Sarah Marie Hall

Sarah Marie Hall

Professor

  • 1.056 Arthur Lewis Building, Oxford Road, University of Manchester

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

Personal profile

Biography

My research sits in the broad field of geographical feminist political economy: understanding how socio-economic processes are shaped by gender relations, lived experience and social difference. My research interests and contributions can be boiled down to three key areas: everyday life and economic change; social reproduction, care, ethics and consumption; and feminist praxis. 

I came to the University of Manchester in October 2012 as a Hallsworth Research Fellow in Political Economy. In September 2015 I took up the position of Lecturer in Human Geography and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018, Reader in 2020 and Professor in 2022. I am a member of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives and Manchester Urban Institute, where co-chair the Urban Justice, Gender and Social Difference Feminist Collective. From 2019-2020 I held an ISRF Political Economy Research Fellowship on the theme of reproduction and austerity. In February 2021 I began a £1.5m UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship on the theme of Austerity and Altered Lifecourses, a 4+ year project across the UK, Spain and Italy.

I live in Liverpool with my partner and my dog, Max. I came to the North West when I started university, and I am originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire. I come from a working class background and am a proud advocate for others from marginalised backgrounds looking to study and research in universities.

Research interests

My research interests span the following themes:

  • gender and feminist theory
  • families, friendship and intimacy
  • austerity, crises and economic change
  • ethics, care and social reproduction
  • consumption 
  • everyday life
  • ethnography, oral histories, creative and feminist methodologies

Other research

Research Projects

Austerity and Altered Lifecourses, 2021-2025 (with Drs Ackerley, Cuzzocrea, Fenton, Leyva del Rio and Marre, funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship)

This project explores how ten years of austerity policies across Europe have led to 'socio-political ruptures' in young people's life-course biographies. It takes an in-depth and comparative look at how austerity is experienced by young people in three devolved or autonomous European regions: Greater Manchester (UK), Barcelona Province (Catalonia, Spain) and Sardinia (Italy). Project partners are drawn from across third sector organisations, housing associations and grassroots movements, and supported by academic collaborations. We will develop creative oral history methods, comparative design, and co-production techniques to elucidate the interconnections of three types of socio-political ruptures for young people - housing, employment and socially reproductive decisions - across the three regions. See recent papers 'For Feminist Geographies of Austerity' and 'A grammer for non-teleological geographies', both published in Progress in Human Geography.

Lived Experiences of Childbearing in Contemporary Austerity, 2019-2020 (funded by an ISRF Political Economy Fellowship)

Integrating feminist, political economy and geographical approaches, particularly drawing upon theories of reproductive rights, justice and social reproduction, this project explore the everyday realities of people for whom austerity has had a significantly impact on their current and future family lives. The project utilises oral history and future interviews to engage with real-life experiences of socio-economic barriers, the findings of which are anticipated to provide fresh insights about the relationship between reproduction and contemporary austerity. You can read more on the project here, and in recent papers in Area, Soundings and Medical Anthropology, and a piece on 'The Social Life of Crisis' in the ISRF Bulletin.

Methods for Change, 2020-2021 (with Drs Ali Browne, Amy Barron, Laura Pottinger, Ulrike Ehgartner and Jonny Riston, funded by a Research England ASPECT Grant)

Methods for Change seeks to amplify methodologies developed by social scientists to research pressing societal issues, and to make a case for their wider application beyond academia. The project collates innovative and transformative social science methods, and demonstrates how they could be used to create change in diverse, non-academic contexts. Reflecting on cutting edge research within the social sciences and humanities at the University of Manchester and Aspect partner institutions, the project translates these methods into written, audio-visual and creative guides to be shared with industry, business, the charity sector and a range of academic and non-academic stakeholders. See our webpage for more information, or get in touch with us! We also recently published a piece in Geo, which you can read here.

Learning from 'left behind' places: everyday hopes and fears for the future after Brexit in England, 2019-2020 (with Prof. Edwards and Drs Evans, Harries and Smith, funded by an ESRC Governance After Brexit Grant)

This project investigates how residents of four urban areas in England think about Brexit and its consequences. It studies their hopes, aspirations and anxieties about the future after Brexit and is focused on four electoral wards in three English cities. These are places where large post-industrial, social and economic changes, together with government policies of austerity, have contributed to experiences of marginalisation and exclusion amongst many residents. They have been identified in social scientific, political and media accounts as 'left behind' places. My sub-project is based in Gorse Hill, Greater Manchester, and with community researchers we have developed a podcast on 'Everyone's Got an Opinion on Brexit'. More on the project here or see my 2021 Transactions paper.

Everyday Family Life in Austerity, 2012-2015 (funded by a Hallsworth Fellowship, University of Manchester)

A study exploring the impact of austerity on everyday family life, with a focus on familial and intimate relationships (especially gender, class and intergenerationality). The project involved a longitudinal ethnography with families in Greater Manchester. Writing projects include papers in TransactionsProgress in Human GeographyGeoforum, Social & Cultural Geography, Gender, Place & Culture, Area and Geography Compass, and a co-edited collection (with Dr. Anthony Ince, Cardiff Uni) entitled 'Sharing Economies in Times of Crisis: Practices, Politics and Possibilities' in the Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy series. The book Everyday Life in Austerity came out in 2019 with Palgrave-MacMillan as part of their Geography series and Family & Intimate Lives series. I won the PSA Inaugural Jo Cox Prize 2017 for this project.

