Dr Sarah Bell is a Senior Lecturer in Health Geography at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH). Sarah’s research focuses on the intersections between disability, wellbeing, social inequality and the diverse and changing environments encountered through the life course.
Sarah’s work is underpinned by a passion for qualitative methodological development, designing sensitive approaches that promote critical awareness of alternative ways of embodying, experiencing and interpreting diverse everyday geographies. These range from narrative and ‘geonarrative’ approaches to emplaced, in situ and mobile methods and arts-based approaches.
Much of Sarah’s research examines experiences of mental health, wellbeing, disability and social inclusion in and with diverse forms of ‘nature’ – from parks, gardens, woodlands, coast and countryside to the weather and seasons. Sarah’s collaborative work – funded primarily by the ESRC and AHRC – challenges ableist discourses around the benefits of nature for wellbeing. It also seeks to promote a culture change, recognising and respecting disability as a source of creativity, strength and collective expertise rather than an ‘access need’. You can read more about this work online:
Sarah’s research has also highlighted the need to complement growing moves to ‘connect’ people with nature in the name of ‘health’ with efforts to cope with and adapt to experiences of environmental degradation, loss and uncertainty in the face of our rapidly changing global climate.
Since 2019, Sarah has been co-designing an interdisciplinary programme of collaborative research to explore as-yet overlooked opportunities to foreground disability rights and knowledges in climate adaptation scholarship, policy and practice. This work was selected for funding as a 2022 European Research Council Starting Grant and is funded by UKRI under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee from July 2023 – June 2028 [grant number EP/Y004264/1]. A complementary programme of arts-based research and engagement activities is being funded via the 2022 Philip Leverhulme Prize in Geography from July 2023 – July 2026. You can read more about this work online via www.sensing-climate.com.