Nick Bourguignon

  Host Institute

Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB)


Nick Bourguignon photo Topic

Liquid encounters – fluid conversations around water, environment, and socionatural integrities.



Sergio Villamayor Tomás, Margreet Zwarteveen


Secondment 1

Defensoria del Vecino de Montevideo



Ana Agostino


Secondment 2

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education in The Netherlands



Margreet Zwarteveen



Uruguay and The Netherlands


Nick Bourguignon did his Bachelors at the University of Warwick in Politics and Sociology, with an Erasmus year in Italy at the University of Pavia. He did his MA in Development studies with a specialisation in Agrarian and Environmental Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University of Rotterdam. He has volunteered with the United States Peace Corps in Cameroon. He worked as a research analyst at the Independent Office of Evaluation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome, contributing to multiple reports, including an evaluation synthesis report on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Objectives of the research

The ESR will explore the natureculture of water from a FPE lens. Working in different landscapes, the ESR will set out how to understand water not only in terms of a growing scarce commodity but also in terms of the material entanglements of a gendered bodily existence. Questions will be asked, for example, about the consequences of polluted water (e.g. biochemicals, agricultural infiltrations etc.) on gendered bodies. The study will take an interdisciplinary approach, looking first into the economic impact of gendered health problems and the costs of the unequal distribution of water. Secondly, from an ecological perspective it will highlight the regeneration of water resources under the conditions of climate change. Thirdly, from a technological approach the focus will be on infrastructure policy and planning. And fourthly from a political science perspective the study will scrutinise power relations, which influence uneven access to and use of water along gendered, ethnic and class lines. These four approaches will be brought together in a comparative study of the governance of water looking at the interconnections among communities, gender and water in urban environments in Spain.

Expected Results

The study will present an understanding of the naturecultures of water sketching the different layers of political intervention in infrastructural planning and spatial development in Europe, learning from the example of Uruguay. This will build awareness of the complicated entanglements of social, cultural and economic factors influencing the governance of water.

Progress update

Nick started his WEGO PhD at Humboldt University of Berlin in September 2018 and transferred to the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies (ICTA) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) in July 2019. He completed part of his secondment at the Defensoría de Vecinas y Vecinos de Montevideo (DVVM) in Uruguay during March-April of 2019, where he explored issues surrounding the human rights dimension of water and access to water in a Latin American setting. He also had the opportunity to meet professors, students and activists involved in feminist understandings of water and access to it. He attended the feminist methodologies retreat in Bolsena, Italy, in August 2019, which provided an opportunity to reflect on methodological design for fieldwork. Important feedback moments for his research project included his participation and research project presentation at the March 2019 WEGO training lab and at ICTA’s first year PhD project evaluation in September 2019. Since then, he took a research design course at ICTA, has modified his research design, and is gathering data for his first article. 

In 2020 Nick underwent and passed the yearly PhD progress evaluation mandated by ICTA-UAB. Throughout 2020 Nick has worked on data collection, analysis and has been writing an article that reviews case studies of IBTs in the scientific literature. He reformulated his research project following the 2020 WEGO-ITN training lab held online. He attended the XI Congreso Ibérico de la Gestión y Planificación del Agua, held online, where he hosted a ‘web aperitivo’ focusing on Feminist Political Ecology and water planning and management in Spain, and enrolled as a member of the Spain-based Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua. Through this network, he has communicated with other members to potentially participate in the FPE dialogue to be held in Barcelona in 2021.

Publications by Nick Bourguignon


Blogs by Nick Bourguignon

Convento in Bolsena Italy
Summer school Bolsena: notes from a feminist writing retreat
For a week in August part of the WEGO team gathered with other academics and activists of diverse places, ages ...

Podcast by Nick Bourguignon