Dr Emma Louise Sharp

BA/BSc (Auckland/Glasgow), MSc (Auckland), PhD (Auckland)

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Professional Teaching Fellow


I am a Geographer, with a research focus in food politics, gender, care, and, alternative economies. After completing my Masters degree in the School in 2004 in physical Geography (glacial geomorphology), I worked in government, consultancy, and the 3rd sector internationally on environmental management, education and humanitarian issues. In 2010 I returned to Auckland University, and have since been teaching on a breadth of courses, bringing a critical social science lens to environmental geographies. I consider aspects of environmental risk and uncertainty, environment/society relations and engagement, and environmental governance and justice with specific reference to gender and race. I bring aspects of my food research to all of these areas of teaching. I am a founding member of the NZ Women and Gender Geographies Research Network (2013 - ) and associated Puawai Collective. I lead the Critical Food Studies Group housed in ENV, and am an Associate Investigator with Te Punaha Matatini - Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland.

Research | Current

My research programme connects aspects of urban and rural food production and consumption. 2019 seed funding from the UoA Science Faculty Food, Food Production and Nutrition Theme, in collaboration with a colleague in Philosophy investigates care in dairy consumption and what this means for notions of nationalism and ritual. A collaboration with a Business School colleague compares dairy and meat consumption and how they are considered in relation to environment. Past Summer Scholar projects (and a current Science Scholar project) included work on care in diverse economies of fish ‘waste’ redistribution in the face of fisheries’ exploitations. I have a 2019/20 Summer Scholar project on the problem of Aotearoa’s meat and dairy waste.

My prior research on urban 'alternative food initiatives' applies care to diverse urban food production and concerns around sustainability and disconnect. My findings, that fringe, experimental, and even subversive practices, are important for the transformation of urban food systems in sustainable ways, have supported practitioner advocacy.

Teaching | Current













Postgraduate supervision

I am supervising/would be interested in supervising research students in areas of: Food waste/sustainable food systems; food production and big data; dairy and meat production; intersections of care/inequity/justice (and food/other); diverse and community economies - particularly volunteer economies (e.g. voluntourism).


2016 - David Burch Prize - Best Student Paper, Australasian Agrifood Research Network

2014 - Inst. of Aust Geog/ NZ Geog Soc - Outstanding Postgraduate Presentation Award 

2014 - Doctoral Academic Career Module Graduate, UoA

2012 - University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship

2007 - Distinction - Issues in Global Development, University of Reading, UK 

2004 - Kenneth B Cumberland Prize - Best Masters’ Thesis Prize, Department of Geography, UoA

2004 - First Class Honours - Masters Thesis in Geography, UoA

2001 - University of Auckland Universitas 21 Exchange Scholarship: University of Glasgow.

Areas of expertise

Alternative food initiatives, dairy consumption, meat consumption, food production and big data, food sustainability, food waste, food stories/narratives, diverse economies, care ethics, gender and equity, participatory action research.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2019 - Associate Investigator: Te Punaha Matatini (TPM) - CoRE at UoA

2017 - pres. Member: UoA Women in Science Network (WiS)

2017 - pres. Member: New Zealand Geographic Society Early Career Research Network (NZGS ECRN)

Jul 16 - pres. Member: Community Economies Research Network (CERN)

Jun 15 - Established the Auckland Food Researchers Collective for PG students at Auckland institutions working on food system issues

2014 - Member: University of Auckland Geography Association

2013 -  Interviewing panel for Tertiary Foundation Certificate shortlist candidates, UoA

Nov 13 - pres.  Reviewer for Journal: Health & Place

Nov 13 - Member: Social Science Discussion Group - PhD Human Geog. Working Group  

2013 - Founding member of Women and Gender Geog. Research Network (WGGRN)

Jul 13 – pres.  Contributor to Auckland Geography Collective Reading Group, ENV, UoA

Feb 13 – pres.  Member: Australasian Agrifood Research Network (AFRN)

2013 - Member of the Postgraduate Student Association, UoA

2010 - Contributor to Pacific Futures Thematic Group, ENV, UoA

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Sharp, E. L., Schindler, E., Lewis, N., & Friesen, W. (2016). Food fights: irritating for social change among Auckland’s alternative food initiatives. Kōtuitui : New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, 11 (2), 133-145. 10.1080/1177083X.2016.1158197
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/31065
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Nicolas Lewis, Ward Friesen
  • Sharp, E. L. (2016). (Intra-)activity of Alternative Food: Performing a Hopeful Food Future. Geopolitics, History, and International Relations, 8 (2), 7-21.
  • Sharp, E., Friesen, W., & Lewis, N. (2015). Alternative framings of alternative food: A typology of practice. New Zealand Geographer, 71 (1), 6-17. 10.1111/nzg.12069
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/26196
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ward Friesen, Nicolas Lewis
  • Sharp, E. L. (2014). Davidson, M and D Martin (Eds) (2014) Urban Politics: Critical Approaches. Reviewed. Urban Geography Research Group of Royal Geographical Society - Institute of British Geographers Related URL.

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 7, Room 733
New Zealand