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My research focuses on everyday futures , drawing on social theories of practice, biographical and historical methods, and futures thinking. Specifically,  I am interested in how knowledge about everyday futures might be developed and contribute to engendering ways of life that are more sustainable and equitable.

For example, how is everyday life thought about in futures of different focus and scale, from those concerned with cities, transportation and energy supply, through to the expectations and hopes that people have for their own biographies and lives?  How are futures of different duration and ambition distributed across time, space and society? How can the resources developed within social theory contribute to futures thinking, and challenge, expand and enrich dominant approaches?

These interests develop my previous research on how working lives, daily lives, mobility and energy demand have changed since the 1950s. Key projects I am currently pursuing include: developing new understandings of how travel demand is changing and may change in the future through The Travel Demand Commission; exploring how dormant matters of everyday mobility can be incorporated into understandings of mobility transitions  and their social and environmental implications; and writing about how social theories of practice can contribute new forms of knowledge on the future.

I have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Masters & PhD in Sociology, and my research interests continue to span the social sciences. Much of my research is characterised by innovative methodology, combining historical and biographical work to study change across temporal and spatial scales.

I am a Lecturer at Lancaster University, UK, based in the Institute for Social Futures and the Department of Sociology. Previously I worked in the DEMAND Centre at Lancaster University and the Sustainable Practices Research Group at the University of Manchester. I have also worked as a researcher in the public sector and an educational developer in the academic sector.

If you are interested in finding out more then take a look at my Research, Writing, Talks and Engagement pages. If you would like to discuss anything, or find opportunities to work together, please get in touch n.spurling@lancaster.ac.uk

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