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 focus on 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, education and humanitarian issues. In 2010 I returned to Auckland University, and have since been teaching on a breadth of courses such as: Foundation Geography; Science Communication; Society & Environment; and, Politics, Markets & Economies. 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 am an Associate Investigator with Te Punaha Matatini - Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland.

Research | Current

New Zealand’s food industry has been widely studied but little is known about ‘alternative’ food initiatives (AFIs) in urban contexts. Contemporary scholarship has struggled with what to make of these initiatives given the diversity of political projects that they embody, and what it means for them to be considered as 'alternative' to the dominant, industrialised food system. I have been thinking about the way that particular food practices engender a disconnect from our food while others engender affect and affectedness and are perhaps generative of a more just and ethical food future. I have an interest in 'alternative food' as counter practice, because of its geographies of hope and care, its possibilities of doing other in the world, and its possibilities of doing food differently. 

My research methods draw particularly on activist ethnographic research and participatory fieldwork, including autoethnographic narrative. I use these methods to explore the practice and agency of various actors (human and non-human) in Auckland’s food landscape. My work investigates the transformative potential of  AFIs, highlighting how alternative food practice assembles, evolves, transgresses boundaries of ethics, convention and regulation, and relates, for a hopeful, care-full, reimagining and practice of food.



Teaching | Current

Dec 2018 - 2019 Professional Teaching Fellow, ENV

Oct 2018 Guest Lecturer: GEOG 327 Special Topic - Politics, Markets, Economies

Jun - Nov 18 Professional Teaching Fellow: SCIGEN 101/G, UoA 

Feb - May 18 Parental leave 

Jan - Feb 18 Course Tutor & Guest Lecturer: GEOG 205 Environment & Society, ENV, UoA 

Jul - Dec 17 Professional Teaching Fellow - Co-coordinator GEOG 92F & 92P, ENV, UoA

Feb - Jun 16 Professional Teaching Fellow - Course Coordinator: GEOG 91P, ENV, UoA

Jan - Feb 16 Course Tutor and Guest Lecturer: Stage II Environment and Society, ENV, UoA

Jan - Jul 15 Parental leave 

Jan - Mar 14  Course Coordinator: Stage II Environment and Society, ENV, UoA

Aug 10/11/13  Course Tutor: Stage III Research Design & Methods in Human Geography, ENV, UoA

Apr & May 13/14/16/17  Guest Lecturer: Tertiary Foundation Certificate Programme, UoA

Mar - Dec 13  Tutor: Tertiary Foundation Certificate Programme, UoA

Nov 10  Guest Lecturer: Geography Teachers’ Training, Department of Education, UoA

Jun - Dec 10  Course Coordinator (Research Leave cover): Tertiary Foundation Certificate, ENV, UoA

Jan-Mar 04  Course Coordinator: Stage II Environmental Processes and Management, SGSES, UoA

Jul - Nov 03  Tutor: Stage II Physical Geography, Dept of Geography, UoA

Mar-Jun 03 & 04  Tutor: Stage I Physical Geography, Dept of Geography, UoA


Postgraduate supervision

PhD Supervisors: Ward Friesen, Nick Lewis. Advisor: Francis Collins

MSc Supervisors: Paul Augustinus, Paul Williams


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

Auckland's alternative food initiatives, diverse economies, food citizenship, food stories, ethics of care

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