I completed my PhD at UCL with Kathy Homewood in 1998, a post doc with Bill Adams at Cambridge and then a short lectureship at Oxford, before moving to Manchester (the Global Development Institute) in 2005. I was awarded a personal chair there in 2012. In 2015 I moved to the University of Sheffield as Director of the Sheffield Institute of International Development (now IGSD). I joined ICTA at UAB 2022.
I much enjoy anthropological research which involves living with rural communities for one to two years. I´ve been fortunate to undertake three such periods in Tanzania in the course of my career. I also enjoy writing children´s books. I am a member of the Tanzanian Writers´ Forum and am completing a trilogy for upper middle grade readers that will be published in 2023 by African Professional Education Network, in Dar es Salaam. I love walking and cycling and checking the wind conditions to see if the conditions are right for kite-surfing.
My research covers many aspects of conservation social science, rural resource management and livelihood change. I have published on the social impacts of conservation, capitalism and conservation, media and celebrity and large-N studies of NGO sectors. As well as working in Tanzania, I have also conducted research in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. I have published around 200 papers and chapters. My books include Fortress Conservation, Celebrity Advocacy and International Development, Celebrity and the Environment, Nature Unbound (with Rosaleen Duffy and Jim Igoe), The Anthropology of Conservation NGOs (with Peter Billie Larson), Prosperity in Rural Africa? (with Christine Noe) Prosperity in Rural Africa? and Contested Sustainability (with Stefano Ponte and Christine Noe) Contested Sustainability. In pursuit of this work have held 2 personal fellowships from the ESRC and was awarded an Advanced ERC in 2022 for work on Conservation Data Justice.