Dr Hannah Dickinson

Advisory Board Member
Political-Environmental Geographer – Durham University

Hannah Dickinson is a political-environmental geographer who joined the Department of Geography at Durham University as a postdoctoral research associate in December 2020. Prior to this, Hannah completed her PhD as part of the BIOSEC project in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. Hannah’s work draws upon theoretical approaches in political ecology, critical geopolitics and political geography to examine the politics of international trade, commodification, and conservation of marine organisms and their derivatives.
Hannah’s current postdoctoral research contributes to the Leverhulme funded Circulatory Entanglements project which follows the global circulations of three marine organisms (shrimp, jellyfish and horseshoe crabs) and their biomaterials. The project explores the tensions that emerge around the intersections of marine governance, Blue Economy initiatives, and the imaginaries of ocean futures that are built around these marine biomaterials. Hannah leads the shrimp-chitosan case study, and she is currently exploring how chitosan is harvested, manufactured and circulates in a range of novel biotech-applications that are heralded as solutions to a range of socio-ecological ills. 

What’s drawn you to join the Beastly Business Advisory Board?

I am excited by the Beastly Business project because of the project’s innovative theoretical approach that seeks to bridge IWT scholarship in political ecology and green criminology. Both bodies of work are instrumental to my own research, and so I’m really looking forward to learning from, and being inspired by the team as they bring these important disciplines into conversation. I’m also really drawn to the particular species that have been selected as case studies. Bears, songbirds and eels are all highly interesting creatures, with fascinating cultural traditions attached to their trade.

The Beastly Business research is important as it focuses on a highly overlooked aspect of IWT: trade in European species. It is necessary for researchers to continue to draw attention to and analyse the dynamics of wildlife trafficking happening within Europe as they are not widely understood, and the project is well positioned to provide timely and key insights into IWT in Europe. Such insights are necessary to shape effective policy and the priorities of conservation organisations going forward.