Pracademic in Training

Jessica Cockburn

Professional Profile


Thank you for coming to visit my online profile. I hope these few pages will give you an overview of who I am and the work I do. Please make yourself at home and feel free to contact me for any further information: jessicacockburn[at]

Navigation: Use the labels at the top of the page to navigate to the different parts of the website. I recommend you start with the 'Who I am' and 'Research Interests' pages.

Hi there, my name is Jessica Cockburn.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Environmental Learning Research Centre (Department of Education, Rhodes University). I think of myself as a ‘pracademic in training’, working towards generating transformative research on landscapes, learning and linkages.

I am working with Professor Eureta Rosenberg to develop a relational approach to collaborative stewardship in landscapes. This entails conceptual and methodological development, drawing on a critical realist philosophy and transformative learning theories. We aim to put these ideas into practice through two of Professor Rosenberg's key areas of expertise, namely (1) Green Skills and (2) Participatory and Realist Evaluation Methodologies, and participatory monitoring and learning. This will be built on strong partnership with practitioners working in the fields of environmental stewardship, conservation, and natural resource management across South Africa. In this work I continue to work alongside Living Lands as a research associate.

I am also collaborating with researchers internationally through the PECS Working Group on Collaborative Management and Governance to conduct comparative case study research on collaborative stewardship initiatives in diverse social-ecological contexts.

I was previously (2015-2017) a PhD Student in the Department of Environmental Science, also at at Rhodes University.

I call myself a 'Pracademic in Training' to reflect my commitment to constantly working towards bridging the gap between practice and academia through my studies and research career. I firmly believe that as researchers, we need to take more responsibility for how the research we do impacts society, and to continually reflect on our role as researchers in society. We need to think not only about WHAT we research, but also HOW we do research. My work is mostly in the social-ecological realm - both in research and practice.

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