Craig Thomas

PhD – Geography, School of Environment, Education and Development


I initially chose the University of Manchester because of the positive experiences that I had completing the MSc Environmental Governance here. Through the Masters I met my supervisors who were very supportive and inspired me to continue at the University.  My MSc dissertation gave me my first taste or academic research, looking at stakeholder perspectives of the Greater Manchester Air Quality Action Plan. I thoroughly enjoyed designing and implementing my research project and it sparked an interest in how our cities are governed and the way we as citizens (fail to) engage on key issues.


Greater Manchester is an exciting city-region to be doing research in. It is also the focus of my fieldwork.  My research looks at the case of shale gas development, or ‘fracking’ at the Barton Moss site in the City of Salford which is part of Greater Manchester. I am interested in how people and stakeholders both relate and respond (or not) to the proposed development.

To build a theoretical framework, I have drawn on research into neoliberalisation, risk society and post-politics, using energy landscapes as a lens to draw out issues of place and citizenship.

I am honoured to have the opportunity to work in-depth on a real world issue that I feel has value both within and beyond academia. What I enjoy most about my role is the multi-tasking – each day I am doing something different. I also, of course, enjoy those rare ‘eureka’ moments, when another piece of the puzzle falls into place!


My intention is that the research will provide case study analysis that can contribute to academic research on citizenship, energy landscapes, understanding risk and shale gas development from a geographical perspective.  Looking ahead, there will be opportunities to engage with communities and policy makers on findings from the research related to issues of energy and democracy.

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