Dr Emma Louise Sharp

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


I am a Geographer, with research interests in food politics, care, alternative economies, STS, gender, and citizen science. After my Masters degree in physical Geography I worked in government, consultancy, and the third sector internationally on environmental management, education and humanitarian issues. In 2010 I returned to teach at the University of Auckland, bringing a critical social science lens to environmental geographies. I consider environment/society relations and engagement, environmental sociotechnologies, 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 - ), now Gender and Geography Aotearoa. I lead the Critical Food Studies Group housed in ENV, and am an Primary Investigator with Te Pūnaha Matatini - Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland. I co-lead the Soilsafe Aotearoa research programme https://soilsafe.auckland.ac.nz/. 

Research | Current

My research programme connects aspects of urban and rural food production and consumption. My current research focusses on Soilsafe Aotearoa https://soilsafe.auckland.ac.nz/ a citizen-science soil values programme that offers free domestic soil testing, and examines community attitudes towards soil. 

My prior research has investigated care in dairy and meat consumption and their relationship to notions of nationalism and ritual (co-PIs: Dr Emily Parke - Philosophy; Dr Joya Kemper - Business School)

My student projects (summer scholarships and research dissertations) have included research on: care in diverse economies of fish ‘waste’ redistribution in the face of fisheries’ exploitations; Aotearoa’s meat and dairy waste; Aotearoa’s diverse soil values; and community food security.

I maintain connections to community food initiatives: prior research 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

At undergraduate level I coordinate and teach on: GEOG205 Environment and Society, and I teach on ENVSCI303 Environmental Science, Risk and Society; the Tertiary Foundation Certificate; and I guest lecture into Arts Scholars. I teach/supervise on: GEOG399 Research Design and Methods in Human Geography/Capstone Geography.

At postgraduate level I coordinate ENVMGT760 Environmental sociotechnologies, and I teach/supervise on GEOG701 Research in Practice. 





Postgraduate supervision

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

Current PhD students

  • Ben Richardson - The Impact of Global Capital and Climate Change on the Political Economy of Auckland's Urban Development (Co-supervisor with Dr. Mark Busse, Anthropology)
  • Georgia McLellan – Making Māori Economies (Primary supervisor. Co-supervisors: A/Prof Nick Lewis - School of Environment, and Dr Meike Foster - High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge)
  • Ingrid Petersen - Assembling healthy food futures:  New moral economies of food in Aotearoa-New Zealand (Secondary supervisor, Primary supervisor A/Prof Nick Lewis - School of Environment).
  • Ellen Hume - Risk triage for regime shifts: managing climate change and other factors (Secondary supervisor. Primary supervisor A/Prof Cate Macinnis-Ng - School of Biological Science; Prof Shaun Hendy - Dept of Physics).

I am currently recruiting for two fully-funded PhDs: 

PhD scholarship on Kindness in Science in Aotearoa New Zealand (tepunahamatatini.ac.nz)


PhD scholarship on feedback between humans, living things and artificial intelligence (tepunahamatatini.ac.nz)

Current Masters students

  • Sophie Richardson - Mapping Auckland's food security (Primary supervisor. Co-supervisor  Dr Tom Baker - School of Environment).
  • Nicholas Strawbridge - Uptake of soil metals and nutrients by plants of cultural significance to New Zealand. (Co-supervisor with Dr Melanie Kah - School of Environment)
  • Kenzi Yee - Insect economies (Primary supervisor. Co-supervisor: A/Prof Luke Goode - Cultures, Languages and Linguistics)
  • Nikolai Siimes - Perceptions and Acceptability of Nanotechnology in the New Zealand Wine Industry (Primary supervisor. Co-supervisor: A/Prof Nick Lewis - School of Environment)

Current Honours students:

  • Edie Benny - What is the work that zero-waste supermarkets do in Auckland towards environmentally conscious consumption?

