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The multiple ways of consuming nature in a post-pandemic world

Birmingham Business School

, Dr Pilar Rojas Gaviria Friday, April 30, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Birmingham Business School (BBS) is renowned for the quality of its research. With over 200 lecturing and research staff, internationally recognized as authorities in their fields, our research contributes to academic debates and has worldwide impact. A Birmingham Business School Doctoral Scholarship is available to a candidate of the highest academic calibre who wishes to conduct doctoral-level study on a topic within the research areas of Marketing.


The process of being ‘locked down’ during the Covid-19 pandemic brought with it changes in the pace and spaces of everyday living. Reduced levels of human activity enabled nature to flourish and created the possibility for people to notice and encounter the natural world more readily. Simultaneously, many retailscapes have been unavailable, and families have been encouraged to think about visiting natural spaces. Proximity to nature has proven to be a mental health oasis and an essential source of well-being in stressful and disorienting times (Birch, Rishbeth and Payne 2020, van den Berg et al. 2010) and during the Covid-19 pandemic has also been investigated as an exciting learning experience to motivate a better understanding of the earth’s ecosystem (Diffenbaugh 2020). The consumption of nature as a source of learning, healing and escape is not restricted to those with access to outside space, as it has also become possible and popular to access nature through a proliferation of digital images, films and soundscapes.


This project adopts an assemblage perspective based on the ideas that experiences of nature transpire from assemblages of discourses, technologies, and material geographies (Canniford & Shankar 2012). It will explore the differing ways in which experiences of nature were and continue to be assembled in the pandemic and post-pandemic periods and will also consider the impact of these assemblages on consumers well-being and their willingness to become agents of change.

A successful applicant is expected to have a very good undergraduate degree: a minimum of a 2:1, and preferably a first class honours. They should also hold, or expect to achieve, a very good Master’s degree (at least a merit and preferably at distinction level) in a Business or relevant subject. Their references will attest to qualities of academic achievement and research potential that make the candidate stand out above their peers. They may have already won academic prizes within their home institutions and /or internationally.

Applications will be assessed on (a) the quality of the student’s academic achievements and preparedness for doctoral level study; (b) the quality of the research proposal; (c) the potential to contribute to cutting edge research; and (d) the match of the proposal to areas of research strength within Birmingham Business School. Guidance on preparing a research proposal is attached. Since we are particularly keen to build on existing areas of research strength, all applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors and to discuss their proposal with them prior to online submission.

How to apply

Potential candidates for the Birmingham Business School Doctoral Scholarship must have an offer of a place to study for a PhD. If you do not already have an offer, you must apply by 30 April 2021 and mark your electronic application Birmingham Business School Scholarships.  At the same time, you should send a separate Birmingham Business School Scholarship application form, which can be downloaded along with your research proposal, to Dr Danny McGowan, Director of the Doctoral Programme () and mark your email ‘Birmingham Business School Scholarships’. 

For further information on the application process, please contact the Business School: .

Funding Notes

A full scholarship is equivalent to an ESRC studentship and covers home fees (£4,500 p.a.) plus a living allowance (stipend) of £15,609 per annum for three years, subject to satisfactory progress. For applicants outside the UK or without settled status, a full scholarship equates normally to £20,109 covering full fees and providing a contribution towards living expenses.

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