Accessibility statement

John Forrester
SEI Associate



John worked at SEI's York centre for over 20 years. He is now an SEI Associate at both the York and Oxford centres as well as being an Associate of the York Cross-disciplinary Centre for Systems Analysis (YCCSA).

John has experience in multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary science communication for sustainable development; transport planning; upland ecology; flood risk management; coastal ecosystems; and community resilience. He has been PI and/or project manager on projects in the ESRC’s Science in Society programme and the EPSRC’s Sustainable Urban Environment programme. He has been Co-I on two Rural Economy & Land Use (RELU) programme projects and Co-I/Project Manager on an Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme project. John has also led work on internal SEI projects on Policy Impact, and Stakeholder Engagement. He has been Co-I on a European Commission FP7 project researching community resilience in the face of climate change-influenced natural disasters using social network mapping and participatory agent-based modelling. He is author/joint-author of over 20 peer-reviewed publications and more than 70 other papers, articles, chapters and reports.

Key skills

Social systems and the interface between individuals and social systems


  • 1979-1981: HNC in Electronic Engineering, Limerick School of Engineering. 
  • 1983-1984: Quality Control and Installation & Service Technician, Kenny Electronics, Naas Rd, Dublin. 
  • 1984-1998: BA (Hons) Social Anthropology 2nd class 1st division. The Queen’s University of Belfast. 
  • 1998-1996: PhD “Nearer to France, Closer to Home: Sustainable Tourism Development and the Jersey Way of Life” The Queen’s University of Belfast.
  • 1994-1995: Research Officer “Sustainable Development and New Institutional Innovation”, Department of Sociology, The Queen's University of Belfast. 
  • 1996: Research Fellow “Lay involvement in Health Services Research”, Research School of Medicine, University of Leeds. 
  • 1997-2004: Associate Lecturer at The Open University, Centre for Science Education, Milton Keynes.
  • 1997-1998: MA in Qualitative Research Methods, University of York. 
  • 1997-2019: Researcher at the Stockholm Environment Institute, York.
  • 2019-Present: SEI Associate (York and Oxford)



John is a social anthropologist who uses maps and models to explore the complex relationships behind different stakeholders’ understanding of environmental issues. He does this so that ‘situated knowledge’ may feed into both scientific and policy knowledge co-creation processes. John is also interested in the idea of cultural sustainability – that as well as the now more 'traditional' aspects of social and ecological sustainability or resilience it is important that we recognise that communities need a sustainability of meaning or purpose. He is particularly interested in the relationship between social action and cultural representation.

John Forrester