start of page content

Kirsty Holstead

Kirsty Holstead

MA(Hons), MSc


2016 – Present
University of St Andrews, PhD Candidate
Thesis title: Understanding community water governance: What shapes local decision-making and what are the implications?

University of Edinburgh, MSc
Environmental Protection and Management

University of St Andrews, MA(Hons)
International Relations and Management

Research interests

Water governance, natural resource management, stakeholder participation, community management, sustainability, practice theory.

Selected Publications

Academic papers and book chapters

Dinnie, E and Holstead K. The influence of public funding on community-based sustainability projects in Scotland. Environmental Transitions and Societal Innovations. DOI:10.1016/j.eist.2017.08.003

Fischer, A; Holstead, K; Yungmee Hendrickson, C; Virkkula, O and Prampolini, A. (2017) Community-led initiatives' everyday politics for sustainability – conflicting rationalities and aspirations for change? Environmental and Planning A, 49(9). DOI:10.1177/0308518X17713994

Waylen, K; Holstead, K; Colley, K and Hopkins, J. (2017) Challenges to enabling and implementing natural flood management in Scotland. Journal of Flood Risk Management, 11(S2). DOI:10.1111/jfr3.12301

Holstead, K.L.; Galan-Diaz, C. and Sutherland, L-A (2016) Discourses of on-farm wind energy generation in the UK farming press. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. DOI:10.1080/1523908X.2016.1224157

Holstead, K.L.; Kenyon, W.; Rouillard, J.J.; Hopkins, J.; Galan-Diaz, C. (2015) Natural flood management from the farmer’s perspective: criteria that affect uptake. Journal of Flood Risk Management. DOI:10.1111/jfr3.12129

Waylen, K.A.; Blackstock, K.L; Holstead, K.L. (2015) How does legacy create sticking points for environmental management? Insights from challenges to implementation of the ecosystem approach. Ecology and Society, 20 (2). DOI:10.5751/ES-07594-200221

Waylen, K.A.; Hastings, E.; Banks, E.; Holstead, K.L.; Irvine, R.J.; Blackstock, K.L. (2014) The need to disentangle key concepts from Ecosystem Approach jargon. Conservation Biology, 28, 1215-1224. DOI:10.1111/cobi.12331

Sutherland, LA.; Holstead, K. (2014) Future-proofing the farm: On-farm wind turbine development in farm business decision-making. Land Use Policy, 36, 102-112. DOI:10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.07.004

Martin-Ortega, J.; Jorda-Capdevilla, D.; Glenk, K.; Holstead, K. (2014) What defines ecosystem services-based approaches? In: Martin-Ortega, J., Ferrier, R.C., Gordon, I.J. & Khan, S. (eds.). Water Ecosystem Services: A Global Perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. DOI:10.1017/cbo9781316178904.003

Policy reports

Addy, S.; Cooksley, S.; Dodd, N.; Waylen, K.; Stockan, J.; Byg, A.; Holstead, K. (2016) River Restoration and Biodiversity. Nature-Based Solutions for Restoring the Rivers of UK and Republic of Ireland. IUCN NCUK (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature National Committee UK) and CREW (Scotlands Centre of Expertise for Waters), Aberdeen.

Holstead, K.; Colley, K.; Waylen, K.A. (2016) Tackling the barriers to implementing natural flood management: summary report. Summary Report presented at Workshop Meeting, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, 11 February 2016.

Prager, K and Holstead., K.L. (2015) Community Councils in Aberdeenshire, Scotland: Achievements and Challenges, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Blackstock, K.; Akoumianaki, I.; Kyle, C, Holstead, K and Morris, S. (2015) Benefits of Private Water Supply Grants. CREW Report, CRW2013_14.

Prager, K and Holstead., K.L. (2015) Community Councils in Aberdeenshire, Scotland: Achievements and Challenges. James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland. See "Community Councils in Aberdeenshire, Scotland" full report. See "Community Councils in Aberdeenshire, Scotland" policy brief.

