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    PhD projects

    Poverty, food poverty, faith-based organisations, geographies of food, geographies of religion, volunteering


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    Personal profile

    Research Interests

    Poverty; Food poverty; Holiday hunger; Volunteering; Christianity; Faith-based social action; Affect theory


    Stephanie Denning is a social and cultural geographer, whose research focusses on Christian responses to poverty - faith-based social action, Christianity, volunteering, and holiday hunger.  To keep up to date with Stephanie's research, follow her on Twitter @SJ_Denning.

    Stephanie is currently working on the multi-disciplinary ESRC-funded project 'Life on the Breadline - Christianity, Poverty and Politics in the 21st century'.  The project is examining Christian responses to UK poverty in the context of austerity.  It combines ethnography with interviews of national church leaders and an online survey with regional church leaders.  For more information, visit

    Stephanie completed her PhD in Human Geography at the University of Bristol in 2018.  Her PhD research examined Christian responses to holiday hunger through establishing a running a project with the national charity 'MakeLunch' to question how people are motivated by their faith to volunteer, and how they persist in volunteering.  Prior to this, Stephanie completed the MSc Human Geography: Society and Space at the University of Bristol in 2014, and obtained a BSc Geography at the University of Birmingham in 2012.

    PhD Project

    My PhD research at the University of Bristol was within social and cultural geography, exploring faith-based social action. Using participatory methodologies I established and ran a project through the national charity MakeLunch to tackle children’s holiday hunger. Capturing volunteers’ experiences in diaries and interviews I explored how volunteers are motivated to act in a faith context, and to continue volunteering. I under-took this analysis through the philosophies of affective geographies to see how people’s capacities to act are impacted upon by past action. The research concluded that Christian faith can motivate action, but motivations must be continually re-ignited to avoid in-action. The research contributed to the geographies of religion in understanding the role of religion in people’s daily lives and in society, and to an affect theory approach for faith-based research. Finally the research contributed to the voluntary sector for understanding how people persist in volunteering.

    Education/Academic qualification

    Human Geography, Doctorate, University of Bristol


    Human Geography, MSc


    Geography, Degree, University of Birmingham



    • G Geography (General)
    • BR Christianity
    • H Social Sciences (General)


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