JC Niala

josephine niala

DPhil Student

St Catherine's College

Thesis: Urban Gardening – gardeners and their sites of socio-ecological production. An ethnographic study with practitioners at its centre.

Research: Around 55% of the world’s population live in cities or urban areas. One of the key challenges is sustainable food supplies which includes the need for more food to be grown in the built environment. This challenge is also linked to environmental issues, climate change and water. Most studies on urban gardening and agriculture focus on productivity, poverty alleviation and economics. There are relatively few studies that focus on the people who are already growing food in urban areas. My research aims to find out who these urban gardeners are, understand their motivations and participate in their processes. I will be conducting my research in the city of Oxford. I also practice public engagement with research and as part of my research methods host a podcast called Urban Garden Food as a knowledge exchange platform between practitioners, researchers and the public.

Other research interests: urban anthropology, material culture, memory, visual anthropology, de-colonisation, counter colonisation, post-colonial theory, museum ethnography, folklore, social justice, space and place making, anthropology of food.

Previous education

MSc Social Anthropology, University of Oxford (2018) with distinction
MSt Creative Writing, University of Oxford (2017)


AHRC-TORCH Public Engagement with Research Summer School Pitching Competition (2018) First place
Community Engagement and Academic Merit Award (2017) Kellogg College, University of Oxford
IARU- Santander Global Summer Program Scholarship (2016)


Niala, J.C. (2018) Reconstructing Relationships: An autoethnographic account of post-colonial museum encounters. Work in progress paper presented at Museum Ethnographers Group conference. Oxford, United Kingdom


Niala, J.C. (2019, March) Reconstructing Relationships: An autoethnographic account of post-colonial museum encounters. Journal of Museum Ethnography.

Website: www.urbangardenfood.com
Email: jc.niala@anthro.ox.ac.uk
Twitter: @jcniala