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Lucy Cavendish College Fellow and Director of Studies in Economics,  MPhil and Undergraduate supervision, Faculty of Education


PhD Environmental Education, from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

MA International Relations, from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

BA (Hons) Peace Studies, from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland

Membership of professional bodies


Profile and research interests

Mary's focus is environmental and social justice. As an entrepreneur she has specific experience in the production, consumption, and distribution of food and how it mirrors social, economic, and environmental health. She is particularly interested in the intersections of politics, economics, and society in the sustainability field. Her academic work is framed by the philosophy of critical realism, social ontology and is underpinned by the theories of semiotics, World Risk, reflexivity, and structure and agency.

She has researched the negotiations process in Northern Ireland and South Africa.  She established an Amnesty International Chapter during The Troubles in Northern Ireland and worked in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.  She supported former Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mohammed Valli Moosa, to bring economic and social data to secure the banning of the 17-micron disposable plastic shopping bag in 2000.

She has developed and presented a postgraduate course in environmental education, designed and delivered curriculum-based school education programmes, developed public pedagogy campaigns and methods including interactive workshops, talks, videos, broadcast media, documentaries and story.

Mary's entrepreneurial background includes the establishment, in 2006, of FullCycle, a company centred on the food system from cradle to grave, which sold sustainable environmental solutions, particularly in food waste reduction to clients in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. She owned and managed FullCycle for twelve years until 2018 and, in that time, oversaw a significant decrease in climate change impact as well as a sizeable increase in turnover for her clients.

She is trained in carbon foot printing and ISO 4001 methodologies and has worked with a range of transnational and intergovernmental organisations including the Global Environment Facility, WSSD, COP and UNESCO.

View Dr Murphy's DoS profile here.