The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Professor Alexandra Hughes

Professor of Economic Geography


Roles and Responsibilities:

Editorial Board Member of the RGS-IBG Book Series published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2013-present

Editorial Board Member of Journal of Economic Geography, 2017-

Editorial Board Member of Economic Geography, 2017-

Associate Editor of Competition and Change (Sage), 2016-

Member of ESRC Peer Review College, 2015-

External Examiner, Southampton University Geography BA Programme, 2016-

Chair of the Economic Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG), 2012-15

Research Director for the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, 2014-2017


Research Interests

Economic Geography: cultural political economy; postcolonial economies; global value chains and production networks; knowledge and economy; rethinking economy; transnational retailers and corporate responsibility; retailer-supplier relationships in the UK and USA; ethical trade and labour in South Africa, Kenya and Pakistan; tackling anti-microbial resistance in food supply chains; regulation and governance; corporate social responsibility and sustainability; the audit economy; learning networks; ethical public procurement; ethical consumption in the global South; qualitative research methods.

Research and Impact Funding

2017-2018: Economic and Social Research Council, £174,934, "Corporate food retailers, meat supply chains and the responsibilities of tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR)" (Principal Investigator) with Dr Emma Roe
and Profs Neil Wrigley, Bill Keevil and Michelle Lowe

2016-2019: British Academy/Newton Advanced Fellowship held by Dr Shari Daya of the University of Cape Town with Hughes as Co-Investigator and Newcastle University as UK host institution, £75,988, "Consumer ethics in post-apartheid South Africa"

2017-2018: N8 (Northern 8), £22,384, "Sustainable food consumption and agri-food ethics in the global South: developing pathways to impact" (Principal Investigator) with Profs Mike Crang, Cheryl McEwan, Bob Doherty and Dorothea Kleine and Drs Hector Gonzalez and Fernando Fastaso

2017-18: Economic and Social Research Council North East Impact Acceleration Fund Award, £21,003, "Converting Sustainable Wildflower Harvesting Resources into a Mobile App" (with Prof Cheryl McEwan)

2016: Economic and Social Research Council Global Challenges Research Fund Impact Acceleration Account, £17,497, "Deepening UK Markets for Sustainably Harvested Wildflowers and Sharing Best Practice with Wider Ethical Trade Networks"

2016-2017: Economic and Social Research Council North East Impact Acceleration Fund Award, £9,984, "Launching and Embedding Sustainable Harvesting Tools in the South African Fynbos Industry" (with Prof Cheryl McEwan)

2015-2016: Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Award, £9,994, "Developing and Embedding the Wild Fynbos Harvesting Guide"

2014: Elsevier, $30,000, Inaugural Geoforum Workshop, "Ethical Consumption and the Globalizing Middle Classes: Philosophies, Policies and Practices" (with Prof Mike Crang)

2013-2014: Economic and Social Research Council (Knowledge Exchange), £74, 210 (RCUK contribution), "Developing Sustainable Wildflower Harvesting for Global Supply Chains" (Principal Investigator) with Prof Cheryl McEwan and Dr David Bek (RA)

2010-2012: Leverhulme Trust, £180,722, "Ethical Production in South Africa: Advancing a Cultural Economy Approach” (Co-Investigator) with Prof Cheryl McEwan (Principal Investigator) and Dr David Bek (RA)

2011-2012: Faculty Research Fund, Newcastle University, £2,924, "Ethical Sourcing by the Public Sector: Institutional Responsibility in 'Austerity Britain'" 

2009-2011: The British Academy (SG-53960), £6778, "Managing Ethical Trade in a Global Economic Crisis: The Case of UK Retailers"

2007-2009: Economic and Social Research Council Impact Grant (RES-172-25-0048), £44,412, "Retailers and Corporate Social Responsibility: Developing and Promoting a Strategic Agenda" (Principal Investigator) with Professor Neil Wrigley

2005-2007: Economic and Social Research Council (RES-000-23-0830), £108,000, “Organising Ethical Trade: a UK-USA Comparison” (Principal Investigator) with Professor Neil Wrigley

2005-2007: Economic and Social Research Council Seminar Series, Postcolonial Economies, with Professor Jane Pollard (GPS), Professor Nina Laurie (GPS), Professor Alison Stenning (GPS), Professor Uma Kothari (Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester) and Professor Cheryl McEwan (Department of Geography, University of Durham).

2002-2003: The British Academy (SG-33442), £4914, "Learning to Account for Ethical Trade: Retailers, Knowledges and Social Audits"

2000: University of Newcastle upon Tyne Small Grants Panel Award, £1,632, "Organisational Geographies of Business Ethics: The Case of the Ethical Trading Initiative"

1999: The Nuffield Foundation Social Science Small Grants Scheme (SGS/LB/0270), £3,995, “Practising Corporate Responsibility: Evaluating ‘Codes of Practice’ in the Kenyan Cut Flower Industry"

1996-1997: University of Aberdeen Research Committee Grant (R818), £3,525, “The Production of Festival Consumption: The Case of the Cut Flower Trade”

 Postgraduate Supervision

Research areas: economic geography and political economy; global value chains and production networks; knowledges and economies; postcolonial economies; retailer-supplier relationships; economic development in South Africa; regulation and governance; ethical trade and business responsibility; the audit economy; learning networks; ethical consumption in the global South.

Recent and current students:

Zara Babakordi (ESRC); Andrea Wilkinson (ESRC); Waziri Galadima (self-funded); Rituparna Sarma (self-funded); Jon Swords (ESRC/CASE); Peter Thomas (ESRC); David Phillips (ESRC/CASE with Traidcraft)


Undergraduate Teaching

GEO3041 Geographies of Commodities
GEO2099 Economic Geography