We are recruiting a researcher on the landscape aesthetics of nature recovery

New growth from a felled tree
Halting and reversing the ongoing loss and degradation of nature and its biodiversity are amongst the greatest challenges of our time.

The post will form part of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery (LCNR), a large interdisciplinary research programme that launched in May 2022 and running through to 2032. Halting and reversing the ongoing loss and degradation of nature and its biodiversity are amongst the greatest challenges of our time. There is new political will and public demand to restore the natural world, but no previous experience of doing so at the scales required while also fully meeting societal needs. The LCNR will tackle this challenge by addressing the ecological, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of nature recovery in a single framework, harnessing state-of-the-art technologies, and thereby developing and testing an innovative model to deliver nature recovery at scale, and monitor progress towards this recovery.

We are seeking a Researcher to examine the role of landscape aesthetics in configuring nature recovery in the UK. Key themes for the research will include: 1) documenting the aesthetics of nature recovery in UK; 2) examining how these compare and contrast with prevalent landscape aesthetics like the pastoral and the sublime; 3) tracing the political role of aesthetics in shaping land management; 4) using participatory approaches to engage diverse publics and stakeholders in visualising landscape futures. The primary focus will be the UK, with detailed attention to case study sites in Oxfordshire and the Scottish Highlands.

The main duties will involve designing and conducting academic research, including coordinating multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines and desired goals. This will involve conducting field work online and, in the UK, working with a wide range of academics, stakeholders and project partners, which might include farmers and private land-owners, industry bodies, governmental and non-governmental organisations. We anticipate using digital methods in this project, including the quantitative analysis of social media and other visual data, working in collaboration with a data scientist. You will also be responsible for collecting and analysing data and preparing manuscripts for submission to peer reviewed journals. The projects you will be working on are interdisciplinary and so the ability to work collaboratively across disciplinary boundaries is essential.

The successful candidate must hold a Master’s degree in a relevant subject area which could include Geography, Sociology, Science Studies, Anthropology, Digital Media, Politics/Political Ecology. You will possess relevant knowledge of UK landscape aesthetics and experience of conducting research on the social dimensions of land use in the UK. You will have excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publication, to present research proposals and results, and to represent the research group at meetings.

Whilst the role is a Grade 7 (£34,308 – £42,155 p.a.) position, we would be willing to consider candidates with potential but less experience who are seeking a development opportunity, for which an initial appointment would be at Grade 6 (£30,502 – £36,386 p.a.) with the responsibilities adjusted accordingly.

Applications are particularly welcome and encouraged from women, black, and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in posts in SoGE. SoGE and ECI are committed to equality and values diversity.

Read more about the role and apply for the position.