School of Sociology and Social Policy

Image of James Heydon

James Heydon

Assistant Professor in Criminology, Faculty of Social Sciences



I joined the School of Sociology and Social Policy in 2019, having worked at Russell Group and post-92 institutions beforehand. I hold a PhD in Criminology, MA in International Criminal Justice, and PGCHE in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

I am a member of the European and British Societies of Criminology. In relation to the latter, I was Chair of its Green Criminology Research Network for over four years. I have also been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy since 2013.

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5826-3848

Expertise Summary

My expertise lies in environmental harm more broadly and air pollution more specifically. Sitting in the field of criminology, I research the effectiveness of formal and informal social controls aimed at addressing environmental problems. This includes the more traditional 'top-down' approaches, such as law and regulation, but also those deemed 'bottom-up', such as the application of deviancy labels by 'non-elite' groups and the educational potential of citizen science.

My current research focuses on three overlapping areas:

Air Pollution - My current work explores the separate areas of wood burning stove emissions and the exposure of children to air pollution in schools. With regard to the former, my research has identified indoor emissions from stove appliances, looked at how people engage with technology revealing this reality, and explored the limits of existing smoke control area regulations. Currently, I am working on a project evaluating the feasibility of introducing 'no burn days' to the UK.

My work on air pollution in schools looks at the human aspects of technological solutions. Previously, I have explored the potential for personal air quality sensors to minimise exposure on the school run, while my current work explores the possibility for low-cost filtration systems to address the problem and provide educational opportunities.

Environmental Justice / Citizen Decision Making - I also have an interest in the decision-making procedures underpinning unequal exposures to environmental harm. This has included primary research into the treatment of First Nation peoples in and around Northern Canada's oil sands frontier and - closer to home - the injustices that arose during the felling of Sheffield's street trees. Associated with this is also my writing on Extinction Rebellion and the deliberative possibilities created by their activities. I am also co-editor of Gendering Green Criminology, the first collection aimed at sensitising green criminology to issues of gender from an intersectional standpoint.

Crimes and Harms of the Powerful - As a criminologist, I have a long-standing interest in environmental crimes and harms of the powerful. My work in this area has involved mixed methods research into the regulatory system underpinning the 'sustainable development' of Canada's oil sands industry, its relationship with settler-colonialism, denial, and extractivist politics. My more theoretical work relates to this in that it considers how the concept of 'state crime' can be expanded to include instances of environmental destruction. I am currently working on resurrecting the concept of deviance to encourage environmental criminology to be more solutions orientated.

Media Engagement:

My work regularly appears in the media, including BBC News, The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, and the 'i', among others. I also occasionally write academic blogs.

Teaching Summary

I teach across two modules in the School of Sociology and Social Policy: Understanding Crime and Victimisation (1st year) and Crimes and Harms of the Powerful (3rd year). I am also a personal tutor… read more

Recent Publications

I welcome PhD prospective candidates interested in any area of research. I am particularly interested in supervising PhD projects focusing on the following subjects: Green Criminology | Environmental Regulation | Environmental Justice | Air Pollution | Citizen Science | Environmental Harm | Crimes and Harms of the Powerful

Current PhD Students

Amy Gibbons

Caitlin Bunce

Courtney Smith

Ashley Allen

I teach across two modules in the School of Sociology and Social Policy: Understanding Crime and Victimisation (1st year) and Crimes and Harms of the Powerful (3rd year). I am also a personal tutor and dissertation supervisor.

I have been awarded the University's Rising Star Impact Award (2024) for the positive influence of my research beyond the academy, the Lord Dearing Award (22/23) for my teaching and learning practice, and a Faculty Student Experience Award (22/23) for my work as Senior Tutor in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. I was also awarded a Teaching Innovation Award (20/21) by the University of Nottingham Students' Union for enhancing the digital engagement of students.

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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