Fiona Spotswood, PhD

Senior Lecturer at University of the West of England, Bristol, England

Fiona Spotswood, PhD

Dr. Fiona Spotswood is a senior lecturer in marketing at the University of the West of England, one of UK’s leading new university business schools. She is a member of the Bristol Behaviour Change Centre and is a research-active academic.

Fiona’s PhD study saw her spend five months living on one of the UK’s most deprived council estates, exploring through ethnographic observation the culture of modern British ‘working class’ life. She was investigating the role of leisure time physical activity in the lives of deprived British adults and her analysis indicated that individualistic, downstream approaches to behaviour change are unlikely to have much impact given the inherently ingrained nature of our behavioural choices.

After the completion of her PhD, Fiona’s research continued to take a cultural view of socially problematic behaviours. For example she has explored the culture of cycling in the UK, through a large scale national survey and qualitative focus groups. One of the resulting papers used Social Practices Theory to explore the culture of cycling and to present a set of options for an alternative, culturalist underpinning of behaviour change approaches.

More recently, however, Fiona’s primary research has side-stepped into an exploration of the implications of marketing on various cultural phenomena which are damaging to societal wellbeing.  She is focusing increasingly on the impact of marketing on children’s consumption practices and particularly their materialism. For example one recent study – in collaboration with Professor Agnes Nairn of EM-Lyon – used cross-national qualitative data to explore the practice of children’s consumption, again using Social Practices Theory. This has been published in a paper entitled “Obviously in the cool group they wear designer things” in the European Journal of Marketing.

Fiona plans to expand her research focus in the future to look at the role of food marketing on children’s obesity, of marketing on e-cigarette ‘vaping’ and the role of marketing by the fitness and food industries on negative body image amongst women.