Emma Garnett

Emma Garnett is currently a senior lecturer in human geography at the University of Exeter

What was the focus of your work?

My project was titled ‘A sociology of air pollution: examining how configurations of ‘health’ are being extended through data practices’. It aimed to explore the ways in which health is being configured in interdisciplinary air pollution research and policy, how emerging technologies and new kinds of data practices are shaping understandings of environment, bodies and pollution, and the implications of these developments on who can contribute to science and how.

During the fellowship, I disseminated my doctoral research to a range of different audiences (scientists, policy makers, and publics) through publications and presentations. This work also resulted in a series of other activities, including contributing and helping to organise an arts festival on air quality, convening a series of conference panels, presenting at workshops, contributing to an interdisciplinary ‘dialogue’ on air pollution and global health, practising new sociological methods and building collaborations with researchers in air pollution and health research that have been formative to my work since.

What did the Mildred Blaxter fellowship offer you that you would not otherwise have been able to do?

It was a real honour to be awarded the Mildred Blaxter fellowship and I am very grateful for the range of opportunities it afforded. One of the most valuable aspects of the fellowship was the freedom and scope it encouraged, which enabled me to effectively move on from being a PhD student and become a post-doctoral researcher. This was a transformative experience because of the time and support if offered to write publications and lay the ground-work for new research ideas and future project proposals. The fellowship was a chance to think creatively and independently about the sociology of air pollution and health by reading, writing and engaging with new ideas that helped me align key themes from my PhD but most importantly stimulate renewed perspective, critical insight and inspiration for where I should take it next.

What are you doing now?

I am currently a research fellow in the School of Population Health and Environmental Sciences at King’s College London and member of the Social Science and Urban Public Health Institute. My position at KCL is funded by an ESRC New Investigator Award which I received for the project ‘Sensing Bodies’ developed during my Mildred Blaxter fellowship. I am also a Research Associate in the School of Informatics at University of Edinburgh where I am pursing interdisciplinary research around personal air pollution sensors.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for a Mildred Blaxter fellowship?

Apply! Think about all the things you need to do – write, submit grants and share your work and ideas with others – but also have a clear plan of what you want to do next, why and how you intend to achieve this.

After the award…

You can find out more about Emma’s work on her webpages here and here, and follow her on Twitter. Publications arising from her Mildred Blaxter fellowship include: