Profile: Clare Herrick

Dr. Clare Herrick, Lecturer, Cities Group, Department of Geography, King’s College London, UK. Clare’s current research interests converge around the concept of health as a consumption trend, new spaces of conspicuous consumption and the sociospatial divisions that these are engendering.

Clare Herrick completed her Ph.D. at University College London in 2007 (supervised by Drs Matthew Gandy and Nicola Shelton) after having studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, and University of California at Los Angeles (USA). After completing a Masters at UCLA in the political ecology of genetically modified (GM) crops, she turned her attention away from debates around global malnutrition to those of over-nutrition. Keen to continue exploring aspects of US policy, her dissertation was a comparative study of the emergence of obesity as a public health crisis in the UK and US. More specifically, the work focused on London, and Austin, Texas to examine how the politics of health play out in spatialised and socialized ways and the wider questions these raise for neo-liberal governance. With an overarching interest in policy rhetoric and the uptake of this by the media and stakeholders, the work sought to explore obesity through a number of novel theoretical channels.

Having taken up a post at King s College London in late 2007 and focussing on publishing the last remnants of her PhD, Clare received two new research grants in 2008. first, an RGS-funded project entitled Consumed by risk: building the qualitative and comparative links between obesity and alcohol research in health geography is a scoping project to try and tease out some of the commonalities found in the governance of problematic, risky behaviours in this case eating and drinking. The empirical research centres on the experience of London, with particular focus on the policy community and local government in a number of inner and outer London boroughs.

The second, a British Academy funded project entitled Mass running events and the city: participation, public health and urban somatic justice explores how the increasingly prolific form of the mass, public running event is being used as a tool and vehicle to achieve not only a host of public policy goals, but also to catalyse an ethic of participation and, in the process, inspire new readings and uses of public space. The research uses two case studies – the Great North Run held in Newcastle and the Great Ethiopia Run held in Addis Ababa – to explore some of these themes in two culturally and developmentally diverse settings. In addition is concentrating on writing publications from these two grants, Clare is also developing plans for a book focussing on strategies of governance and risk minimisation in the context of health.

Clare may be contacted at

Updated: April 2009