Karen Anne Parkhill

Karen Anne Parkhill


Former affiliations

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

At the moment I do not have any funding available. However, I welcome applications from highly motivated and enthusiastic students interested in social dimensions (e.g. perceptions, policies, ethics, responsibility) of energy, climate change and Geoengineering.

Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests span energy geographies and geographies of risk.  I use qualitative methods to explore how the public and stakeholders engage with/resists notions of low carbon lifestyles and low carbon transitions, including examining how they themselves consume/perceive energy.  I am also interested in risk perception and how the public socially construct and engage with environmental and technocratic risks.  Such risks include: energy technologies such as civil nuclear power, renewables or coal with carbon capture and storage; climate change, and; geoengineering.  The interaction of place, space and context underpins and flows throughout all of these interests.


2016 Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Environment Department, University of York.


2015 Lecturer in Human Geography, Environment Department, University of York.


2013-2014 Lecturer in Human Geography, SENRGy, Bangor University.


2007-2013 Research Fellow, Cardiff University.


2002-2007 PhD, Cardiff University.


2001-2002 MSc, University of Nottingham.


1998-2001 BSc, University of Central Lancashire.

Employment History

2016 Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Environment, University of York

I teach Introduction to Human Geography, Tools and Techniques for Studying the Environment, Environment Field Project, and, Energy and Environment.


2015 Lecturer in Human Geography, Environment, University of York

The Environment department at the University of York have developed an exciting new degree entitled BA in Human Geography and Environment.  I am responsible (in the first instance) for convening the module 'Introduction to Human Geography'.  

Additionally, I (together with Butler and Bickerstaff, University of Exeter; Walker, Lancaster University) have been awarded funding from EPSRC for the grant entitled 'Welfare, Employment and Energy Demand: Examining Tensions and Opportunities in the Delivery of Demand Reduction'.

2013-2014 Lecturer in Human Geography, SENRGy, Bangor University

In 2014 I participated in the award winning Welsh Crucible programme that is designed to support future research leaders of Wales. My invitation to participate in the Welsh Crucible was predicated on the international research profile I have developed over the past 12 years. 

In addition to continuing my research, including publishing in high quality peer-reviewed international journals (e.g. Nature Climate Change, Global Environmental Change, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, Philosophical Transactions, British Journal of Sociology, Landscape Research, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) I was deeply involved in teaching at all levels of HE.   In 2014 I was nominated for the Student-led Teaching Award for Best New Lecturer.

2007-2013 Reearch Fellow, Understanding Risk Research Group, Cardiff University

I spent over 7 years with the Understanding Risk Research Group in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University.  In 2010 I (with other colleagues at Cardiff and the University of Nottingham) was awarded funding from UKERC/NERC on the project 'Transforming the UK Energy System: Public Values, Attitudes and Acceptability'. Using innovative methods including the use of an online scenario building tool, we explored knowledge of public views on changes necessary for whole energy system transformation, in order to inform the policymaking process and provide research evidence on public perceptions of low carbon transitioning.

Also in 2010 I (with other colleagues at Cardiff) was awarded funding from the ESRC/EPSRC for the project 'Energy Biographies: Understanding the Dynamics of Energy Use for Energy Demand Reduction'.  The project uses innovative qualitative methods (longitudinal work, photographs, MMS and videos) to look closely at how our use of energy is related to our understandings of our biographical past, as well as our hopes for the future.

I was also a researcher on another project:
Integrated Assessment of Geoengineering Proposals (IAGP).
Funded through a joint initiative with EPSRC and NERC this project aims to provide evidence and tools which will enable society to explore and evaluate the feasibility of geoengineering proposals. The Cardiff University teams’ role is to elicit and examine public perceptions of geoengineering.

Previously I had been a researcher on three other projects:
1) Climate Change and Energy Choices
Funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
2) Living with Nuclear Power in Britain. Funded by ESRC SCARR network.
3) Gender Theories and Risk Perception: A Secondary Analysis. Funded by ESRC.


  • G Geography (General)
  • H Social Sciences (General)

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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