-funded project Equity for the Older – Beyond Digital Access. A key concern of this project is to ensure that older adults are regarded as key stakeholders in decision-making processes about the digital economy and fully included in the co-production of digital futures. Previous research I conducted as a Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield (2018-2022; ESRC-funded project Agri-Environmental Governance Post-Brexit – Co-Production of Policy Frameworks) is highly relevant here as it entailed looking at the role played by digital technology and the ‘digital divide’ in participatory democracy.  Recommendations based on our findings there resulted in the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) investing in the provision of digital assistance and training on digital tools to end-users (chiefly farmers) to enable them to fully participate in the co-design of England’s post-Brexit Environmental Land Management (ELM) approach.

Between 2012-2018, I was a Research Fellow on the Leverhulme Trust-funded Making Science Public Program (University of Nottingham), where I contributed to the projects Models of Managing Science/Politics Boundaries in the Advisory System (plant biosecurity/ash dieback) and The Public Good of Global Food Security Research. The latter awoke my interest in the notion of ‘the public good’ and the idea of ‘environmental public goods’, both central to post-Brexit agri-environmental policy thinking in England. Between 2008-2012, I worked as a Research Associate for Lancaster University’s Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC), where I contributed to the development of a new, more-than-human, participatory approach to catchment management in the Lake District. This approach was informed by ideas of the late STS scholar Bruno Latour and the feminist philosopher and physicist Karen Barad and the project was funded under the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) program (Loweswater Care Project).

I have also held a three-year lectureship in Human Geography at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, where I had obtained my D.Phil. under the supervision of Prof. David Harvey, Prof. Erik Swyngedouw, and Prof. Michael Williams. My first class B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Geography is from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), University of London.


Additional Information



Tsouvalis, J. (2000) A Critical Geography of Britain's State Forests. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Tsouvalis, J. 2023. Disentangling waterworlds: The role of ‘agential cuts’ and ‘method assemblages’ in ontological politics – an example from Loweswater, the English Lake District. Special Issue: “Water Matters”. Environment and Planning E Nature and Space.

Hurley P, Lyon J, Hall J, Little R, Tsouvalis J, White V and Rose D. 2022. Co-designing the environmental land management scheme in England: The why, who and how of engaging ‘harder to reach’ stakeholders. People and Nature 4(3), pp 744-757.

Tsouvalis, J. 2019. The post-politics of plant biosecurity: a study of the British response to ash dieback in 2012 and the need for an intra-active collective politics of biosecurity. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 44(1), pp 195-208

Pearce, W., Grundmann, R., Hulme, M., Raman, S., Hadley Kershaw, E. and Tsouvalis, J. 2017. A Reply to Cook and Oreskes on Climate Science Consensus Messaging. Environmental Communication 11(6), pp 736-739

Pearce, W., Grundmann, R., Hulme, M., Raman, S., Hadley Kershaw, E. and Tsouvalis, J. 2017. Beyond Counting Climate Consensus, Environmental Communication 11(6) 723-730

Tsouvalis, J. 2016. Latour's object-orientated politics for a post-political age, Global Discourse, 6(1-2) pp 26-39

Waterton, C. and Tsouvalis, J. 2015. On the Political Nature of Cyanobacteria: Intra-Active Collective Politics in Loweswater, the English Lake District. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33(3), pp 477-493

Waterton, C., Maberly, S.C., Tsouvalis, J., Watson, N., Winfield, I.J. and Norton, L.R. 2015. Committing to place: the potential of open collaborations for trusted environmental governance. PLOS Series ‘Open Engagement: Exploring Public Participation in the Biosciences. DOI:10.1371

Tsouvalis, J and Waterton, C. 2012. The Loweswater Care Project, Cumbria: building ‘participation’ upon critique. RELU Special Issue on Expert Opinion in Environmental Management and Modelling. Environmental Modelling and Software 36, 111-121

Watson, N.M., Heathwaite, L., Maberly, S., Norton, L.R., Waterton, C., Tsouvalis, J. and Haygarth, P.M. 2009. Integrated catchment management and the WFD: Dealing with the complexity and uncertainty of diffuse pollution. Tearmann: Irish Journal of Agri-Environmental Research, 7, pp 195-210

Tsouvalis, J., Seymour, S., and Watkins, C. 2000. Exploring Knowledge-Cultures: Precision Farming, Yield Mapping, and the Expert/Farmer Interface. Environment and Planning A, 32(5), 909-924

Gerber (maiden name), J. 1998. Beyond Dualism – the Social Construction of Nature and the Natural and Social Construction of Human Beings. Progress in Human Geography, 21(1), pp 1-17


Little, R., Lyon, J. and Tsouvalis, J. 2022. “The co-design of post-Brexit agri-environmental policy: focusing on Environmental Land Management in England.” In Attorp. A, Heron, S. and McAreavey, R. (eds.) Rural Governance in the UK – Towards a Sustainable and Equitable Society. London, Routledge pp 54-77

Tsouvalis, J. 2018. “Monstrous materialities: ash dieback and plant biosecurity in Britain.” In: Nerlich, B, Smith, A., Hartley, S. and Raman, S. (eds.) ‘Here be monsters’: Science, politics and the dilemmas of openness. Manchester University Press, Chpt. 11, pp 195-2011

Waterton, C. and Tsouvalis, J. 2016. “An ‘experiment with intensities’: village hall reconfigurings of the world within a new participatory collective.” In Chilvers, J and Kearnes, M. (eds.) Remaking Participation: Science, Environment and Emergent Publics. London: Routledge (In 2018, the book received the EASST 2018 Amsterdamska award for a “significant creative collaboration in an edited book or special issue in the broad field of Science and Technology Studies”’).