The Everyday Austerity Exhibition was the culmination of this research. Ethnographic accounts were turned into a series of original drawings by North-West zine maker Stef Bradley, exhibited alongside field notes, sound-bites, and collected materials to ‘lift the lid’ on austerity. This unique multi-sensory exhibition first opened to the public in July 2016, and then embarked on a year-long Ten Borough Tour of Greater Manchester, visited by thousands of people across the region and beyond. Check out the website for more information, including the Everyday Austerity zine, and follow #livedausterity on twitter.

Working-Class Youth Voice and Inter-generational Justice in Manchester’s Devolution, 2016-2018 (with Dr Laura Pottinger, University of Manchester; funded by ESRC IAA)

Local campaigns, such as Powerhouse Pioneers led by Manchester’s leading Youth Engagement Charity, RECLAIM, have raised concerns about the audibility of young people's voices in the Northern Powerhouse. They highlight that ensuring young people are at the centre, rather than the periphery, of discussions about the Northern Powerhouse and Manchester's Devolution is one way in which equitable social change and inter-generational justice may be achieved. This project involves ethnographic and participatory research, and will produce an in-depth evaluation of campaigning activity, and a series of resources including a toolkit, manifesto and film each created in collaboration with young people. Our most recent paper from the project includes a piece co-written with Team Future in Local Economy.  

Gender, Race, Disability and Austerity, 2016-2018 (with the Women's Budget Group and Dr Laura Pottinger, University of Manchester; funded by Barrow Cadbury Foundation)

The project sets out to provide, for the first time in the UK context, evidence of the distributional impact of austerity policies by income, gender, ethnicity and disability and, crucially, at their intersection. This will combine qualitative and quantitative research to provide a comprehensive assessment of the distributional impact and lived experience of austerity policies on BAME women since 2010. The qualitative research involves a collaboration with BAME service providers and BAME women in Coventry and Manchester. I am responsible for the Manchester-based research, partnered with Dr Laura Pottinger and RECLAIM, involving knowledge-exchange, participatory methods and in-depth interviewing. As well as feeding into the final report, the research will be used as the basis for a short animated film to disseminate the findings to wider audiences. Our project report was launched in Parliament in October 2017 and can be found here.

Unpacking the personal and political potential of cookery classes in low-income communities, Manchester, 2017-2018 (with Cracking Good Food and Laura Pottinger, Megan Blake, Christian Reynolds, Wendy Wrieden, Susannah Mills; funded by N8 AgriFood partnership)

Being taught cookery skills can empower individuals to be imaginative, resourceful and healthy in their food creations, although limited research explores the material, social and relational benefits. Taking the case of community cooking classes, this project unpacks the impacts and potential of social cooking for those from low-income backgrounds. Partnered with Cracking Good Food (CGF) Manchester, and a novel interdisciplinary team across three UK institutions (Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield), the project is based in two of Manchester's most deprived areas – Moston and Old Moat.

Exploring and Articulating Ethics in Consumption: A Multi-Method Analysis, 2006-2010 (funded by ESRC 1+3 Open Competition Award)

Applying feminist theories of care ethics, gendered labour and moral responsibilities, and involving two years of ethnographic research with families, interviews with companies and research in schools, this project explored ways of understanding consumption as an everyday ethical practice. To date, papers from this project have been published in Environment and Planning A, Area, Geoforum, Local Environment, Mobilities, Social & Cultural Geography and the Journal of Economic Geography, as well as a number of book chapters. Work from this project has also been awarded a number of prizes, including: Giorgio Rota Best Paper Award Winner 2012; Economic Geography Research Group PhD Best Thesis 2012; Ede & Ravenscroft Prize 2009; and Economic Geography Research Group Best Masters Thesis 2008.

 

Opportunities

Please note: I am not able to accept any further supervision requests for doctoral students commencing studies in the academic year 2024/2025. 

I am happy supervise PhD students who are interested in any of the following topics:

- Feminist Geographies, Gender and Social Difference

- Familial, Personal, Intimate and Everyday Life/Lives 

- Austerity, Crises and Economic Change

- Life-courses, young people, generations and biographies

- Consumption practices

- Ethics, Care and Social Reproduction

- Ethnographic, Participatory, Oral History, Futures and Creative Research

 You are welcome to contact me at any time to discuss ideas you might have for a PhD.

