Jennifer Dodsworth

Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in Geography and the Environment

Supervisor: Professor Jamie Lorimer

Locating Communities in Digital Natures: Exploring the Politics of National Parks, Identity and Visual Social Media in the Lake District

Academic Profile

Jenny is a DPhil student interested in the cultural geographies and environmental politics of animals, agriculture, and nature conservation. Throughout her studies, she has also become increasingly interested in digital ecologies and visual methodologies, both of which are central conceptual elements to her PhD research. Prior to her DPhil, Jenny completed the School's MSc Nature, Society & Environmental Governance (Distinction). She also has an MA in Political Research (Distinction) and a BA (1st Class Hons) in Politics from Newcastle University. Jenny was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for NSEG from 2018-2019, and currently teaches on the Master of Land Economy at the University of Aberdeen.

Alongside her PhD, Jenny currently works as a research assistant for the European H2020 Research project Contracts2.0, where she focuses on the development of agri-environment contracts which are beneficial for farmers and for nature. She specialises in how results-based contracts and collective approaches in the uplands might be developed in the context of England's new agri-environmental schemes. Jenny is also a member of the Digital Ecologies research group.

Current Research

Jenny's current DPhil research focuses on the digital, cultural, and environmental geographies of rural landscapes. Her thesis examines the extent to which dominant representations and mediations of the Lake District National Park as a romanticised rural landscape have been continued through contemporary digital mechanisms of communication such as social media. The overarching aim of her thesis is to develop a digital ecology of the '#LakeDistrict', by exploring how these powerful imaginaries may be contested by local rural communities whose perspectives are absent in digital media, namely the fell farming families whose Herdwick sheep are often the subject of intense debate regarding the Lake District's management. Jenny's current research utilises a diverse range of experimental research methods, from large-scale digital analyses of existing online #LakeDistricts, to collaborative digital image elicitation with rural communities. Her studies address how social media inherits and transforms power relations between media and rural space, and how we might rematerialise a local, more-than-human account of the rural in the contemporary English context.

Awards and Funding

  • 2019: Fieldwork Research Grant, Our Common Cause, Foundation for Common Land & Heritage Fund
  • 2019: Paul Paget Award, Jesus College, University of Oxford
  • 2016: ESRC Studentship, School of Geography & the Environment, University of Oxford
  • 2016: AHRC Studentship, University of Cambridge (declined)
  • 2016: ESRC Studentship, Newcastle University (declined)
  • 2016: Best Dissertation Prize, MSc Nature, Society & Environmental Governance, University of Oxford
  • 2016: Steward's Award for Environmental Research, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
  • 2014: MA Postgraduate Scholarship, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University
  • 2014: John Wiseman Prize for Best Student Performance in Politics, Newcastle University