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Christopher Bear

Dr Christopher Bear


Reader in Human Geography, Deputy Head of School

School of Geography and Planning

+44 29208 76181
Glamorgan Building, Room Room 2.80, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA
Media commentator
Available for postgraduate supervision


My research interests centre on the relationships between humans, animals and technologies, particularly in relation to the food system. These interests have been developed through a wide range of empirical contexts, ranging from fisheries to dairy farming.  I am currently working on two research projects: 'Young people, alternative proteins and pedagogies for sustainable futures,' in collaboration with Dr Verity Jones (UWE Bristol) and funded by British Academy/Leverhulme Trust; and 'Transparency solutions for transforming the food system (TITAN)', funded by Horizon Europe/Innovate UK. I previously completed ESRC-funded research on the adoption of robotic milking technologies in the dairy sector.

I am currently involved in the supervision of four PhD students and am always keen to discuss potential PhD topics that relate to my research interests.

I am Associate Editor of the journal Society and Animals and regularly referee for the major Human Geography journals.

I am Deputy Head of the School of Geography and Planning and sit on the University's Academic Standards and Quality Committee.























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My research focuses on the interlinked themes of: human-animal-technology relations; aquatic geographies; and geographies of knowledge and expertise. These foci are permeated by a theoretical interest in hybridity and assemblage and are often studied through an empirical concentration on recreational activities and the changing agro-food system.

1. Human-animal-technology relations

I developed an interest in more-than-human geographies during my PhD, which examined the different ways in which salmon were experienced and accounted for in the management of Scottish river fishing. Much of my subsequent research has focused on relationships between animals and humans in diverse contexts such as commercial and recreational fisheries, an aquarium, and dairy farms. My work on robotic milking on dairy farms, conducted in collaboration with Lewis Holloway (University of Hull) and supported by an ESRC grant, examined the co-production of robots, dairy cows and humans, looking at how the introduction of robotic milking may change the ways dairy farmers manage their farms and businesses, and might affect the farmer-cow relationship. I previously examined anglers' conceptualisations of fish as individuals and collectives, developing Deleuze and Guattari's concept of 'becoming animal' and Haraway's notion of 'beings-in-encounter', and completed research into the co-production of scallop fishing regulations in Cardigan Bay by humans, scallops, dolphins and fishing technologies, examined through the conceptual framework of geographies of assemblage. I am increasingly interested in developing less anthropocentric research methods that are suited to the study of more-than-human relationships. I have developed this research theme more widely, co-convening sessions on Emerging geographies of animal-technology co-productions at the 2011 Royal Geographical Society annual conference (published as a special issue of Journal of Rural Studies in 2014), Critical perspectives on human-animal-technology relations for the British Animal Studies Network in November 2012, and Geographies of more-than-human empathy at the 2017 Royal Geographical Society annual conference.

