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Research Impact: Changing the World with our Research

Much research done in the Warwick Sociology Department is conducted with a view to informing and influencing understanding and actions in the social world beyond academia. As sociologists we are enthused by thinking about how academic research might ‘change the world’, in large or small ways. Our research influences many realms of life: from the work of civil society organisations, to practices of public policy, to everyday interactions, and from local to international levels. Talking about ‘changing the world’ rather than ‘impact’ reflects our Departmental approach to taking our research beyond the walls of the university.

Throughout the research process, researchers in our Department engage with publics in a range of ways: from shaping research design through ongoing conversations with those affected by the issues we research, to working with policy makers to shape their practice, to sharing our developing ideas and findings with online communities, to face-to-face public seminars.

We are always happy to discuss ways that sociological research might help to influence the wider world beyond the university. If you would like to discuss ideas for collaborating on research within our areas of interest, or organise activity that might help you to engage with our existing research, you are welcome to contact the Department's Director of Impact, Dr Hannah Jones, in the first instance.

Find out more about our research at these events:

Community Research, Race, and Housing Masterclass

11 May 2017, University of Warwick R014

An event for PhD students and early career researchers.
Speakers: Johanna Bockman, Nigel de Noronha, Giovanni Picker

Johanna Bockman is an Associate Professor at George Mason University, USA. She works in economic sociology, urban sociology, sociology of globalization, and East European Studies. She is currently writing a book on public housing in Washington, DC, tentatively titled Just One Block: Race, Radical Politics, and Revanchism in Washington, DC. This project explores globalization, neoliberalism, and gentrification in southeast DC. She reports on this project on her blog Sociology in My Neighborhood: DC Ward 6 and is a founding member of the Cities and Globalization Working Group.

Nigel de Noronha is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Sociology and the Q-Step Centre, University of Warwick. Nigel's academic research is focussed on the extent to which people feel at 'home' in the private rented sector in England. Nigel has worked for the Audit Commission on local and national projects including the research report The Journey to Race Equality and subsequent local studies, Area Profiles, health inequalities in Greater Manchester and the Equality Impacts of Comprehensive Area Assessment.

Giovanni Picker is a Marie-Skłodowska Curie Individual Research Fellow at the Institute for Research into Superdiversity and the School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham. His book Racial Cities: Governance and the Segregation of Romani People in Urban Europe was published in 2017 and argues that race is the logic through which stigmatized and segregated "Gypsy urban areas" have emerged and persisted after World War II.

For further information on this event contact Professor Gurminder K Bhambra

Activist Aesthetics: Spoken-Word Poetry in Activism and Education

17 May 2017, Humanities Studio, University of Warwick

Philosophers such as Jacques Ranciere and Gayatri Spivak have long argued that politics is tightly connected with the recognition of appearance and voice, and that this requires a shift from marginalised voices being dismissed as 'merely noise' to being heard as legitimate speech. The aesthetics of activism are crucial to understanding such a shift as well as how this recognition might be produced 'from below'. This event - including spoken-word performances - will critically discuss the role spoken-word poetry can play in activism and education.

All welcome.

Line up:

Pete 'the temp' Bearder (Poet & Activist)
[see Pete's TEDx talk here: 'Why Every School Should have a Spoken Word Artist']

Oliver Davis (French Studies)

Cath Lambert (Sociology)

Jack McGowan (English)

Goldie Osuri (Sociology)

Jonathan Skinner (English)

Sam Burgum (Sociology)

2nd Annual Black Feminism, Womanism, and the Politics of Women of Colour in Europe

7 October 2017, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In September 2016 in Edinburgh, we welcomed over 100 activists, practitioners, artists and scholars to critically debate contemporary Black feminist and womanist theories and practices in Europe. Our first event demonstrated the possibilities of building solidarity across race, class, gender, sexuality and legal status. However, the symposium also highlighted the inter-generational tensions between veteran and newer activists and scholars about how to build and sustain inclusive and democratic Black feminist spaces for education and action.

