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Durham University

Department of Geography

Departmental Research Projects

Professor Nicky Gregson

Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44683
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 326

Contact Professor Nicky Gregson (email at


I returned to Durham University's Geography Department in October 2011, having left it in 1983. My previous appointments have been at Exeter (1983-84), Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1984-1990), and Sheffield (1990-2011).

I am currently the Department's Director of Research and I am on the module teaching teams for Introduction to Geographical Research (GEO1222) and Social and Cultural Geographies (GEO2561).

Once upon a time I was a historical geographer. So, I used to work in archives. My PhD research was on the transition to agrarian capitalism in North-west England. If you dig around hard enough in the archives of Economic History Review, you will find an article on that. For reasons to do with needing a job, in 1986 I reinvented myself as an interdisciplinary social scientist, working on the interface between human geography and sociology. My first contemporary social science project was on waged domestic labour. It appears as the book Servicing the Middle Classes (Routledge, 1994). My main current research interests are in the fields of consumption and disposal, 'recycling' and waste economies, and science in practice. The approaches that I take to those fields can be identified with traditions of work in material culture studies, cultural economy and STS and they typically involve working ethnographically.

Prospective postgraduates and post-docs: please drop me an email, together with a short synopsis of your interests and proposed area of study.

Anyone else wanting to know any more or to get in touch with me at:

I am interested in supervising research students in any of the below research fields.

Research Interests

External Supervisions

  • Sarah Rich (NE DTC, Newcastle)

Previous Supervisions

  • Judith Bush
  • Louisa Cadman
  • Rachel Colls
  • Rebecca Ellis
  • Helen Holmes
  • Anna Krzywoszynska
  • Tracey Skelton
  • Tina Skinner
  • Joby Williams

Research Groups

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Gregson, N Asbestos. In: Salter, M Making Things International 2: Catalysts and Reactions. University of Minnesota Press; 2016.
  • Gregson, N. & Crang, M. Waste, Resource Recovery and Labour: Recycling Economies in the EU. In: Michie, J. & Cooper, C. Why the Social Sciences Matter. Palgrave Macmillan; 2015:60-76.
  • Alexander, C., Gregson, N. & Gille, Z. Food waste. In: Murcott, A., Belasco, W. & Jackson, P. The Handbook of Food Research. Bloomsbury; 2013:471-485.

Journal Article

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2014: Re:heritage. Circulation and marketization of things with history (£106270.72 from Swedish Research Council)
  • 2013: Illicit economies and the spaces of circulation (£196537.50 from ESRC)
  • 2013: Transformative Research Funds (£50000.00 from ESRC)
  • 2011: Photovoltaics for Future Societies (£298699.60 from Epsrc)
  • 2012: Between waste and value: legality, materiality and models (£4951.00 from ESRC)
  • 2012: Energy from Waste: Making Markets from Anaerobic (£6607.85 from Epsrc)
  • 2012: Estimating baseline levels of re-use exchange activity via car boot sales (£10156.00 from DEFRA)
  • 2011: Projected Futures: thinking novel and emerging technologies through real world technological networks and social practices (£20679.73 from Epsrc)