Waylen, K.A.; Blackstock, K.L.; Holstead, K.L. (2013) Exploring experiences of the ecosystem approach. Project Report published by the James Hutton Institute.

Morris, S and Holstead, K.L. (2013) Review of the economics of sustainable land management measures in drinking water catchments. CREW Report, CD2012/34.

Wilkinson, M.; Holstead, K and Hastings, E. (2013) Natural Flood Management in the context of UK reservoir legislation. CREW Report.

Holstead, K.L and Wilkinson, M. (2013) UK and Ireland natural flood management practitioner workshop report. CREW Report, CD2012/23.

Martin-Ortega, J.; Holstead, K.L.; Kenyon, W. (2013) The value of Scotland's water resources. CREW policy brief in advance of Stage 3 of the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill. This note resulted in the amendment of the Act in its final parliamentary stage through which it was established in statute that 'the reference to the value of water resources:(a) means the value of the resources on any basis (including their monetary or nonmonetary worth), (b) extends to the economic, social, environmental or other benefit deriving from the use of the resources', i.e. to the full range of ecosystem services..

Holstead, K and Kenyon, W. (2012) Factors that affect the uptake of natural flood management features by farmers in Scotland: A review. CREW Report.

Selected presentations

Holstead, K; Russell, S and Waylen, K (2018) Shaping communities and their role in water governance: A study of water policy and regulation professionals in Scotland. Lancaster Intellectual Party. University of Lancaster 2-3rd July, 2018.

Holstead, K; Russell, S and Waylen, K (2018) Shaping communities and their role in water governance: A study of water policy and regulation professionals in Scotland. POLLEN, Oslo Metropolitan University, 19-22 June 2018.

Holstead, K; Russell, S and Waylen, K (2017) Where are we at with communitywater governance? Identifying critical challenges for research and practice. Transformations. University of Dundee, 30th August-1st September, 2017.

Waylen, K; Holstead, K and Colley, K. (2016) Conceptualising human-nature relationships: Learning from experiences of 'Natural Flood Management' in Scotland. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016, London, 30 August – 2nd September 2016.

Holstead, K,; Fischer, A,; Yungmee Hendrickson, C.; Virkkula, O and Prampolini, A. (2016) Singing from different hymn sheets? Negotiating tensions between different aspirations in community initiatives. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2016, London, 30 August- 2nd September 2016.

Novo, P.; Martin-Ortega, J and Holstead, K.L. (2015) Making mitigation of rural diffuse pollution work: facts and gaps regarding stakeholder perceptions. Presentation at the World Water Conference, Edinburgh, 25-29 May 2015.

Holstead, K.L,; Waylen, K.A,; Hopkins, J and Colley, K. (2015) The challenges of doing something new: barriers to Natural Flood Management.  XVth IWRA World Water Congress, Edinburgh, 25-29th May 2015.

Hendrickson, C, Holstead, K and Fischer, A. (2015) Transition Talk: Exploring the Imaginations of Community Based Initiatives in transitions toward Low-Carbon society. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, USA, 21-25 April 2015.

Holstead., K. (2015) Scaling up and spreading out: the potential and willingness of low-carbon, community based initiatives to generate large-scale systemic impacts. Transformations Conference, Stockholm, Sweeden, 5-7 October 2015.

Holstead., K.L and Sutherland, L-A. (2013) On-farm Renewable Energy Production: A Comparative Study of Scotland, the Czech Republic and Germany, All Energy Conference, Aberdeen Scotland, 22-23 May 2013.

Scholarships and grants


£80 Participatory Geographies Research Group travel grant

Researching the Interface between between Policy and Practice for Local Environmental Sustainability (RIPPLES) travel and accommodation grant


Scottish Government’s Hydro Scholar Programme, 4 year PhD scholarship (fee waiver, training and research grant and stipend)

£100 Researching the Interface between between Policy and Practice for Local Environmental Sustainability (RIPPLES) travel and accommodation grant


£8000 University of Edinburgh scholarship (fee waiver and field trip costs)


Dr Shona Russell
Dr Kerry Waylen