For our second symposium, we seek to expand and deepen our debates about the theory and practice of Black feminism and womanism in Europe but also spotlight the very real conflicts between different types of women who identify as Black feminists and womanists. Our aim is to examine how we might build community, collective strategies for survival and a politics for social justice in an unstable European context wracked by a variety of crises linked to austerity measures, racist and xenophobic public discourses about migration and the rise of far right political parties and groups.

Organising committee

Akwugo Emejulu, University of Warwick

Marly Pierre-Louis, Tracian Miekle, and Lene Hypolite, Amsterdam Black Women’s Meet-Up

Past Events
The Politics of Racism: A Symposium for John Solomos

6 May 2017, Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College

This symposium brings leading figures in the fields of race, cultural and postcolonial studies to reflect on past times and our times and to honour the work and friendship of John Solomos. In these turbulent times, what must we learn together about racism? What is the responsibility of scholars of racism in the face of the refugee crisis? What resources do we have to think about the endless proliferation of state violence? Opportunities to reflect on such issues have depended, in part, on creating spaces of collaboration and conversation, both within and beyond the academy. Creating programmes, journals and study groups have been a way of coming together, consolidating and producing shared resources in the face of racist brutalities. We will consider these questions as we pay tribute to John Solomos and the Ethnic and Racial Studies Collective.

Speakers include:

• Claire Alexander • Les Back • Alice Bloch • Parminder Bhachu • Chetan Bhatt • Gargi Bhattacharyya • David Theo Goldberg • Clive Harris • Syd Jeffers • Michael Keith • Errol Lawrence • Karim Murji • Ann Phoenix • John Solomos • Lisa Steinberg • Brett St Louis •

Populism, Markets, and Expertise: Social Science in an Age of Post-Truth

4 May 2017, University of Warwick

This conference aims to address issues of social-scientific expertise and claims for authority in the light of recent political events and the rise of populism in Europe, the US, and elsewhere. These expressions represent different kinds of voice with implications for public debate and democratic practice and we believe that as social scientists and academics we have to bring our voices to bear more insistently within these debates.

Organized by:
Prof Gurminder K Bhambra (Sociology, University of Warwick)


Prof John Holmwood (Sociology, University of Nottingham)

Funded by the Warwick ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, the University of Warwick and the University of Nottingham.

Annual Workshop 2017: Workshop on Pollution, Environmental Justice, and Citizen Science
3-4 May 2017, Arden Conference Centre, University of Warwick

This two-day workshop will bring together international researchers working at the intersection of pollution, environmental justice, and citizen science, from across different regions, disciplines, and scales. Researchers will discuss the possibilities as well as challenges of engaging with new technologies and strategies for environmental justice and citizen science.

We will conclude our discussions with a public-facing “ideation” workshop, inviting participation from community organizations, NGOs, members of the public, and data scientists. This collaborative workshop will inform our Toxic Expertise project plans to create an international public resource, with accessible information and tools for understanding, monitoring, and reporting toxic pollutants and their health impacts.We welcome scholars from a broad range of disciplines and career stages, as well as environmental justice activists who are interested in - or actively use - citizen science. This session draws attention to the recent changes in the value of expertise, as well as long-standing environmental justice challenges and victories.

Confirmed speakers include: Professor Phil Brown (Northeastern University); Dr Gwen Ottinger (Drexel University); Dr Jennifer Gabrys (Goldsmiths University); Professor Barbara Allen (Virginia Tech Washington); Dr. Peter C Little (Rhode Island College); Dr Sam Geall (University of Sussex); and Dr João Porto de Albuquerque (University of Warwick).

Please contact to register interest in attending this workshop.

Hosted by the ERC-funded project Toxic Expertise and the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account at the University of Warwick, Coventry.

Takling Socio-Economic Inequalities in Childhood Test Scores

21 March 2017, Royal Statistical Society, London

Presented by Roxanne Connelly from the University of Warwick and Vernon Gayle from the University of Edinburgh, this event is organised as part of an ongoing academic project Have Socio-Economic Inequalities in Childhood Cognitive Test Scores Changed?’ funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Join us for an afternoon reflecting, analysing and discussing the research and issues around tackling socio-economic inequalities in childhood test scores.

