Rachel Creaney

Social Scientist
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
T: +44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)


I am a qualitative social scientist who has recently completed a PhD within human geography and sustainable development. My PhD was ESRC funded and collaboratively supervised by University of St Andrews and James Hutton Institute. In it I explored older people's experiences of healthcare smart homes in rural areas of Scotland. I used a range of ethnographic methods to explore these experiences, including creation of a film and undertaking a networked approach to the research. Prior to this I have an MRes in Sustainable Development (University of St Andrews), an MSc in Sustainable Rural Development (University of Aberdeen, 2013) and a joint undergraduate degree (MA Hons) in Anthropology and International Relations (University of Aberdeen, 2011). I am an elected committee member of the Housing Studies Association and from 2019-2021 I was their early-career researcher communications assistant.

I am interested in using a range of qualitative and more creative methods (i.e., visual methods, autoethnography, creative writing) to explore issues related to housing, healthcare, ageing, digitalisation and farming.

You can find me on Twitter @RachelCreaney1


I am currently working on one Horizon 2020 European projects: MOVING. MOVING (2020-2023) explores mountain-related value chains across Europe to contribute to the resilience and sustainability of mountain areas to climate change. Specifically we will explore the Speyside whisky value chain. Within MOVING there is also a focus on youth engagement and food and drink tourism.

I am also working on three Scottish Government projects (2022-2027) exploring farm business use of social media platforms, innovative rural housing models within a larger project exploring rural communities and livelihoods, and a project exploring lesser-heard voices in stories around Scottish land use. Finally, I am co-leading an external project exploring the long term sustainable future of the Mourne Mountains in the North of Ireland.

Beyond these projects I am interested in research that can better understand and improve rural living such as relating to housing, healthcare, ageing, sustainable living and digitalisation.

Past research

Previously, from 2013 and 2016, I worked in SEGS as a research assistant on a range of projects related to rural and community development, farmer decision-making and farm sustainability. I was also heavily involved in organisation of the ESRS conference, 2015.


Technical / contract reports

Conference papers

  • Beingessner, N.; Sutherland, L.; Creaney, R.; Juarez Bourke, A.; Thompson, C. (2023) Scottish Stakeholder Visions of Rural Land Use in a ‘Just Transition’, RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, 29 August – 1 September 2023, London, UK
  • Creaney, R.; Blackstock, K.; Flanigan, S.; Miller, D.; Matthews, K. (2022) Engaging young people in mountain areas and value chains, ODT Forum 2022, 19-21 October 2022, Jura, Switzerland.
  • Creaney, R.; Blackstock, K.; Flanigan, S.; Hopkins, J.; Miller, D.; Matthews, K. (2022) Idealising the Rural: The Role of Scottish Mountains in Promoting the Scottish Whisky Brand, Rural Imaginations Conference, 24-26 August 2022, Amsterdam.
  • Creaney, R.; McKee, A. (2022) Digitalising the future of housing: Exploring options and opportunities for digitalised homes in rural Scotland, ESRS Scottish Satellite Event, 20- 23rd June 2022, Birnam Arts Centre, Dunkeld.
  • Flanigan, S.; Blackstock, K.; Creaney, R.; Hopkins, J.; Matthews, K.; Miller, D. (2022) Assembling whisky production and consumption for rural resilinece A value chains case study in Speyside, Scotland, ODT Forum, 19-21 October 2022, Jura, Switzerland
  • Flanigan, S.; Blackstock, K.; Creaney, R.; Hopkins, J.; Matthews, K.; Miller, D. (2022) Assembling whisky production and consumption for rural resilience A value chains case study in Speyside, Scotland, ESRS Scottish Satellite Event, 20-23 June 2022, Birnam
  • Sutherland, L.A.; Madureira, L.; Dirimanova, V.; Bogusz, M.; Kania, J.; Vinohradnik, K.; Creaney, R.; Duckett, D.; Koehnen, T.; Knierim, A. (2016) New knowledge networks of small-scale farmers in Europe’s periphery., 12th European IFSA Symposium, Workshop: Generating spaces for innovation in agricultural and rural development, Harper Adams University, 12-15 July 2016.
  • Creaney, R. (2014) Eigg: The challenges of pursuing economic, environmental and socio-cultural sustainability simultaneously through in-bound tourism., RGS-IBG Royal Geographical Society Conference, London, 26-29 August 2014.
  • Prager, K.; Creaney, R.; Loreno-Arribas, A. (2014) Advisory services in the United Kingdom: exploring ‘fit for purpose’ criteria., International Sustainable Farming Systems Symposium, Berlin, Germany, 1-4 April 2014.