Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Dr Duika Burges Watson



Dr Duika L.Burges Watson core research interests are in inter-disciplinary approaches to food and well-being – from source to senses. From the ‘source’, her research focus is the impact of neoliberal globalisation, ‘big food’ and alternative food networks; with a concern for how a changing food environment is understood in public health and policy. With the ‘senses’ she draws on insights from sensory ethnography and new neurological and scientific approaches to multi-modal flavour perception, she considers the implications and potential benefits of applying new understandings in health fields. She leads an expanding research network investigating the lived experience of ‘altered eating’. Altered eating (AE) refers to a “changed state of any combination of physical, emotional and social interactions with food and eating that has a negative impact on health and wellbeing” (Burges Watson et al, 2018). She was principle investigator on the NIHR/RfPB funded project Resources for Living which was the first major investigation into the effect of living long term with eating difficulties for survivors of head and neck cancer. 


Altered Eating Research Network

Altered eating on Twitter and instagram @alteredeating

Personal research blog: Health and Society Twitter Feed: Debedub

Duika on Research Gate, ORCID and Linked-in

Roles and Responsibilities 

Duika is Lecturer at Newcastle University based in the Institute of Health and Society and leads Master’s modules on Global Health in the Anthropocene and Health and Society.


PhD Health Geography: Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia.

Previous Positions

  • 2008- 2017  Lecturer in the Evaluation of Policy Interventions, Centre for Public Policy and Health, Durham University
  • 2005-2008  Research Associate/Senior Research Associate, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University
  • 2003 –2005  School of Geography, Sociology and Politics, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK: Tutor
  • 2001 Department of Asian Languages and Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia: Teaching assistant                                  
  • 2000- 2001 Program Co-ordinator, Ten Days on the Island, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Australia
  • 1995- 2000  Program Co-ordinator, Salamanca Arts Centre,  Tasmania, Australia
  • 1990-1991 Intern, United Nations, Geneva and New York

Area of expertise

  • Food: from source to senses


  • Fellow, Institute of British Geographers/Royal Geographical Society
  • RGS-IBG Food Geographies Working Group


  • Indonesian (working proficiency)

Postgraduate Supervision

  • PhD Helen Carter, Altered Eating and Primary Sjögren's Syndrome: co-supervision with Vincent Deary (Northumbria University)
  • PhD Marjolaine Ryley, Time, Image, Archive: Auto-ethnographic Photographic Practice in the Investigation of North East Gardening Communities: co-supervision with Uta Kogelsberger
  • PhD Jemma Mcready, Altered Eating and Autism in children: co-supervision with Vincent Deary (Northumbria University)

Esteem Indicators

Duika is a Director of the Station Masters' Community Wildlife Garden and Yoga Station: not for profit community initiatives that promote health and well-being through social innovation.

With Johanna Wadsley she was recipient of the 2012 Neville Schulman Challenge Award with the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers for the project Hugging the Coast - exploring liminal living and seaweed farming in the Sanghei archipelago (because she is fascinated by seaweed). The project was documented in photograph, film , in curriculum resources for teachers and as a case study on the impact of climate change on the coast as part of Openlearn at Open University.

