School of Earth and Environment

Stephen Whitfield Dr Stephen Whitfield

Lecturer: Climate Change & Food Security

Telephone number: +44(0) 113 34 39754
Email address:
Room: 9.112

Affiliation: Sustainability Research Institute


My main research interests are in socio-politics of agri-food systems and the multiple priorities and challenges associated with these systems, both in the UK and overseas.

I am currently working on a project on documenting change in agricultural practice in the Yorkshire Dales, with particular emphasis on the role of agricultural subsidy reform in guiding these changes.

In recent research I have taken a critical political look at conservation agriculture as a climate smart agricultural development pathway in Zambia and Malawi. My PhD research took a multi-sited and critical look at how knowledge and narratives of future change in Kenyan maize agriculture are constructed by a variety of actors; including crop breeders, climate scientists, biotechnology regulators, and smallholder farmers. In both cases, I was asking who is framing development agendas, through what narratives, on the basis of what evidence and assumptions, and with what implications?

I have worked on projects in the UK as well as in Africa and Latin America and have a broad interest in agricultural development, climate change adaptation, natural resource managemet and ecosystem services.


2011-2014 PhD (Development Studies)

Institute of Development Studies/STEPS Centre, University of Sussex (supervised by Prof. Ian Scoones) :

‘Negotiating an Uncertain Future: A Multi-Sited Study of Narratives of Kenyan Agricultural Climate Change Adaptation’

Funded through the ESRC Open Competition – In affiliation with the CGIAR’s Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Group

2008-2009 MSc (Environment and International Development)

University of East Anglia

(+ Winner of UEA School of International Development Postgraduate Dissertation Prize)

2004-2007 BA Honours (Geography)

Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

Part 2 Dissertation: (First Class) (+ Winner of the UK’s Rural Research Group’s Undergraduate Dissertation Prize and the University of Cambridge’s William Vaughan Lewis Prize)

Teaching Interests

I teach the Undergraduate modules 'Environmental Science for Environmental Management (SOEE1460)' and 'People, Environment and Sustainability (SOEE2371)'

I contribute to the Masters module 'Critical Perspectives in Environment and Development (SOEE5483M)'