Samantha M Saville

Photograph of Samantha M Saville.PhD Candidate
PGCTHE (Postgraduate Certificate of Teaching in Higher Education): Aberystwyth University
MSc Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies, Centre for Alternative Technology/ University of East London
BA (Hons) Human Geography, Aberystwyth University


Office: C10g
Tel: +44 (0)1970 622653
Fax: +44 (0)1970 622659 profile:
Project Blog:


Polarising nature-culture: an examination of value in Svalbard



The PhD project explores how value is produced and practiced in three settlements of arctic Svalbard:

Pyramiden (an abandoned Russian mining settlement and tourist attraction), Barentsburg (an active Russian mining town, science base and developing tourist attraction) and Longyearbyen (the home to the Global Seed Bank, main scientific research centres and coal mining firm).  Of particular interest is the relationships of nature-culture entangled within such value and values.

My interest in our relationships with the ecosystems and environments we live in, and are part of, has taken many forms:    Undergraduate studies of nature and the ‘sustainable society’ led me to a work placement as an energy advisor with the Centre for Sustainable Energy and inspired research into the role of NGOs in transition towards a ‘sustainable society’.

I went on to explore such relationships in an applied setting to examine how the environmental impact of the built environment can be reduced, through the MSc at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). The relationship between the built environment and its inhabitants was of particular interest and resulted in a research thesis exploring motivations and ways to influence environmentally responsible energy behaviours.

I continued working with CAT in this field, becoming a tutor on the distance learning version of the masters course, with particular contributions to managing the virtual learning environment, lectures on discourses of climate change and eco-refurbishment, and co-module leading on: ‘Environment and Energy in the world context’; Climate, Comfort and Building Performance;  ‘Occupant Health and Well-being’.

Outside of the PhD research,  I am a founder member of Flowering Elbow: a non-profit organisation which seeks to promote and enable increased creativity and inventiveness with ‘waste’ materials:


  • Aberystwyth student representative for the Wales ESRC Doctoral Training Centre; 2013-2014
  • Co-convenor of the Human Geography Seminar Series 2013-2014

Research Interests

  • Environmental values
  • Nature-culture relations
  • Landscape
  • Climate change and human responses
  • Polar Geographies
  • Secondary interests:

  • Geographies of materiality and making
  • Environmental building and natural materials
  • Eco-psychology, behaviour change

Group Affliation

Cultural and Historical Geography Research Group


  • Supplementary teaching for GGM3320 – Environmental Policy and Sustainability
  • MSc dissertation supervisor for Centre for Alternative Technology



  1. (Book Review) Saville, S.M. (2014) ‘The ecotourism–extraction nexus: political economies and rural realities of (un)comfortable bedfellows’, Journal of Ecotourism, DOI



  1. ‘Putting Value Theory into Action’, Dialogues in Human Geography, Aberystwyth University March 13th 2014
  2. ‘And how does that make you feel? Exploring scientists relations with Svalbard’, Lunchtime seminar, University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, 28th May 2014
  3. ‘Political Ecologies of Knowledge: Locating value(s) of knowledge production at the (scientific) field site’, Royal Geographical Society with IBG Annual Conference, 26th-29th August 2014
  4. ‘Climate change and imaging futures through making’ (Workshop) Royal Geographical Society with IBG Annual Conference, 26th-29th August 2014
  5. ‘Coal mining in Svalbard: The elephant in the room?’, Barents Institute (University of the Arctic) 2014 Thorvald Stoltenberg Conference, Mining the Arctic: sustainable communities, economies, and governance? Thon Hotel, Kirkenes, 7-8th October 2014


  1. 'Polarising nature-culture: initial thoughts on values in Svalbard’, RGS-IBG Postgraduate Mid Term Conference, Birmingham University 25-27th March 2013.
  2. 'Relating the extraordinary: Memories of Svalbard’, Nordic Geographers Meeting, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, 11-14th June 2013
  3. 'Visualising climate changed landscapes’ (with Kelvin Mason), Future Climate Dialogues Symposium, Aberystwyth University 13th June 2013 (Poster and exhibition)


  1. Saville, S.J and Saville S.M. 2012. ‘Mending by Breaking’, 1st Mend*rs Research Symposium, Docker, Kendal, UK. 29 June - 2 July, 2012


  1. Contributing author to Luikham, S. 2010. ‘Motivation and Behavioural Change’ in Zero Carbon Britain 2030: A New Energy Strategy, Machynlleth: Centre for Alternative Technology


  1. Saville, S. 2009. ‘What does it take to create ‘power down’ behaviour?5th Sustainable Science Symposium, Centre for Alternative Technology, 10th October 2009