Funding Received 

  • 2017 ESRC Impact Accelerator Award additional funding £750, Resources for living with altered eating difficulties 
  • 2016 Head of School Award, £880, Travel bursary for Smell/Taste Training Workshop, Prof Thomas Hummel, Dresden, Germany
  • 2016 ESRC Impact Accelerator Award, £10,000, Resources for living with altered eating difficulties 
  • 2016 Wolfson small grant, Culinary Innovation, the Senses and Health special interest group, £2000
  • 2015 Wolfson small grant, Culinary Innovation, the Senses and Health special interest group, £2000
  • 2013 -2016 NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme, £249562 Resources for Living (R4L) Pilot: Exploring the Potential of Progressive Cuisine for Quality of Life Improvement for Head and Cancer Survivors 
  • 2014 Wolfson small grant, Culinary Innovation, the Senses and Health special interest group, £2000
  • 2012 Unltd Social Enterprise Award: Star People, £15,000. The Yoga Station, Whitley Bay (Director) Not for profit.
  • 2012 Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers Neville Schulman Challenge Award, £10,000, Hugging the Coast:  An exploration by sea kayak of liminal living in the Sangihe Archipelago, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, Burges Watson D (PI) and Wadsley J 
  • 2011 Beacon £5000  For: Playing with food: patient and public involvement in head and neck cancer research, Burges Watson D (PI),  and Dr Sue Lewis
  • 2011 Wolfson Blue Skies Award £2000 For: Development of  a patient and public involvement strategy for head and neck cancer research, Burges Watson D (PI),  and Dr Sue Lewis 
  • 2011 Community Spaces, National Lottery award £50,000. Station Master's Community Wildlife Garden (Chair 2011-2017)


Altered eating

A core focus of my current research is on 'altered eating' which we have defined as ' a changed state of any combination of environmental, physical, emotional and social interactions with food and eating that has a negative impact on health and wellbeing”. With Professor Vincent Deary at Northumbria University we lead a research network aiming to test and develop our Altered Eating (AE) framework, tool and interventions as a trans-diagnostic approach across areas where eating difficulties or changes go almost unrecognised as a chronic concern. The AE approach was  developed through NIHR-funded research with head and neck cancer survivors. The approach is now being employed to consider food and eating in relation to the exposome, in connection with a range of chronic illnesses such as Sjogren's syndrome and Parkinson's disease, and in connection with a 'source to senses' approach to food and eating in the anthropocene.

Altered Eating Research Network

Open access paper on Altered Eating

Research specialties

Food from source to senses, alternative food networks, food policy, knowledge exchange, wider engagement and patient and public involvement, critical geographies and qualitative methods in health research.


HSC8007: Global Health in the Anthropocene

Module Leader: Dr Duika L. Burges Watson

Lecturers: Prof Ted Shrecker, Prof Andy Large, Dr Andrew Law, Dr Mark Booth, Prof Tiago Moreira

It is now widely argued that humanity has entered a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – characterised by the unprecedented scale, scope and interactions of multiple human impacts on the biosphere. The importance of the concept and associated challenges have been underscored by the 2015 report of the Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health ( Climate change is the most familiar of these impacts, but it is far from the only one, and understandings of what the concept of the Anthropocene means for health policy, global health and global justice are still evolving. Like the Lancet Commission, this module uses the Anthropocene as a ‘window’ into broader issues related to the connections between environment and health, introduces students to the relevant bodies of research evidence, and offers them the opportunity to apply understandings of that evidence to specific challenges in research design, policy development and public health practice.

Sample readings:

Steffen, W., Broadgate, W., Deutsch, L., Gaffney, O., & Ludwig, C. (2015). The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration. The Anthropocene Review, 2,81-98. Online:

Whitmee, S. et al. (2015). Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–LancetCommission on planetary health. The Lancet, 386, 1973-2028. Online:

Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Steffen, W., & Crutzen, P. (2010). The New World of the Anthropocene. Environmental Science & Technology, 44,2228-2231. Online:

Editorial board of Cities and Health (2017). Cities and health: an evolving global conversation. Cities & Health, 1,1-9. Online:

Sassen, S. (2016). What is Behind the New Migrations: A Massive Loss of Habitat. Deterritorial Investigations (Video). Online:

Haines, A. (2017). Addressing challenges to human health in the Anthropocene epoch - an overview of the findings of the Rockefeller/Lancet Commission on Planetary Health. International Health, 9,269-271

Logan, A.C., Prescott, S.L., Haahtela, T. and Katz, D.L., 2018. The importance of the exposome and allostatic load in the planetary health paradigm. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 37(1), p.15.