Sarah Peck

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PhD Topic: Doing development: the everyday lives and labours of civil society activists in the Eastern Caribbean

Supervisors: Dr. Daniel Hammett & Dr. Chasca Twyman

Funding: ERSC Collaborative studentship in association with the Commonwealth Foundation (2014-2017)

Current research

Sarah’s PhD research aims to explore how civil society organisations operate in Barbados and Grenada, particularly those primarily associated with environmental concerns. Due to the collaborative nature of the project it is particularly interested in the relationship between international donors and civil society actors. Through a participatory research approach this project hopes to consider how civil society, considering its many intricacies and trajectories, can best be supported from the outside by international organisations and the complexities associated with this kind of support.

Sarah’s research interests are rooted in how people experience the changing world around them and how civil society activists engage in development processes. She is particularly interested in their experiences of this type of labour, the patterns of work required and the practices, knowledge and skills that make up the ‘doing of development’. This spans four broad, but intertwined academic areas: civil society and activism, labour, emotional geographies and building relationships.

Wider research interests

  • The relevance of spatial theories for exploring civil society and social activism
  • Geographies of labour and the time-space dimensions of labour
  • Mobilities of labour
  • Modes of governing development, particularly the role of the private sector, entrepreneurship, philanthropy and diaspora groups
  • Environmental governance, particularly in small island states
  • The Caribbean region
  • Participatory, collaborative and ethnographic research methodologies
  • Academia – NGO/Civil society collaborations
  • Geographies of development

Professional background

Sarah’s professional background is in health and social care, and she has worked in the UK and internationally. She completed a Masters in International Development and Public Health at the University of Sheffield in 2013, gaining a distinction. Sarah still interested in aspects of wellbeing and quality of life, particularly in the disability and development nexus, and inclusion and participation of non-state actors in health governance.

Peer-reviewed papers

Peck, S. (2015) Civil Society, Everyday life and the Possibilities for Development Studies Geography Compass 9/10 550-564 10.1111/gec3.12245

Other writing

Harrison, E., Jew, E., Smith, T. Iqbal, A. & Peck, S. (2015) Building Bridges in development: five recommendations to connect the islands of policy, practice and research on London School of Economics Social Impact Blog available at:

Peck, S. (2015) Creative writing: part of democratic change on the Sheffield Institute of International Development Blog available at:

Contact details

Sarah would love to hear from anyone with an interest in her research, her contact details are:

D5, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Winter Street, Sheffield, S10 2TN