  • Miele, M. and Bear, C. 2023. More-than-human research methodologies.. In: Clifford, N., Cope, M. and Gillespie, T. eds. Key Methods in Geography. London: Routledge, pp. 229-244
  • Miele, M. and Bear, C. 2022. Geography and posthumanism. In: Herbrechter, S. et al. eds. Palgrave handbook of critical posthumanism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 1-23., (10.1007/978-3-030-42681-1)
  • Bear, C. 2021. Making insects tick: responsibility, attentiveness and care in edible insect farming. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 4(3), pp. 1010-1030. (10.1177/2514848620945321)
  • Holloway, L. and Bear, C. 2021. Exploring the human-animal-technology nexus: power relations and divergent conduct. In: Hovorka, A., McCubbin, S. and Van Patter, L. eds. A Research Agenda for Animal Geographies. Elgar Research Agendas Edward Elgar, pp. 55-68.
  • Bear, C. (2019). Approaching insect death: understandings and practices of the UK's edible insect farmersSociety and Animals 27(7), pp. 751-768. (10.1163/15685306-00001871)
  • Bear, C. and Holloway, L. (2019) Beyond resistance: Geographies of divergent more-than-human conduct in robotic milking. Geoforum 104: 212-221
  • Bear, C. and Holloway, L. (2018; invited contribution) Redistributing labour in Automated Milking Systems and the more-than-human (co)production of dairy farming in Marsden, T (ed) The Sage Handbook of Nature London: Sage 831-847
  • Holloway, L. and Bear, C. (2017). Bovine and human becomings in histories of dairy technologies: robotic milking systems and remaking animal and human subjectivity. BJHS Themes (10.1017/bjt.2017.2.)
  • Bear, C., Wilkinson, K. and Holloway, L. (2016) Visualising human-animal-technology relations: fieldnotes, still photography and digital video on the robotic dairy farm. Society and Animals
  • Bear, C. and Holloway, L. (2015) Country life: agricultural technologies and the emergence of new rural subjectivities. Geography Compass 9(5): 303-315
  • Holloway, L., Bear, C., Morris, C. and Wilkinson, K. (2014) Animals, technologies and people in rural spaces: Introduction to a special issue on emerging geographies of animal-technology co-productions [Editorial]. Journal of Rural Studies 33(1): 95-98
  • Holloway, L., Bear, C. and Wilkinson, K. (2014) Re-capturing bovine life: robot-cow relationships, freedom and control in dairy farming Journal of Rural Studies 33(1): 131-140
  • Bear, C. (2013) Assembling the sea: entanglement, movement and uncertainty in the Cardigan Bay scallop fishery Cultural Geographies 20(1): 21-41
  • Holloway, L. and Bear, C. (2011) Commentary: DNA-typing and super dairies - changing practices and remaking cows Environment and Planning A43(7): 1487-1491
  • Bear, C. (2011) Being Angelica: exploring post-species animal geographies Area 43(3): 297-304
  • Bear, C. and Eden, S. (2011) Thinking like a fish? Engaging with non-human difference through recreational angling Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29(2): 336-352

2. Aquatic geographies

My research is unusual in cultural geography for its focus on environmental change in the aquatic. This research theme, developed in my PhD, has been taken forward through the RELU-funded Angling in the Rural Environment project, on which I worked as a Research Associate at the Universities of Hull and Durham. This work, with Sally Eden (University of Hull), looked at the different knowledge practices employed by a variety of river users, such as anglers and scientists, in making sense of, engaging with and transforming the underwater environment. I have further critiqued cultural geographers' disregard for underwater environments through studying an aquarium octopus. My recent research on scallop fisheries extends my conceptualisation of ocean space, having previously adopted a topological approach to Marine Stewardship Council certification practices. I co-convened a Royal Geographical Society annual conference session on the aquatic in 2008, resulting in a special issue of Environment and Planning A, which I co-edited with Jacob Bull (Gender Studies, Uppsala University).

  • Januchowski-Hartley, S.R., Bear, C., O'Gorman, E. and Januchowski-Hartley, F. A. (2020) Underwater. A-Z of Shadow Places Concepts. Available at:
  • Bear, C. (2019; invited contribution) Commentary: The ocean exceeded: fish, flows and forces. Dialogues in Human Geography 9(3): 329-332. (10.1177/2043820619878567)
  • Bear, C. (2017; invited contribution) Commentary: Assembling ocean life: more-than-human entanglements in the Blue Economy Dialogues in Human Geography 7(1): 27-31
  • Bear, C. (2016) Tracing bacterial legalities: the fluid ecologies of the European Union's bathing water directive. In: Braverman, I. ed. Animals, Biopolitics, Law: Lively Legalities.  London:  Routledge, pp. 79-98
  • Bear, C. (2014) Governance of the seas: a more-than-human perspective in Peters, K. and Anderson, J. (eds) Water Worlds: social and cultural geographies of the ocean Farnham: Ashgate, pp. 137-162
  • Bear, C. (2013) Assembling the sea: entanglement, movement and uncertainty in the Cardigan Bay scallop fishery Cultural Geographies 20(1): 21-41
  • Bear, C. and Bull, J. (2011) Editorial: the matter of water Environment and Planning A 43(10): 2261-2266
  • Eden, S. and Bear, C. (2011) Reading the river through 'watercraft': environmental engagement through knowledge and practice in freshwater angling Cultural Geographies18(3): 297-314
  • Bear, C. and Eden, S. (2008) Making space for fish: the regional, network and fluid spaces of fisheries certification Social and Cultural Geography 9: 487-504

