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Dr Emma Wainwright

Dr Emma Wainwright


Emma is a Reader and a Geographer with expertise in the geographies of education, training and welfare. She is a member of the Education, Identities and Society, and Embodiment in Academic and Professional Practice research groups. Emma studied Geography at the University of Aberdeen and, after completing her PGCE (Secondary) at the University of Edinburgh and a brief period of secondary teaching, was awarded a scholarship by the University of St Andrews to undertake her PhD in Social and Historical Geography. Prior to working at Brunel, Emma was a Research Executive in the Social Research Institute at MORI (now Ipsos MORI).

Emma's interdisciplinary research interests focus on: education, training and welfare-to-work; social housing and resident engagement; family, parenting and care; embodiment, body work and emotional labour. Her work has been funded through grants awarded by the ESRC, the British Academy, Barclays, the Learning and Skills Council, the Money Advice Service, and Brunel University London. Emma has successfully collaborated with various social housing providers across London and the South East including A2Dominion, Catalyst and East Thames (now L&Q) to deliver research and evaluation projects. 

Emma is currently an editor of the British Educational Research Journal. She is external examiner at the University of Hertfordshire (BSc Geography) and Cardiff University (MSc Education, MSc Education, Policy and Society and MSc Childhood and Youth), and acts as a regular reviewer for various academic journals. In 2006 Emma was awarded the Newbigin Prize by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for her paper published in the Scottish Geographical Journal. Recent work has been published in Area, Educational Review, British Journal of Sociology of Education and Population, Space and Place.  

Emma currently works part time (FTE 0.6) and her working days are Monday, Thursday and Friday. 


PhD, Geography, University of St Andrews

PGC in Higher Education, Brunel University London

PGC in Secondary Education (Geography and Modern Studies), Moray House, University of Edinburgh

MA (Hons) Geography (1st Class), University of Aberdeen



Senior Tutor (2017-2021)

Programme Co-Lead BA Education (2019-2021)

Chair of EC panel and SEC meetings (2017-2021)

Member of Department Management Board (2017-2021)

Member of University's British Academy review panel


Co-Editor: British Educational Research Journal (2018-)

ESRC Peer Review College member (2010-2019)

External Examiner, MSc Education, Policy and Society and MSc Childhood and Youth, Cardiff University (2018- )

External Examiner, BA/BSc Geography, University of Hertfordshire (2018- )

External Examiner, BA Geography, Newcastle University (2014-2018)

Newest selected publications

Chappell, A., Wainwright, E., McHugh, E. and Gilhooly, K. (2020) 'The Experiences of Undergraduate Commuter Students'. Place of publication: Brunel University London.Open Access Link


Wainwright, E., Marandet, E. and McHugh, E. (2020) 'Spatiality and auto/biographical narratives of encounter in social housing', in Parsons, J. and Chappell, A. (eds.) The Palgrave MacMillan Handbook of Auto/Biography.. Palgrave/MacMillan. pp. 1 - 17.Open Access Link

Book chapter

Norris, M. and Wainwright, E. (2020) 'Learning professional touch: an exploration of pre-registration Physiotherapy students’ experiences'. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: an international journal of physical therapy, in press. pp. 1 - 11. ISSN: 0959-3985 Open Access Link

Journal article

Wainwright, E., Aldridge, D., Biesta, G. and Filippakou, O. (2020) 'Why educational research should remain mindful of its position: Questions of boundaries, identity and scale.'. British Educational Research Journal, 46 (1). pp. 1 - 5. ISSN: 0141-1926 Open Access Link

Journal article

Barker, J. and Wainwright, E. (2020) 'Geography matters: Spatiality, geography and auto/biography', in Parsons, J. and Chappell, A. (eds.) The Palgrave MacMillan Handbook of Auto/Biography. Palgrave MacMillan.Open Access Link

Book chapter
More publications(41)