skip to primary navigation skip to content
 

Dr Tom Fry

Dr Tom Fry

Research Associate

Environmental social scientist studying the political ecology of human-wildlife interactions, sociocultural understandings of nature, wildlife conservation and environmental management

Biography

Career

  • 2020 – present: Research Associate, ERC: Urban Ecologies (PI Maan Barua), Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2019 – 2020: Teaching Fellow for Political Ecology of Development, Department of Development Studies, School of African and Oriental Studies
  • 2019: Visiting Researcher at RURALIS, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway

Qualifications

  • 2020: PhD, University College London
  • 2016: MSc, SOAS
  • 2010: MSc, University of Cape Town
  • 2006: BA, University of York

Research

I am an environmental social scientist, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary work drawing primarily from political ecology, human geography, social anthropology and conservation science. My interests are broadly focused on the material, sociocultural and vital composition of socioecological dynamics; particularly regarding human-wildlife interactions and nature conservation. I am interested in novel ecological change and its social and political character, including rewilding, species introductions, and resurgent wildlife populations, in both rural and urban areas in the global North and South. In particular my research focuses on carnivores that are often deemed not easy to live with, and interspecies relations between people and these animals, drawing from a range of conceptual approaches within political ecology, more-than-human geography and multispecies studies.

At Cambridge I am working as a Research Associate on Maan Barua's 'Urban Ecologies' project. My research focuses on the increasing numbers of urban foxes in inner-city London, using interdisciplinary methods to try and understand how the lives of foxes, and people's relations with them, are shaped by processes of urbanisation in the modern capitalist city. Situating the lifeworlds of foxes and people, and the urban spaces and materials they frequent and use, within broader transformations of the city, it seeks to develop a more-than-human urban political ecology of interspecies relations.

Before beginning my work at Cambridge I undertook my PhD within the Human Ecology Research Group at the Department of Anthropology at University College London. My research focused on the sociocultural and livelihood impacts of reintroduced White-Tailed Eagles on hill-farming crofting communities in the Highlands of Scotland. It explored how the impacts of the eagles are mediated by historical and current structural changes in agrarian economies, and by the embodied, reciprocal and affective relations between farmers and non-humans that determine localised, personal and political ideas of belonging to landscape.

Prior to my return to academia I worked in the rural development sector for a number of years, working in policy, research and programming, with a specialism in environmental change, small-scale agriculture and natural resource management. I undertook various forms of research, policy dialogue, campaigning and programme design, and maintain an interest in producing research and working in networks that allow for engagement with policy and governance.

Teaching

Between 2019 and 2020 I worked as a teaching fellow at SOAS, focused on the module 'Political Ecology of Development', part of the wider MSc in Environment, Politics and Development. At the University of Cape Town I also worked as a Post Graduate Tutor on undergraduate courses in the Department of Politics.