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Dr Kerry Burton

Dr Kerry Burton

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 Washington Singer 121


Washington Singer Laboratories, University of Exeter, Perry Road, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK


My research examines the role of civil society participation within natural resource management, environmental action, and sustainability transitions. My PhD explored the alternative political, economic, and organisational spaces of international climate justice activism. Current research examines just transitions, community-led initiatives, sustainability practices, and alternative economic spaces. As part of the Exeter Multidisciplinary Plastics Research team (ExeMPLaR), I am currently researching how civil society initiatives can contribute to a circular economy through reconfiguring relationships between people and material goods through sharing, repairing, reusing, and reimagining. 

Broad research specialisms

Just transition

Alternative and diverse economic spaces (circular, sharing, community, and social economies)

Civil society participation in sustainable development and natural resource management

Civic methodologies and participatory research methods




PhD in Human Geography, University of Exeter

MSc in Sustainable Development, University of Exeter

Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Policy in an International Context, Open University

BA Media Arts, University of Plymouth



I have held a number of teaching and research posts: Postdoctoral Researcher in Smart Ecocities at the University of Exeter, Senior Teaching Associate in Human Geography at the University of Bristol,  Senior Lecturer in Geography and Environmental Management at UWE Bristol, and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow.

Research group links


Research projects

Current Project

ExeMPlaR: I am part of the Exeter Multi-disciplinary Plastics Research (ExeMPlaR) team, a UKRI/NERC funded project that brings together academics from across the University of Exeter. The project examines the possibilities afforded by circular economy approaches to significantly reduce plastic waste and pollution. Within the project, my research examines place-based initiatives to reduce plastic consumption, with a focus the systemic shifts that reconfigure relations between people and material goods through new social practices and diverse economic practices around avoiding, repairing, reusing, and sharing items and resources.

Past projects

Co-producing Climate Actions: This project recieved early career funding to work with voluntary groups and stakeholders creating community level flood resilience schemes in Bristol. The project included workshops and action research using design for real methods to create new community spaces that responded to both extreme weather events and ongoing needs for communal sites.

Sustainable Water Action (SWAN): This large multi-disciplinary EU funded project worked across European and US universities to examine water management and governance. Within the project, I examined the role of contestation and alternative spaces of participation in water governance. This included work on contestation and the Somerset levels flooding, and anti-fracking protests in Balcombe.


Recent grants and funding

2017-2019 ESRC Seminar Series: Increasing Civil Society's capacity to deal with changing extreme weather risk: negotiating dichotomies in theory and practice (Co-I). 

2018-2019 Climate Xchange: Extreme weather threats to care delivery

2018 Newton Fund: Social innovation for maintaining and restoring natural capital in post conflict Colombia 

2015-2016 UWE ECRF: re-imagining urban waters and co-producing climate actions 


Research grants

  • 2017 ESRC
    Increasing Civil Society's capacity to deal with changing extreme weather risk. Co-I


Supervision / Group

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