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Dr Sam Saville

Senior Lecturer

Sam is an alumnus and former lecturer of the Graduate School who returned to CAT in 2021 as a senior lecturer. She returns from a decade of academic geography as a passionate learning facilitator with research specialisms in value systems, nature-culture relations, polar and rural regions, globalization and participative research.  

Sam is a geographer with a sustained interest in the processes of progressing towards a sustainable future. As an undergraduate, she studied the role of NGOs in creating pathways for change. From there an MSc at CAT was a logical step. Having embraced the technical aspects of building physics, renewable energy and sustainable building materials, she nevertheless remained curious as to the personal and political systemic changes needed. Her thesis investigated how to better engage householders in energy-related behaviour changes. Finding the MSc to be a life-changing experience, she came on board as a member of staff to help develop distance learning versions of our courses, later becoming a tutor and lecturer.

Sam was tempted back to geography for doctoral studies where she investigated the politics and practices of natural and cultural heritage conservation in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard through the lens of value theory. Here she found herself at the leading edge of climate change and ‘pristine wilderness’ protection. Following a postdoctoral fellowship, she continues to engage in researching the rapid rate of social and economic change associated with the profound environmental changes happening there.

More recently Sam has worked as a researcher on rural globalization and as a visiting lecturer at Aberystwyth University, a visiting lecturer at the University of Chester and now returns to CAT from a two-year teaching post at the University of Cambridge and the Scott Polar Research Institute.


  • PhD, Human Geography. ‘Saving Svalbard? Contested value, conservation practices and everyday life in the high Arctic’, Aberystwyth University. 2018.
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PGCTHE), Aberystwyth University, 2012.
  • Architecture: Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies (Distinction), University of East London via Centre for Alternative Technology, 2009.
  • First Class BA (Hons) in Human Geography, University of Wales Aberystwyth, 2005.
  • City and Guilds 6176 in Energy Awareness, Centre for Sustainable Energy, 2003.

Research Interests

  • Nature-culture relations especially perceptions and discourses of nature, wilderness and conservation
  • Discourses of climate change and the environment
  • Behaviour change and its politics
  • Value, values and valuation
  • Well-being, buildings and natural materials
  • Participative, embodied and visual methodologies; co-production and decolonisation of knowledge, politics of knowledge production.

 Teaching Activities

  • Lecturer
  • Seminar and practical studies tutor
  • Personal tutor
  • Thesis supervisor

Professional Membership & Other

Ambassador for the Women in the Arctic and Antarctic; Member of the Svalbard Social Science Initiative and the International Arctic Social Science Association.

Sam is also co-founder of Flowering Elbow, a social enterprise focussed on sharing experience and knowledge of upcycling, materials-led design and innovation.


  • Saville, S.M. (2022) ‘Valuing time: Tourism transitions in Svalbard’, Polar Record, 58, p. e11. Available at:
  • Woods, M., J. Heley, F. Fois, L. Jones, A. Onyeahialam. Saville and M. Welsh (2021) ‘Assemblage, place and globalisation’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers,
  • Saville, S.M., Brode-Roger, D., Albert, M., Fergusen, L. Ødegaard, C.V., Sokolíčková, Z., Iversen, L., la Cour, E. Meyer, A., Duda, P. (2020) ‘Social Science in the Arctic’, Environmental, Coastal and Offshore Magazine (July/August)
  • Saville, S. M. (2020) ‘Towards Humble Geographies’, Area, 53(1), pp. 97–105. doi: 1111/area.12664.
  • Saville, S.M. and G. Hoskins (eds) (2020) Locating Value: Theory, Application and Critique. Routledge.
  • Saville, S. M. (2020). ‘Locating value(s) in political ecologies of knowledge: The East Svalbard management plan’. In S. M. Saville & G. Hoskins (Eds.), Locating Value (pp. 173–185). Routledge.
  • Heley, J., Welsh, M., & Saville, S.M. (2020). ‘The fanta-sy of global products: Fizzy-drinks, differentiated ubiquity and the placing of globalization’. Globalizations, 17(4), 683–697.
  • Ferguson, L., Saville, S.M., Sokolíčková, Z. (2019) Public Consultation on Views Towards Management of Central Spitsbergen.
  • Saville, S. M. (2019). Value and Decision Making in Svalbard. Aberystwyth University. [Report for policy makers]
  • Saville, S. M. (2019). Tourists and researcher identities: Critical considerations of collisions, collaborations and confluences in Svalbard. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(4), 573–589.
  • Saville, S.M. (2018) ‘Festivals are bigger business than ever before – but that doesn’t mean they’ve lost their care free spirit’, The Conversation,
  • Saville, S.M. (2018) Series of Story Maps for Global-Rural: ‘Assembling Rural Festivals’; ‘Expressions of Globalization’; ‘Migration in Mid-Wales’ [with A. Onyeahialam]; ‘Soft Drinks Stories: Tracing Fanta to Newtown, Wales’ [with A. Onyeahialam]. Hosted on
  • Welsh, M. and Saville, S.M. (2016) Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Household and Community Survey 2016, Project report for The Global Countryside: Rural Change and Development in Globalization (GLOBAL-RURAL).
  • Saville, S.M. (2014) ‘The ecotourism–extraction nexus: political economies and rural realities of (un)comfortable bedfellows’, Journal of Ecotourism, 13: 2-3, pp 171-173. (Book Review).