3. Geographies of knowledge and expertise

Again developed in my PhD, much of my interest in expertise has been explored through the aquatic. This work has broken down the binary of 'lay' and 'expert' knowledges, looking at how claims are circulated and challenged in the contexts of agro-food systems and recreational fisheries management. In the former area, the work I carried out with Sally Eden examined how knowledges of food travel, focusing on consumer understandings of certification labels, while my more recent work on robotic milking has looked at the role of automation and information technologies in changing how cows are known and cared for on farms. In the latter area, papers have examined the notion of 'lay ecologies', and at how anglers participate in the management of water environments.

  • Ingram, al. 2022. What are the priority research questions for digital agriculture?. Land Use Policy 114, article number: 105962. (10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105962)
  • Butler, D., Holloway, L and Bear, C. (2012) The impact of technological change in dairy farming: robotic milking systems and the changing role of the stockperson Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 173: 1-6
  • Eden, S. and Bear, C. (2012) The good, the bad, and the hands-on: constructs of public participation, anglers, and lay management of water environments Environment and Planning A 44: 1200-1240
  • Eden, S. and Bear, C. (2011) Models of equilibrium, natural agency and environmental change: lay ecologies in UK recreational angling Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers36(3): 393-407
  • Eden, S. and Bear, C. (2010) Third sector global environmental governance, space and science: comparing fishery and forestry certification Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning 12(1): 83-106
  • Eden, S., Bear, C. and Walker, G. (2008) The sceptical consumer: UK views about food assurance Food Policy 33: 624-630
  • Eden, S., Bear, C. and Walker, G. (2008) Mucky carrots and other proxies: problematising the knowledge-fix for sustainable and ethical consumptionGeoforum 39 (2): 1044-1057
  • Eden, S., Bear, C. and Walker, G. (2008) Understanding and (dis)trusting food assurance schemes: consumer confidence and the 'knowledge fix'Journal of Rural Studies 24 (1): 1-14
  • Bear, C. (2006) Salmon by numbers: quantification and understandings of nature Scottish Geographical Journal 122 (3): 185-203


  • Transparency solutions for transforming the food system (work package leader), September 2022-October 2026 - Horizon Europe/UKRI 10042327 - €454,313.49 [of a project total of €10,676,773.00])
  • Young people, alternative proteins and pedagogies for sustainable futures (principal investigator), October 2021- October 2023, BA/Leverhulme SRG21\210557 - £8,494
  • Robotic and information technologies in livestock agriculture: new relationships between humans, cows and machines (co-investigator), June 2010 - November 2012, ESRC RES-062-23-2086 - £145,223.84

Conference and Workshop Organisation

  • Co-convener and co-chair of a session on More-than-human geographies of empathy at the RGS-IBG Conference, London, 2017 (with Megan Donald [Glasgow University] and Rich Gorman [Exeter University])
  • Co-convener and chair of a session on Social and cultural geographies of impact at the RGS-IBG Conference, Edinburgh, 2012 (with Amanda Rogers [Swansea University], Sarah Mills [Loughborough University], Mia Hunt [Royal Holloway, University of London] and Rebecca Sandover [Exeter University]). I subsequently co-edited a special issue of ACME that resulted from this session.
  • Convener of a session on Critical perspectives on human-animal-technology relationships at the British Animal Studies Network conference on 'Farm', Strathclyde University, November 2012.
  • Co-organiser of a session on Emerging geographies of animal-technology co-productions at the RGS-IBG Conference, London, 2011 (with Lewis Holloway [University of Hull], Carol Morris [Nottingham University] and Katy Wilkinson [University of Hull]).
  • Member of the organising committee of Geography and the New Empirics (a Social and Cultural Geography Research Group workshop), Royal Geographical Society, London, January 2011. I also led a workshop session on Generating and gathering data in face of excess, in collaboration with Owain Jones (CCRI).
  • Co-organiser of a session on Water: Space, Knowledge, Flow at the RGS-IBG Conference, London, 2008 (with Jacob Bull [Uppsala University]).


