Emma Waight Ph.D

Lecturer, Researcher, Writer


Emma Waight.

Assistant Professor, Design Management.

Research Associate, CAMC.

PhD Geography

MPhil Design

emmawaight @

emma.waight @

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I started my career in the fashion industry but quickly, albeit idealistically, decided that wasn’t for me. Conducting an MPhil degree in sustainable fashion supply chains enabled me to transition, not just to research, but also to a different discipline: I completed my PhD in Human Geography in 2015. My PhD used mixed methods to investigate the social, economic, and cultural role of nearly new sales – a fundraising and support service offered by the UK parenting charity NCT. My findings contributed to the academic literature around motherly consumption and diverse economies, and also informed the charity’s internal membership and fundraising policy. During this time I was doing a lot of freelance writing on fashion and ethical living and was featured in The Guardian and Veggie Magazine, among others. I founded the (now defunct) website and co-founded the Oxfam Fashion blog.


Following my PhD I held two post-doctoral research roles at the University of Southampton and stepped back from blogging in order to focus on my academic career. The first (in partnership with Sainsbury’s) explored older people’s grocery shopping experiences in the UK and China, with the aim of improving supermarket service for the ageing population. The second comprised working with Southampton Doctoral College to investigate doctoral student wellbeing and access to support. This led to me working with Student Services to design a range of support resources and interventions, including a supervisor handbook and ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ campaign. Immediately before joining Coventry University in 2018 I was a Visiting Lecturer at Winchester School of Art (teaching design management) and at the University of Winchester (teaching geography and sociology). I am now Assistant Professor in Design Management at Coventry University with my teaching and research inspired by my multidisciplinary background in design and human geography.


Considering my background, it’s no surprise that I have a broad range of research interests, namely:

•  Sustainable and second-hand consumption •  Material cultures of parenting and mothering •  Design for ageing •  Doctoral student experiences •  Wellbeing and mental health •  Academic writing.


I am inspired by theoretical theories that move towards a holistic understanding of human experience within (not detached from) space and time. This includes the new materialisms, posthumanism, non-representational theory, servicescapes, and assemblage theory. My PhD drew on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and I still find his concepts helpful.


CV in brief


2011-2015 University of Southampton, UK.

PhD, Human Geography (2015) ESRC RIBEN full doctoral studentship. Thesis: “The Social, Cultural and Economic Role of NCT Nearly New Sales: Second-Hand Consumption and Middle-Class Mothering”

2016–2020, University of Surrey, UK.

MA with Distinction, Higher Education (2020)

2006-2011 Solent University, UK.

MPhil, Design Management (2011) University funded. Thesis: “Fashion Ecology: Communicating the Environmental and Social Impacts of Producing a Cotton Garment" 

PG. Certificate, Research Methods (2010)

1st Class BA (Hons), Fashion Promotion and Communication (2009)


Fellow, Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Fellow, Chartered Management Institute (FCMI)

Fellow, Royal Geographical Society (FRGS)

Member, American Association of Geographers (AAG)


Assistant Professor in Design Management 2018- present including:

Course Director: MA Design Management 

Research Associate: Centre for Arts, Memories and Communities (CAMC) (Jan. 2020- present)

Link Tutor: MA Design Management, Raffles College of Higher Education, Singapore. (July 2019- present)

Visiting Lecturer 2016- present

Research Fellow 2014- 2015

Lecturer in Geography and Sociology 2016- 2017

Coventry University, UK.
Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton
University of Winchester, UK.


Peer-reviewed articles

Waight, E. (under review) Doctoral writing as an assemblage in space and time. Journal of Further and Higher Education.


Waight, E. (under review/accepted for special issue) What can cultural geography offer to the employability agenda? A reflection on powerful knowledge. Journal of Geography in Higher Education.


Waight, E. and Yuanyuan, Y. (2021) Using non-representational theory to explore older people’s travel to the supermarket. Mobilities.


Waight, E. (2019) Mother, consumer, trader: Gendering the commodification of second-hand economies since the recession. Journal of Consumer Culture, 19(4), pp.532-550.


Waight, E. and Boyer, L.K. (2018) The role of the non-human in relations of care: baby things. cultural geographies, 25(3), pp. 459-472.


Waight, E. and Giordano, A. (2018) Doctoral student access to non-academic support for mental health. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 40(4), pp. 390-412.


Waight, E. (2014) Second-hand consumption among middle-class mothers in the UK: thrift, distinction and risk. Families, Relationships and Societies, 3(1) pp.159-162.


Waight, E. (2013) Eco babies: reducing a parent's ecological footprint with second-hand consumer goods. International Journal of Green Economics, 7(2), pp.197 – 211.

Book chapters

Waight, E. (2020) Using photovoice to explore students’ study practices. In, Kara, H. and Khoo, S. Researching in the Age of COVID-19, Volume 3: Creativity and Ethics. Bristol, Bristol University Press, pp. 180-189.


Waight, E. (2018) Hand-me-down childrenswear and the middle-class economy of nearly new sales. In Ince, A. and Hall, S.M. (ed.) Sharing Economies in Times of Crisis: Practices, Politics and Possibilities, Routledge: Abingdon, pp.96-109.


Waight, E. (2015) Buying for Baby: How middle-class mothers negotiate risk with second-hand goods. In Casey, E. and Taylor, Y. (ed.) Intimacies, Critical Consumption and Diverse Economies, Palgrave Macmillan: London, pp.197-215.


Alexis-Martin, B., Waight, E. and Blell, M. (May 2019) Nuclear Families: A social study of British nuclear test veteran community families. Report for The Nuclear Community Charity Fund.


Waight, E. Yin, Y. (April 2015) Improving supermarket service design for customers aged 65+. Report for Sainsbury’s.


Waight, E. (June 2014) The social, cultural and economic role of NCT nearly new sales. Report for NCT (formerly National Childbirth Trust).

Book reviews

Waight, E. (2020) Book review. Gender, Ageing and Extended Working Life: Cross-National Perspectives, (eds) Ní Léim, A., Street, D., Vickerstaff, S., Krekula, S., and Loretto, W. (2019). Policy Press, UK. British Journal of Industrial Relations 58(4) pp.1041-1042


Waight, E. (2017) Book review. Habits of Being II: Exchanging Clothes. (eds.) Giorcelli, C. and Rabinowitz, P. (2012) University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis. Journal of Consumer Culture 17(3), pp.935-938.

Selected blogs