There are sizeable and persistent inequalities in children’s cognitive and education test performance in the UK. This event showcases contemporary data and research findings and explores the opportunities for policy formulation and social change. It will provide a forum for both academic researchers and non-academics to interact with key stakeholders in the policy community and third-sector organisations.

Event Breakdown

  • A series of short presentations from key researchers in this field;

    • Professor Alice Sullivan (University College London)

    • Dr Roxanne Connelly (University of Warwick)

    • Dr Liz Washbrook (University of Bristol)

    • Dr Terry Ng-Knight (University College London)

    • Lisa Rutherford (Growing up in Scotland Study, ScotCen)

  • Discussion panel led by Dr Wanda Wyporska FRSA, the Executive Director of the Equality Trust and Claire Harding, the Head of Research at the Family and Childcare Trust.

  • Audience participation - Active and open discussion encouraged from the audience, we welcome your thoughts, opinions and challenges on the issues and topics discussed.

This event will be an opportunity to;

  • Hear about contemporary and exciting research projects and methods that are taking place now which could be used to shape government policies and directly impact your lives.

  • An opportunity to shape the direction of future research by raising areas of concern or ideas where future research topics could be focussed.

  • Provide an experienced perspective of what it is like to work/live in the environments which this research reflects. Providing the researchers and stakeholders with an invaluable insight into the challenges you face day-to-day. This will help inform and improve research goals and aims.

  • Connect and network with policy stakeholders and academic researchers.

  • Actively support the most disadvantaged families by adding your voice to the research practices and methods which are impacting their future.

Who are We?

Counterpoints Arts, Loughborough University, The Open University and University of Warwick

14th - 19th March 2017, Tate Modern


In a moment of global movement, connection and dis-connection of people across national borders, we ask who are ‘we’? Who gets to decide?‘In the nightmare of the dark/All the dogs of Europe bark/And the living nations wait/ Each sequestered in its hate’ W.H. Auden In Memory of W.B. Yeats (1940)

Who are We? is a week of drop-in activity, dialogue, artist-led workshops, debate and lively disruption, asking what it means to belong – across and within borders.

Spanning the visual arts, film and photography, design and architecture, the spoken and written word, live art and music, the programme creates a space for collaboration and encounter. Groups often kept apart by binaries – migrants versus ‘natives’, artists versus audiences, activists versus artists, academics versus artists, and experts versus public – come together to interrogate their ways of relating to each other.

This event is programmed by Tate Exchange Associates: Counterpoints Arts, Loughborough University, The Open University, University of Warwick.

Green Women of Coventry by CoventryCAN

11th March 2017, Council House, Coventry

To celebrate International Women's Day as part of Coventry's Go Green Week, CoventryCAN has brought together a panel of inspirational Coventry women who are working hard to create a more sustainable future for our region and beyond. Join us to hear their stories of what they do and why they do it…

Welcome by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Pam Thomas, University of Warwick

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, Coventry born and raised! Recently helped get microbeads banned.

Dr Alice Mah, University of Warwick, ERC Research Grant Toxic Expertise.

Professor Shuli Liu, Coventry University, 15 years research experience in Low Carbon Cities, awarded over £1.7 million in funding.

Jacqui Staunton, Climate Change Solutions Ltd. Project Director and lifelong environmentalist

Bernie McCulloch, West Midlands Housing

Dr. Jenny Cooper, Independent Energy Innovation Specialist, Honorary Professor Energy/Engineering, University of Warwick

Become a Green Woman

You can find out about small, easy actions you can take to help combat climate change with CoventryCAN and the international 1 Million Women initiative. “We're building a movement of strong, inspirational women and girls acting on climate change through the way we live. Join us & be counted.” 1 Million Women.

Includes free networking nibbles and drinks

Intended audience age 14+ but children are welcome. A small reading and colouring corner will be located at the back of the room to help keep young children quietly busy.