I am a personal tutor both for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

I have previously taught modules and sessions in the School on the history and philosophy of geography, human-animal relations, geographies of food, and on human-animal relations.


Education and qualifications

  • 2012: Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education, Aberystwyth University
  • 2004: PhD Human Geography, University of Aberdeen
  • 1999: MA (Hons) Geography, University of Aberdeen

Professional memberships

Academic positions

  • 2022-present: Reader in Human Geography, Cardiff University
  • 2015-2022: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Cardiff University
  • 2012-2015: Lecturer in Human Geography, Cardiff University
  • 2009-2012: Lecturer in Human Geography, Aberystwyth University
  • 2006-2008: Research Associate, Department of Anthropology, Durham University
  • 2004-2008: Research Associate, Department of Geography, University of Hull
  • 2002-2004: Teaching Fellow, Department of Geography and Environment, University of Aberdeen

Speaking engagements

·        'Young people, alternative proteins and pedagogies for sustainable futures' - Climate Change Primary Education Research Network (October 2023; invited speaker)

·        'Transparency: practice and power' - Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum on Next steps for data and transparency in the food system (5 September 2023; invited panellist)

·         ‘Young people, alternative proteins and pedagogies for sustainable futures’ - Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, London (August 2023)

·         Engaging marine life: beyond the sea?' - SEATIMES programme opening workshop, University of Bergen, Norway, (November 2022; invited speaker)

Committees and reviewing


  • 2024 - present: ESRC Peer Review College member
  • 2023 - present: Grant review panel member, FORMAS (Swedish Research Council)
  • 2022 - present: Advisory Board member, SEATIMES project, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 2021 - present: External Examiner, MA Geography, University of Aberdeen
  • 2019 - 2022: Editorial Board member, Sustainability
  • 2018 - 2022: External Examiner, MA Practising Human Geography, Aberystwyth University
  • 2018 - 2022: External Examiner, Humans and Other Animals, University of Aberdeen
  • 2016 - present: Associate Editor, Society and Animals
  • 2012 - 2015: Committee Member (subsequently Treasurer) of the Royal Geographical Society Social and Cultural Geography Research Group

Cardiff University

University committees

  • 2022 - 2023: Member of Staff Survey 2023 Working Group
  • 2022 - 2022: Member of AHSS Education and Student Experience Committee
  • 2021 - present: Member of University Academic Standards and Quality Committee (ASQC)
  • 2020 - 2022: Member of University Standing Student Conduct Panel
  • 2019 - 2022: Member of AHSS Directors of Learning and Teaching Committee
  • 2015 - 2018: Member of the Water Research Institute Management Board

School committees

  • 2022 - present: Chair of Academic Workload Committee
  • 2022 - 2022: Chair of the Education and Student Experience Committee
  • 2019 - 2021: Chair of the Learning and Teaching Strategy Group
  • 2016 - 2019: Chair of the Undergraduate Management Team
  • 2017 - 2021: Member of Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team
  • 2016 - 2021: Member of the Learning and Teaching Strategy Group
  • 2016 - present: Member of the School Board
  • 2016 - 2019: Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • 2016 - 2017: Member of the Marketing and Communications Management Group
  • 2014 - 2016: Senior Admissions Tutor


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Animal/more-than-human geographies
  • Environmental knowledge-practices
  • Human-animal-technology relations in the food system
  • Alternative proteins (especially edible insect production)

I am always happy to discuss initial ideas with prospective PhD students; please email me at

Current supervision

Lauren King

Lauren King

Graduate Tutor

Carly Baker

Carly Baker

Graduate Tutor

James Weldon

James Weldon

Graduate Tutor

Helen Nakielny

Helen Nakielny

Research student

Research themes


  • Food sustainability
  • Human geography
  • Animal geography
  • More-than-human geography
  • alternative protein