Waterton, C., Norton, L., Tsouvalis, J. 2015. “The Loweswater Care Project, Cumbria.” In Catchment and River Basin Management: Integrating Science and Governance, a Volume of Case Studies and Synthesis, L. Smith, K. Porter, K. Hiscock, M.J. Porter, and D. Benson (eds.). UK: Routledge (Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management)

Norton L, Maberly S, Waterton, C, Watson N, and Tsouvalis, J. 2014. The relevance of scale to water governance: An example from Loweswater, UK. In: Padt F, Opdam P, Polman N, and Termeer C (eds.) Scale-Sensitive Governance of the Environment. Wiley: Blackwell

Tsouvalis, J, Waterton, C., Winfield, I. 2012.  “Intra-actions in Loweswater, Cumbria: New collectives, blue-green algae, and the visualization of invisible presences through sound and science”. In Gillian Rose and Diviya P. Tolia-Kelly (eds.) Architectures of Visuality. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.

Tsouvalis, J. 2005. “Cyborg cultures” in Sibley, D., Jackson, P., Atkinson, D., and Washbourn, N. (eds.) Cultural geography – A critical dictionary of key ideas, I.B. Tauris

Tsouvalis, J. 2005. “State Management and ‘scientific forestry’. Chapter 15 in Langton, J. and Jones G. (eds.) (2005) Forests and chases of England and Wales c.1500-c.1800: towards a survey and analysis. St. John's College/Oxbow Books. 118 + xviii pp.

Tsouvalis, J. 2000. “Socialized nature: England’s royal and plantation forests”. In: Cook, I. Crouch, D., Naylor, S., and Ryan, J. (eds.) Cultural turns / geographical turns: Perspectives on cultural geography. London: Longman

Tsouvalis, J. And Watkins, C. 2000. “Imagining and creating forests in Britain, 1890-1939.” In: Agnoletti, M. and Anderson, S. (eds.) Forest history: International studies on socio-economic and forest ecosystem change. CABI Publishing

Tsouvalis, J. 1998. “Making the invisible visible – ancient woodlands, British forestry policy, and the social construction of reality.” In: Watkins, C. (ed.) European woods and forests: Studies in cultural history. CABI Publishing.

Gerber, J., Holloway, L., Seymour, S., Steven, M., and Watkins, C. 1998. “New technologies and old knowledges: The impact of ‘precision farming’ on the management of the English countryside.” In: Croix, N. (ed) Environment et nature dans les campagnes. Nouvelles politiques, nouvelles practiques. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes


Lyon, J., Hurley, P., Hall, J., Tsouvalis, J., Rose, D C and Little, R. 2020. Inclusive design of post-Brexit agri-environmental policy: Identifying and engaging the 'harder to reach' stakeholders. A Quick Scoping Review. The Universities of Sheffield and Reading. Report.  

Hurley, P., Hall, J., Lyon, J., Tsouvalis, J., Rose, D C and Little, Ruth. 2020. Inclusive design of post-Brexit agri-environmental policy: Identifying and engaging the ‘harder to reach' stakeholders. An empirical study. Report. The Universities of Sheffield and Reading.

Tsouvalis, J. and Little, R.. 2019. Co-design, co-production and participatory policy making - Insights from the social sciences. Report. University of Sheffield.

Tsouvalis, J. and Little, Ruth. 2019 Factors influencing farmer participation in agri-environment schemes (AES) – evidence from the social sciences. Report. University of Sheffield.

Tsouvalis, J. and Waterton, C. 2012. Public participation as a process of de-politicization. Report. Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Maberly, S., Norton, L., Tsouvalis, J., Waterton, C., and Watson, N. 2012. New approaches to environmental governance: the Loweswater experience. Report from a Conference with Agency Representatives, Penrith, December 2010

Maberly, S., Norton, L., Tsouvalis, J., Waterton, C., and Watson, N. 2011: Understanding and acting in Loweswater: A community approach to catchment management. End of Award Report to the Rural Economy and Land-Use (RELU) Program

Tsouvalis, J., Seymour, S., Watkins, C., Holloway, L., and Steven, M. 2000: Farmers and precision farming. A study of attitudes and practices in Lincolnshire and Suffolk. Working Paper Nr. 34, University of Nottingham, Department of Geography

Seymour, S., Turner, R., Gerber, J., and Kinsman, P. 1998: Research into cost effective methods of influencing attitudes within the agricultural community in the Upper Hampshire Avon Catchment. The case of non-point source agricultural pollution and ‘best management practices’. A Report commissioned by the Environment Agency, March 1998.University of Nottingham

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