Dr Rebecca Collins

Deputy Head of Department & Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

I am a human geographer with research interests in sustainable consumption and production, material culture, professional and hobbyist making, practices of repair, the 'maker movement', geographies of youth and intergenerational relations.  I am also currently exploring a nascent research interest in geographies of nudity and nakedness.

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.

Qualifications

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 (Committee Secretary 2014-2017)

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

MEND*RS research network - co-founder

Teaching

  • GE4002 Introduction to Human Geography (Module Leader)
  • GE4004 Tutorials (Module Leader)
  • GE5016 Geopolitics and the Global Economy (Module Leader)
  • GE5013/14 Researcher Development and Research Design (Tutor)
  • GE6001 Dissertation (Supervisor)
  • GE6006 Sustainable Futures (co-delivery)
  • GE6019 International Field Experience: Human Geography (co-delivery)

In addition, I contribute teaching and project support to GE4003 Foundations for Successful Studentship, GE4007 Introduction to Sustainable Development (University Centre Shrewsbury), and GE6017 Anthropocene.

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Research

Following doctoral research (thesis title: 'Excessive... but not wasteful?  Exploring young people's material consumption through the lens of divestment'; awarded 2014) which focused on rethinking approaches to engaging youth in the drive towards more sustainable consumption, my present research extends my interest in consumption, production, consumer culture and sustainability through four main areas of interest:

  • Exploring young people's understandings of 'enough' in the context of their everyday consumption
  • Exploring the aesthetics of sustainable consumption, particularly tensions in understandings of 'old' and 'new' material things (e.g. the nature of 'vintage'), and engagement with practices of repair, reuse and maintenance
  • The 'Maker Movement', hobbyist and professional making practices, and the spatiality of making, as linked to local-level making as a catalyst for more sustainable production and consumption
  • Prosumerism, particularly as a political and cultural crucible for youth cultures

I am also beginning to explore a new research interest in geographies of nudity, drawing on a range of feminist scholarship and extant geographical writing on the body as a site of power.

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

Published work

Books and Book Chapters

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. 

Collins, R. and A. Dixon (2017) 'Practice-led workshop-interviews' in Fletcher, K. and I. Grimstad Klepp (eds.) Opening uo the Wardrobe: A Methods Book, Novus Press.

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.

Journal Articles

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.

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.

Policy Publications

Collins, R. (ed.) (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.

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

Conference Papers

2016

“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.

2015

“‘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.

2014

'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.

2013

"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).

2012

"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.

2011

" '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.

2010

"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.