Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Professional Associate of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society

Research Fellow


Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437256
The University of Aberdeen Room 111, St Mary's


I was appointed Lecturer in Human Geography here in 2009, having previously been a Research Fellow. Before that, I worked as a researcher at the universities of Bristol and Coventry, and at the Scottish Agricultural College (now Scotland's Rural College).


Research Interests

My main current research interests are in agri-food and historical geographies, focusing on alternative economic (e.g. food) networks, agricultural change and hunting.


I supervise the following research students:

Stoyka Chipchakova. With funding from the University's Environment and Food Security research theme, Stoyka is undertaking a PhD on 'Addressing food security by controlling the risk of food poisoning: an exemplar case study of listeriosis in the Scottish smoked salmon industry'.

Sarah de Rees. Based at UHI's Centre for Nordic Studies in Kirkwall, Sarah is working towards an MPhil. on "The Nordic Diet and its applications in the modern era".

Annabelle McLaren-Thomson. Based in Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St. Andrews, Annabelle is studying how micro and small sized rural serviced accommodation businesses engage with their communities of place, and the impact that these businesses have on the social sustainability of those communities of place.

Ramona Statache. Ramona is based in dot.rural and is studying the relationship between rural communities and Small & Medium Enterprises, assessing the extent to which the latter's social media use is based on shared social and cultural capital and is conducive to mutual development.

Research Grants

  • 'The cultural political economy of co-operation in Britain: an historical geography perspective'. The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, 2013.
  • Visiting Scholar at the Ruralia Institute, Seinäjoki Unit, University of Helsinki, Finland, March 2012.
  • Commissioned to write a review on ‘paradigm change in policy, social and natural sciences’, for the Gastrointestinal Pathogens in the Environment project (GIP-net, G0902438), funded by the Research Council UK’s Environmental and Social Ecology of Human Infectious Diseases (ESEI) Initiative, June 2011.
  • ‘Food policy, local food and rural development in Scotland: closing the evidence gap’. The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, 2011.

Teaching Responsibilities

Level 1

Global Worlds, Global Challenges (GG1007) - 4 lectures (historical geography of capitalism, development, political economy of food)

Global Worlds, Local Challenges (GG1509) - 4 lectures (economic geography of Scotland, introduction to cultural geography fieldwork)

Level 2

Space, Economy and Society (GG2012) - I co-ordinate this course and lecture on political, cultural, historical and economic geographies

Level 3

Concepts in Human Geography (GG3570) - I co-ordinate this course and lecture on landscape

An Appetite for Food and Health (SX3003) - 1 lecture (food security)

Globalization (SX3502) - I co-ordinate and lecture on this new (for 2013-14), interdisciplinary course

Worlds of Food (SX3505)- I co-ordinate and lecture on this new (for 2013-14), interdisciplinary course

Level 4

Rural Change (GG4070) I co-coordinate this course and lecture on agri-food geographies and policy

Supervision of student dissertations (4 in 2013-14)

Level 5

Supervision of student dissertations (2 in 2012-13)


Further Info

External Responsibilities

Since 2009 I have peer-reviewed papers submitted to: Agriculture and Human Values, GeoJournal, Journal of Environmental Management, Journal of Rural Studies, Land Use Policy, Regional Studies and the Scottish Geographical Journal.

External examiner (in English), PhD with 'European mention', University of Barcelona (September 2013).

Admin Responsibilities

Advisor of studies for pre- and non-honours students

Personal tutor

Ethical reviewer for social science research proposals in Geosciences



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Contributions to Journals


  • Watts, D., Little, J. & Ilbery, B. (2018). ''I am pleased to shop somewhere that is fighting the supermarkets a little bit': A cultural political economy of alternative food networks'. Geoforum, vol. 91, pp. 21-29.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.02.013
  • Watts, D., Matilainen, A., Kurki, SP., Keskinarkaus, S. & Hunter, C. (2017). 'Hunting cultures and the ‘northern periphery’: Exploring their relationship in Scotland and Finland'. Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 54, pp. 255-265.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2017.06.017
  • Watts, DCH. (2017). 'Building an alternative economic network? Consumer cooperation in Scotland from the 1870s to the 1960s'. Economic History Review, vol. 70, no. 1, pp. 143-170.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12340
    [Online] AURA: 160101_Second_revised_paper_as_submitted.pdf
  • Little, J., Ilbery, B., Watts, D., Gilg, A. & Simpson, S. (2012). 'Regionalization and the rescaling of agro-food governance: Case study evidence from two English regions'. Political Geography, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 83-93.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2011.10.007
  • Revoredo Giha, C., Watts, DCH. & Leat, PMK. (2012). 'An analysis of marketing channels of local food in Scotland'. Sviluppo Locale, vol. XV, no. 37-38, pp. 25-44.
  • Watts, D., Leat, P. & Revoredo Giha, C. (2011). 'Local Food Activity in Scotland: Empirical Evidence and Research Agenda'. Regional Studies, vol. 45, no. 9, pp. 1187-1205.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00343400903380416
  • Ricketts Hein, J. & Watts, D. (2010). 'Local food activity in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain'. Irish Geography, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 135-147.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00750778.2010.514733
  • Ilbery, B., Watts, D., Little, J., Gilg, A. & Simpson, S. (2010). 'Attitudes of food entrepreneurs towards two grant schemes under the first England Rural Development Programme, 2000–2006'. Land Use Policy, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 683–689.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.09.002
  • Ilbery, B., Maye, D., Watts, D. & Holloway, L. (2010). 'Property matters: agricultural restructuring and changing landlord–tenant relationships in England'. Geoforum, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 423–434.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2009.11.009
  • Maye, D., Ilbery, B. & Watts, D. (2009). 'Farm diversification, tenancy and CAP reform: Results from a survey of tenant farmers in England'. Journal of Rural Studies, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 333-342.
    [Online] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2009.03.003
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