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Catherine Cherry

Dr Catherine Cherry


Research Associate

School of Psychology


I am an environmental social scientist with an interdisciplinary background that cuts across social and environmental science disciplines. My research has two core strands: 1) public participation and visioning for a low-carbon future, and 2) climate/net-zero discourses (in policy and media) and how they interact with public perceptions. Methodologically, I am a qualitative researcher, using participatory, anticipatory and place-based methods to engage publics with these issues and their implications for everyday life. I have a strong focus on policy impact and the main motivation for my work is to give diverse publics a greater voice in climate policy making at both a national and local level.  

I am currently a Co-I at the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations, (CAST) which aims to explore how people can live differently and better, whilst still achieving radical emissions reductions. I have responsibility for delivering two within CASTs Visioning theme: Project 1.1 'Public engagement for 'desirable' and 'feasible' visions of change' and Project 1.5 'Media representation of climate change and transformative action'. As Co-I on the Citizens’ Assemblies on Climate Change project, I was also an official researcher at the Climate Assembly UK. Prior to this, my research has explored public understandings and imaginaries surrounding a range of climate and energy related topics, including: the circular economy, the sharing economy, local decentralised energy systems, and low-carbon housing.












Book sections




Following my PhD exploring the discourses of low-carbon housing (Energy Research and Social Science -; Public Understanding of Science -, my research career has brought together social discourses of climate change, public engagement and deliberative visioning methods to investigate the role of social transformations in achieving a fair and sustainable future. I am currently exploring public discourses of climate inaction. As researcher Co-I and workpackage lead at the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST), I conducted visioning workshops to investigate public perceptions of radical low-carbon futures. 

My most innovative research to date is an interdisciplinary collaboration with partners at University of Leeds, which integrated qualitative public perceptions data with world-leading economic modelling to assess the potential for reducing the UK’s carbon footprint (Nature Climate Change - My most cited work provided the first analysis of public discourses of the sharing economy, demonstrating the contingent nature of public acceptance on the basis of shared social values (Journal of Cleaner Production - 

I have 10+ years of qualitative research experience (designing and conducting interviews, focus groups and workshops; grounded, thematic and discourse analysis; document and media analysis). I develop new methods for engaging publics with the difficult task of imagining a just and sustainable low-carbon future. This culminated in the development of the persona-based approach to participatory visioning processes (Energy Research and Social Science -


Research positions
(2020 onwards) Researcher Co-I, The Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST)
(2015-2019) Research Associate, Understanding Risk Research Group

(2015) PhD Environmental Social Science, Cardiff University, UK
             Thesis: Exploring Discourses of Decarbonisation: the Social Construction of Low Carbon Housing
(2010) MSc Climate Change: Science and Society, University of East Anglia, UK
(2008) BSc Environmental Science, Queen Mary’s University of London, UK