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.


Recent publications


Rotenberg, K, Surman, E & McGrath, M 2021, 'Loneliness, food poverty, and perceived benefits of communal food consumption from a charity service', Journal of Poverty, vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 465-479. https://doi.org/10.1080/10875549.2020.1869667

Surman, E, Kelemen, M & Rumens, N 2021, 'Ways to care: forms and possibilities of compassion within UK food banks', Sociological Review. https://doi.org/1177/0038026121991330

Parsons, L, Kearney, T, Surman, E, Cappellini, B, Harman, V, Moffat, S & Scheurenbrand, K 2020, 'Who really cares? Introducing an 'ethics of care' to debates on transformative value co-creation', Journal of Business Research.

Surman, E & Hamilton, L 2019, 'Growing consumers through production and play: a phenomenological exploration of food growing in the school foodscape', Sociology, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 468-485. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038518789542

Pedersen, RL, Robinson, ZP & Surman, E 2019, 'Understanding transience and participation in university student-led food gardens', Sustainability, vol. 11, no. 10, 2788. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102788

Kelemen, M, Surman, E & Dikomitis, L 2018, 'Cultural animation in health research: An innovative methodology for patient and public involvement and engagement', Health Expectations, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 805-813. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12677

Surman, E, Kelemen, M, Millward, H & Moffat, S 2018, 'Food, Ethics and Community: Using Cultural Animation to Develop a Food Vision for North Staffordshire', Journal of Consumer ethics, vol. 2, no. 2, 2, pp. 17-25. <https://journal.ethicalconsumer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/JCE_2_2_Surman_et_al_17_25.pdf>

Maclaran, P, Miller, C, Parsons, E & Surman, E 2009, 'Praxis or performance: Does critical marketing have a gender blind-spot?', Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 25, no. 7-8, pp. 713-728. https://doi.org/10.1362/026725709X471587


Sturdy, A & Surman, E 2009, Emotion. in Understanding Corporate Life: The Warwick Organisation Theory Network. SAGE Publications, pp. 165-182. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446213995.n11

Surman, E 2009, The global consumer. in Contemporary Issues in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour. Elsevier Doyma, pp. 197-211. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780080943169

Conference contribution

Leek, S & Surman, E 2023, Technology – a revolutionary force in student eating? in F Kerrigan (ed.), Academy of Marketing Conference 2023: From Revolution to Revolutions ., 226- W, University of Birmingham, pp. 199-200, Academy of Marketing Conference 2023, Birmingham, United Kingdom, 3/07/23. <https://academyofmarketing.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Updated-Proceedings-Book.pdf>

Leek, S & Surman, E 2023, Transitioning from Home to University: Navigating Liminality Through Student Food Practices. in C Dumitrescu & R Shaw (eds), Proceedings of the 48th Macromarketing Conference: With a Little Help from Our Friends: The Value of Connection and Macromarketing Research in Addressing Critical Global Issues. Proceedings of the annual Macromarketing Conference, The Macromarketing Society, pp. 74-76, 48th Annual Conference of the Macromarketing Society, Seattle, Washington, United States, 19/06/23. <https://www.macromarketing.org/assets/proceedings/2023-macromarketing-proceedings.pdf>


Knights, D & Surman, E 2008, 'Editorial: Addressing the gender gap in studies of emotion', Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2007.00382.x

Other report

Moraes, C & Surman, E 2021, Meeting the challenge of responsible business: Birmingham Business School Sharing Information on Progress Report 2019–2020 . University of Birmingham. <https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/2021/prme-report-highlights-commitment-to-responsible-business>

View all publications in research portal