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 Helena Hastie

Helena Hastie

Associate Lecturer

 Amory C423


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


Helena is researching access to electricity in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Southern Africa, looking at the generation of renewal energy, grid extension to rural households and the affordability of energy options. A specific area of interest is how development can be re-imagined to better represent the aspirations of those it seeks to help.

She holds a Masters degree in International Development focusing on community-led development in rural Zambia, and a Masters degree in the Public Understanding of Environmental Change bringing this multi-disciplinary approach to her current research.

Helena has gained practical experience working in the development sector and as a trustee of an international development NGO, the Baha'i Agency for Social and Economic Development (BASED-UK). She is a committee member of the Energy Geographies Research Group of the RGS.

Broad Research Specialisms

Southern Africa, renewable energy, international development, sustainable development, the SDG’s.


MSc International Development (University of Birmingham)

MSc Public Understanding of Environmental Change (University College London)

BSc History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (University College London)


Research group links

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Research interests

  • Sustainable development
  • Southern Africa
  • Renewable energy
  • Critiques of development theory

Research projects


Hastie, H. (2024) Independence through leapfrogging: Energy transitions in Eswatini. Geo: Geography and Environment, 11, e00136. Available from:

Hastie (forthcoming) 'Are we nearly there yet? Reflections on motherhood and fieldwork in Southern Africa', Area.

Hastie, Dawney and Butler (forthcoming) 'Commoning and energy poverty: thinking beyond the private doctrine'.

  • 2023 'Warm Banks' project: collaborating with Dr Catherine Butler and Dr Leila Dawney on a pilot study to understand the significance and usage of warm spaces offered by community groups in Devon during the winter of 22/23. 
  • 2021-2024 ‘Energy in Eswatini’: PhD research on energy access in the Kingdom of Eswatini, southern Africa.

Research Groups & External Responsibilities:

Environment & Sustainability Research Group

Space, Politics and Society Research Group

RGS Energy Geographies Research Group: Committee Member & Awards Officer

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GEO1309 Study skills

GEO2135 In/visible spaces of modern lift

GEO2132 Global urban futures

GEO2465 Doing human geography research

GEO3311/2 Dissertation

GEO3149 Seville field course

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Office Hours:

Term 3: Tues and Thurs 10am-11am

Office hours Helena Hastie.xlsx

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