Dr Emma Surman

Dr Emma Surman

Department of Marketing
Senior Lecturer in Marketing

Contact details

Room G45, University House
Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TY

Dr Emma Surman's research falls broadly within the areas of consumer culture, critical marketing, sociology of consumption and ethics and sustainability in relation to consumer practices. Recent projects have explored the links between the production and consumption of food including food swapping, communal eating, school gardens and community responses to food poverty. Emma has held grants from organisations including the EPRSC, ESRC and AHRC.


  • PhD, Keele University, UK
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Keele University, UK
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Keele University, UK


Emma joined Birmingham Business School in 2019 having previously worked at Keele University and University of Warwick. She has worked on and led research projects funded by the EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC and other funding bodies. Through this work she has collaborated with a broad range of organisations including community groups, local government, charities and third sector organisations. She reviews for a number of journals and is an Associate Editor for Gender, Work and Organization.


Emma has developed modules and taught at undergraduate, postgraduate and executive levels. Previous modules taught include ‘Marketing and Society’ and ‘Marketing and Globalisation’.

Postgraduate supervision

Emma is interested in supervising research in the following areas:

  • Critical Marketing
  • Community Organisations and Consumption
  • Food Consumption and the Intersections with Production
  • Ethical and Sustainable/Consumption
  • Vulnerable Consumers and Market Place Exclusion
  • Participatory/Arts Based and Visual Research Methodologies


Emma takes an interdisciplinary, interpretive and ethnographic approach to consumer research, working in collaboration with a range of organisations including community groups. Recent projects have explored the links between the production and consumption of food including food swapping, communal eating, school gardens and community responses to food poverty.


Surman, E., Kelemen, M. & Rumens, N. (2021) Ways to care: forms and possibilities of compassion within UK food banks, Sociological Review DOI: 10.1177/0038026121991330

Rotenberg, K., Surman, E. & McGrath, M. (2021) Loneliness, Food Poverty, and Perceived Benefits of Communal Food Consumption from a Charity Service, Journal of Poverty. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10875549.2020.1869667

Parsons, E., Kearney, T., Surman, E., Cappellini, B., Moffat, S., Harman, V. & Scheurenbrand, K. (2021) Who really cares? Introducing an ‘Ethics of Care’ to debates on transformative value co-creation, Journal of Business Research, 122: 794-804. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.06.058

Hamilton, L. and Surman, E. (2019) ‘Growing consumers through production and play: a phenomenological exploration of gardening in the school foodscape’, Sociology, 53(3): 468-485

Laycock Pedersen, R, Robinson, Z and Surman, E. (2019) ‘Understanding Transience and Participation in University Student-Led Food Gardens’, Sustainability11(10), 2788; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102788

Surman, E. (2019) ‘Taken over by technology: remote work, anxious work or no work at all?’ In Hamilton, L., Mitchell L and Mangan, A. (eds) Contemporary Issues in Management: a critical management approach. Second Edition. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd

Kelemen, M. Surman, E. and Dikomitis, L. (2018) ‘Cultural Animation in Health Research: An Innovation Methodology for patient and public involvement and engagement,’ Health Expectations, 21(4): 805-813, Impact factor: 1.69.  Now available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/hex.12677

Surman, E. Kelemen, M. Millward, H. and Moffat, S. (2018) ‘Food, ethics and Community: using cultural animation to develop a food charter’, Journal of Consumer Ethics – Special Issue on Food and Ethical Consumption, 2(2): 805-813. Now available at https://journal.ethicalconsumer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/JCE_2_2_Surman_et_al_17_25.pdf

Hamilton, L. and Surman, E. (2018) ‘How to teach kids where food comes from – get them gardening’, The Conversation, 20th September https://theconversation.com/how-to-teach-kids-where-food-comes-from-get-them-gardening-103277

Miller, C. Maclaran P, Parsons, E and Surman, E (2009) Praxis or Performance: Does Critical marketing have a Gender Blind-spot? Journal of Marketing Management:  25(7-8): pp713-728.