GEC Researcher of the Month – Arianna Tozzi

I am early career researcher whose work sits at the intersection between feminist political ecology, the environmental humanities and critical approaches to water governance. In July 2023 I was awarded a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Manchester, where I am currently working as a Research and Teaching Assistant.

Before my Ph.D. I lived in Pune, India for three years where I worked a Researcher on projects to understand the long-terms impact and sustainability of solar-mini grids for rural electrification.

In my research, I always strive to work alongside grassroots organizations and community groups to produce outcomes that speak to academia, policy and the public. Whenever possible, I integrate art-based and creative methods to disseminate my findings and have extensively used media (podcast, radio, news articles) to contribute to public debates relating to my work. I also firmly believe in the need to engage more deeply with historical material to understand the impact of colonialism on today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges and look for possible solutions.

Outside of academia, I am a passionate swimmer, an avid reader of Indian and Italian literature, and like spending time drawing and sitting in the Sun – on the rare occasions when Manchester weather allows.

Current Research:

My doctoral research traced the history of current approaches to climate resilience in rainfed regions of Maharashtra, India and how grassroot actors mobilise to construct alternative futures in these drought-prone areas. Drawing on archival and ethnographic research with civil society organisations and farming communities, I traced the received colonial wisdoms that guide a persistent focus on irrigation to build climate resilience and argued that in rainfed drylands, policies should be reframed from the perspective of the rainfall. Findings from my research have been published in academic journals (Progress in Human Geography, Geoforum, The Geographical Journal) and book chapters (Routledge Handbooks of Gender and Water Governance and of Political Ecology).

Most recently, as part of my engagement with the Cottonopolis Collective at the University of Manchester I curated an exhibition for the 2023 British Textile Biennial reflecting on the socio-environmental legacies of colonial cotton development in India using historical material and photography.

Going forward, I will continue collaborating with feminist grassroots organizations – Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch – in Maharashtra who are supporting women-led agroecological farming. My aim is to understand the impact these groups might have to tackle the Indian agrarian crisis, particularly in the context of climate change and the feminization of agriculture.

Areas of Study:

India, water, climate change, feminism, cotton

@Ari_Toz