Dr Nicola Spurling

Senior Lecturer in The Theory and Methods of Social Futures

Research Overview

I am an anthropologist/ sociologist. My work encounters and addresses questions about how futures of decarbonised mobility could and should be achieved, in a context in which there is escalating pressure on governments, stakeholders and publics to reverse global warming and accelerate global transition to zero carbon. It does so by i) taking a critical perspective on the assumptions that underpin practices of transport planning and policy-making ii)an inquisitiveness in the multiple, often mundane materials, which make and shape past, present, emergent and imagined forms of travel and transportation (e.g. painted lines, parked cars, rain, sun and snow, daylight and darkness, landscape and built environment); iii) bringing concepts and approaches from theories of practice and the new materialisms into debates on future mobility; iv)engaging with approaches concerned with emergence, intervention and experimentation (e.g. Interventions in Practices; Parking in Utopia).

Engagement with multiple stakeholders and publics is central to my work. I am one of a panel of five Commissioners on the national Commission on Travel Demand. To date we have produced two influential reports: 'All Change' and 'Shared Mobility: where now, where next?'.

I am Co-I on Lancaster work package in the DecarboN8 network, with Prof. Monika Buscher in CeMoRe (Centre for Mobilities Research). This is a 3 year EPSRC-funded Network Plus (2019-2022) involving eight universities in Northern England, in which we are pioneering a place-based approach to rapid decarbonisation of the transport sector.

In 2016 I founded an international, cross-sector network Everyday Futures. I held a visiting Fellowship on 'Everyday Futures' at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Nov-Dec 2017.

  • CeMoRe - Centre for Mobilities Research
  • Institute for Social Futures Fellow
  • ISF Anniversary Lecturers
  • MSF Supervisors 2019/20