Current PhD Students:

Graham Burvill 'Financial Insecurity in Great Britain: A Mixed Methods Analysis of Debt, Decision Making, and Financial Resilience Amongst Lone Parents', ESRC +3 CASE Studentship (with Citizens Advice, supervised with Jackie Carter)

Hannah Slocombe, 'Baby Bank use in the UK: Exploring the adverse impact of austerity on those expecting, or with, a baby or young infant', ESRC +3 Open Award (University of Liverpool, supervised with Kathy Burrell and Morag Rose)

Poppy Budworth 'The everyday lives of young people living with an ostomy: space, time, relationships, and
identities'ESRC +3 CASE Studentship (with Get Your Belly Out, supervised with Caitlin Henry and Bethan Evans)

Maddy Routon 'Making Home in the Margins: Creative Precarity and Placemaking in London's Squats', SEED Doctoral Scholarship (supervised with Erik Swyngedouw and Santi Leyva del Rio)

Arielle Lawson 'Feminist Urban Activism in 1970s New York City and London', SEED Doctoral Scholarship (supervised with Tom Gillespie)

Xin Li 'Fair Shelter: Civic Infrastructures of Care for Bodies in Pain', SEED Doctoral Scholarship (supervised with Deljana Iossifova and Ali Browne)

Completed PhD Students: 

Dr Laura Pottinger 'Cultivating alternatives: crafting, sharing and propagating seed-saving practices, UK', SEED +3 Scholarship (supervised with Noel Castree and Mark Jayne) 

Dr Heather Piggott 'Exploring Women’s Labour Market Participation in Rural Bangladesh and India Using Mixed-Methods: Social Attitudes, Social Norms and Lived Experiences', ESRC-DFID +3 Studentship (supervised with Wendy Olsen and Kunal Sen)

Dr Julia Mills 'Personal Recovery Geographies: An Ethnographic Study of Sustained and Long-Term Recovery from "Alcoholism"’, Leverhulme Scholarship and ESRC +2 Open Award (supervised with Bethan Evans, Mark Jayne and Fiona Smyth)

Dr Lauren Greehy 'Making sense of perfume: a geographical study', ESRC 1+3 Open Award (supervised with Chris Perkins and Martin Hess)

Dr Liz Ackerley 'Young People's Activism in Times of Austerity: An Ethnographic and Participatory Study', ESRC 1+3 CASE Studentship (with RECLAIM, supervised with Kevin Ward, Laura Pottinger and Bethan Evans)

Dr Mohd Helmi Bin Abu Yahya 'Homelessness and Political Agenda in Southeast Asia', Malaysian Government PhD Scholarship Award (supervised with Diana Mitlin)

Dr Alex Kendrick 'What is "lad culture" and how are universities responding to it? A case study of two UK higher education institutions', ESRC +3 Open Award (University of Liverpool, supervised with Bethan Evans, Lucy Jackson and Mark Riley)

Dr Alison Briggs 'The Last Resort: Everyday Relational Geographies of Food Insecurity and Charitable Food Aid in Stoke-on-Trent in times of Austerity and Crisis ESRC +3 Open Award (supervised with Stefan Bouzarovski and Clare Holdsworth)

Dr Tasmin Fisher 'Crafting self-care practices: learning textile craft in time and space', ESRC 1+3 Open Award (Keele University, supervised with Clare Holdsworth and Lisa Dikomitis) 

Dr Olly Mcdowell '“Just food and joy”: An exploration of diverse community food practices in Liverpool, UK', ESRC +3 Open Award (University of Liverpool, supervised with Pete North and Andy Davies)

 

Further information

Service and Leadership

In addition to my academic position, I am also Co-Editor of Area, a member of the Geoforum Editorial Board, a member of the Department for Work and Pensions Methods Advisory Group, a committee member of the Economic Geography Research Group and Gender and Feminist Geographies Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society, and from 2014-2022 was a member of the Management Committee of the Women's Budget Group, an international network of feminist researchers, policy experts and activists. 

I have also acted as an Academic Advisor to Ethical Consumer Magazine (2011-2012), and since 2014 have provided research expertise and training to a number of organisations including Shelter, Citizens Advice, Oldham Council, RECLAIM, Oxfam, and LGBT Foundation.

I have a keen interest in research ethics, and I teach, research and publish on this subject. I have also held a number of related service roles at discipline, school and University level, including University Research Ethics Committee 2 member (2014-2019), Chair of School Ethics Committee (2016-2018), Ethics Signatory, School of Environment, Education and Development (2015-2019) and Geography Dissertation Ethics Officer (2014-2018).

I am a proud advocate for PhD and early career colleagues, and I am fortunate to supervise and mentor across the North West. From Jan 2019-Sept 2020 I was also the PGR Human Geography Discipline Co-Ordinator, as well as the departmental representative for the Geography and Environment Pathway of the North West Social Science DTP.

Creative works

I have been involved in the making of multiple collaborative creative works, developed to share research findings, some of which include:

‘How austerity alters lives and futures’, Animation

‘Oral Histories and Futures’, Animation

‘Everyone’s Got an Opinion on Brexit’, Podcast and Website

‘Involving Young People in Discussions about Devolution’, Toolkit

'Being seen, being heard: young people's politics in devolution deals', Film

'Creating, Making and Distributing 'zines for Research Impact', Film

‘Everyday Austerity' zine

'Everyday Austerity: Six Families, Two Years, One Researcher', Public Exhibition

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Creative Manchester
  • Healthier Futures

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