Completed postgraduate students:

  • MSc: Cody Lim - Spatial distribution of heavy metals in the urban soils of Auckland Region and environmental inequality in the exposure of communities to these contaminated soils (Secondary supervisor. Primary supervisor - Dr Melanie Kah - School of Environment; Co-supervisor - Dr Adam Martin - GNS).
  • MSc: Gautami Bhor - Youth in Auckland: Climate change mitigation efforts and factors affecting their actions (Secondary supervisor. Primary supervisor - Dr Meg Parsons - School of Environment) 
  • Hons: Sophie Richardson - Community Experiences and Anticipations of Food System Change in New Zealand Post-Covid-19 
  • Hons: Amy Arnesen - The Ontologies of Meat Waste: Assessing retail meat waste of independent butchers in Auckland, New Zealand, and the effect of COVID-19


2019, Leadership Award, Australasian Agrifood Research Network

2016, Best Student Paper, Australasian Agrifood Research Network

2014, IAG/ NZGS Outstanding Postgraduate Presentation Award

2014, Doctoral Academic Career Module, University of Auckland


2021 - pres. School of Environment Outreach Working Group 

2021 - pres. New Zealand Geographical Society - Auckland Branch Committee 

2019 - pres. School of Environment Equity Committee


Areas of expertise

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

Committees/Professional groups/Services

2021 - pres. Primary Investigator: Te Pūnaha Matatini (TPM) - CoRE at UoA

2021 - pres. New Zealand Geographical Society - Auckland Branch Committee 

2021 - pres. Politics, Economies and Place (PEP) research group - ENV

2020 - pres. BoT - Kelmarna Organic Gardens

2019 - pres. School of Environment Equity Committee

2019 - pres. Founder and lead: Critical Food Studies Group, School of Environment, UoA

2019 - 2021 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 (NZGS)

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

2013 - pres. Member: Women and Gender Geog. Research Network (WGGRN) now Gender and Geography Aotearoa

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


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Sharp, E. L. (2020). Care-fully enacting diverse foodworlds in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Gender, Place and Culture, 27 (8), 1214-1218. 10.1080/0966369X.2019.1708275
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/51303
  • Sharp, E. L. (2020). Free Fish Heads: A Case Study of Knowing and Practicing Seafood Differently. In E. Probyn, K. Johnston, N. Lee (Eds.) Sustaining Seas Oceanic Space and the Politics of Care (pp. 125-138). London: Rowman & Littlefield International Ltd.
  • Sharp, E. L. (2019). Editorial: The role of reflexivity in care-full food systems transformations. POLICY FUTURES IN EDUCATION, 17 (7), 761-769. 10.1177/1478210319874256
  • Davies, K., Collective, P., Fisher, K., Le Heron, E., Sharp, E., & Spiers, R. (2019). Assembling disruptive practice in the neoliberal university: an ethics of care. GEOGRAFISKA ANNALER SERIES B-HUMAN GEOGRAPHY, 101 (1), 33-43. 10.1080/04353684.2019.1568201
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Karen Fisher
  • Sharp, E. L. (2019). Fields of Care: (Auto)ethnography of the Politics of Pregnancy and Foodwork in Aotearoa New Zealand. In J. L. Johnson, K. Johnston (Eds.) Maternal Geographies: Mothering In and Out of Place. Ontario: Demeter Press.
  • Sharp, E. (2018). Affective Food Initiatives - Learning the practice and ethics of food politics. Paper presented at Agrifood XXV, Annual meeting of the Agrifood Research Network (AFRN), Brisbane, Australia. 30 November - 5 December 2018. Related URL.
  • Sharp, E. L. (2018). (Re)assembling foodscapes with the Crowd Grown Feast. Area, 50 (2), 266-273. 10.1111/area.12376
  • Sharp, E. L. (2018). Enacting other foodworlds: Affective food initiatives performing a care-full politics of difference The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
Level 5, Room 508
New Zealand

Web links