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Professor Cassandra Phoenix



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Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences  
Member of the Institute for Medical Humanities  
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing  


Cassandra joined the department in September 2019 from the University of Bath. Prior to that, she held posts at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School.

Her current research takes the form of two inter-related strands. The first focuses on healthy ageing across the life course with respect to the embodied health-related practices, active mobilities, and socio-environmental contexts (e.g. ageism, dis/ablism), that shape people’s ability to live long, healthy lives, and do what they have reason to value as they age. 

The second strand focuses on the connections between health, wellbeing and the environment by examining people’s engagement with and connection to “nature” (e.g. via blue/green spaces, and weather elements). This includes, for example, how nature is accessed, experienced, and given meaning in relation to health and wellbeing across the life course and the ways in which all of this is shaped and constrained by broader social forces and inequalities. 

Underpinning each of these strands is an ongoing commitment to the development of qualitative methods, including collaborations with the artists and creative practitioners.

Cassandra’s research is supported by a range of funders, including the ESRC, Wellcome Trust, World Health Organization, NIHR, Leverhulme Trust, The Nuffield Foundation, Ménière’s Society, HelpAge, and Thomas Pocklington Trust. She is a member of the British Society of Gerontology Executive Committee and serves on the Editorial Boards for: Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health; Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport; Journal of Ageing Studies; and Methods in Psychology.

Google Scholar Profile: 

PhD Supervision

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD under Cassandra’s supervision, she would be delighted to hear about your ideas and to discuss opportunities to work with you at Durham. Cassandra welcomes applications that connect with the research strands outlined above.


Research interests

  • Ageing and Active Mobilities
  • Everyday Ageism
  • Weather and Wellbeing
  • Coastal Blue Space, Health and Wellbeing

Research groups

  • Sporting Lives

Related Links


Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Tulle, E. & Phoenix, C (2015). Physical Activity and Sport in Later Life: Critical Approaches. Global Culture and Sport. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Phoenix, C & Smith, B (2011). The world of physical culture in sport and exercise: Visual methods for qualitative research. Routledge.

Journal Article


Supervision students