Dr Suzanne Hocknell


Telephone: 01392 263357 Twitter: @suzehocknell 

College: College of Life and Environmental Sciences
Discipline: Geography
Department: Geography

After many years working as a chef and co-ordinator within community food projects in Bradford, I began to question how eating-well is framed, comprehended, encountered and enacted.  I moved down south to undertake a MRes in Critical Human Geography at Exeter, before obtaining ESRC funding for my PhD research entitled:  Fat Chance?  Eating-well with margarine. 


Current Research: Feeding Exeter

Research Assistant on ESRC IAA Impact Cultivation Award project (Prof. Stewart Barr & Dr Rebecca Sandover).  This research engages a participatory approach to work alongside the emerging Exeter Food Network as the group develops its strategies and strengthens its communities for building a resilient food future for Exeter.  This project builds on relationships established during the organisation and delivery of a farm based food symposium for which I received ESRC student-collaboration funding to (with Dr Rebecca Sandover) bring together academics, food producers, food retailers and food activists in a collaborative process of agenda setting for food research.


PhD Research:  Fat Chance? Eating-well with margarine.  

Soon to reach its 150th anniversary, margarine was one of the first modern foods, and over time has been constituted from cattle, whales, herring, coal, cotton, sunflowers and more.  Does the ability of margarine to adapt to the availability of raw materials whilst maintaining consistency in the taste, texture, and health properties consumers seek in a yellow fat, constitute sustainability and food security, and is this eating well?

This research engages margarine as a research participant in order to investigate food systems:  which bodies and relationships they valorise or disregard.   Through exploring encounters between producers, eaters and the stuff of margarine I practice a form of embodied politics, and begin to develop methodologies that work to enhance solidarity within, and between, human and non-human communities. 

I was supported in this project by my supervisors Prof. Steve Hinchliffe who sits on the Social Science Research Council of the FSA, and Dr. Ian Cook a food geographer who co-developed the ‘Follow-the-Thing’ methodology to explore how bodies relate through and with commodities.



Hocknell, S (2016) Chewing the Fat:  Unpacking distasteful encounters, Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, 16 (3): 13-18.