FUNDING: University of Warwick ESRC Impact Acceleration Account grant ref ES/M500434/1

Gender, Harm and Suicides in Prison

8th March 2017, University of Warwick

Our prisons are in crisis with insufficient funding and staff, and prisoner safety is at risk. This Criminal Justice Centre event brings together academics, policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders, to consider ways of reducing the risks of harm and suicide for women in prison, and improving the wellbeing of prisoners. Short presentations from the speakers will be followed by questions and discussion, and a wine reception at 6pm.

Claire Cain, Policy & Campaigns Manager, Women In Prison

Jacqueline Hodgson, Criminal Justice Centre, Warwick Law School

Leo Klein, Prisoners’ Penfriends

Speaker tbc Howard League for Penal Reform

Jane Trigg NOMS, Safer Custody

Anastasia Chamberlen (Chair) Sociology, Warwick

Understanding Brexit: What has the EU Ever Done for Us? Birmingham Impact Hub.

27th February 2017, Brimingham Impact Hub

An open town hall event to understand 'Brexit' in terms of what the European Union has done for us.

Following the energy and enthusiasm we saw at last month's event on 'Understanding Brexit' in terms of inequality, inclusion and social justice, we wish to continue the conversation with this event. This time we will be focusing more closely on what the EU has done for us in a city which voted, with a tiny 50.4% majority, to leave.

"What has the EU ever done for us?" aims to examine the questions of the "left outs", "left behinds", and non-UK European citizens that were raised in the last event. Birmingham may have received close to a billion pounds worth of investment from the EU in terms of cultural buildings (for example, ICC, NEC, Milllennium Point), social funds, and university research money, but has the Union improved the life chances of young citizens, ethnic minorities or non-UK EU citizens living here? While popular right wing discourse attributes low employment and increasingly precarious working conditions to the phenomenon of EU movement, how has EU labour law bolstered all of our rights?

Our speakers come from a range of academic, civil society, and campaign group backgrounds and will be engaging in these debates as well sociological themes of identity and belonging, nationalism and community.


Dr Arantza Gomez Arana, Birmingham City University

Prof Akwugo Emejulu, University of Warwick

Alicja Kaczmarek, Polish Expats Association

Dr Simon Roberts, University of Nottingham

George Turvey, EU in Brum, pro-Remain organisation


Prof John Holmwood, University of Nottingham

Understanding Brexit: Inequality, Inclusion and Social Justice.

26th January 2017, Birmingham Impact hub

Hashtag: #BrumBrexit

An open town hall event to understand 'Brexit' in terms of issues of inequality, inclusion and social justice.

Brexit revealed our British community to be divided between older voters and younger one, between those who have been advantaged by globalization and those who have been disadvantaged. In some commentaries, Brexit has been described as the reaction of the 'left behind'. However, the evidence suggests that it is younger people rather than older people who have been 'left behind' and they voted disproportionately to remain. Similarly, while ethnic minorities and recent migrants have been 'left out' rather than 'left behind', they also voted disproportionately to remain. At least, in part, those who voted for Brexit seem to have rejected immigration. This event addresses the issues raised by Brexit that confront Birmingham, Britain's most multicultural and diverse city.


Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University)

Gurminder K Bhambra (University of Warwick)

Omar Khan (Runnymede Trust)

Karen Rowlingson (University of Birmingham)

Richard Seymour (Salvage)


John Holmwood (University of Nottingham)

Robbie Shilliam (Queen Mary University of London)

understanding brevet

Panellist Gurminder K Bhambra.

Toxic Expertise: Environment, Economy, Politics

3rd November 2016, The Shard, London.

At our first public engagement event we discusses the following questions: what value does 'expertise' still have in our society? How is expertise used, manipulated or ignored for political, social and environmental reasons? Has expertise itself become ‘toxic’?

A full write up of the event which inluded presentations from Mary Creagh MP, Neena Gill MEP, Dr Erik Van Sebille, Dr Frank Kelly, David Powell (New Economics Foundation) and Ruth Bergan (Trade Justice Movement) can be accessed here.

Toxic Expertise Nov 2016

(Photo Credit: Angeliki Balayannis, attendee)

This even was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council ‘Impact Acceleration Account’ and the ERC Starting Grant 'Toxic Expertise' - Grant Agreement No. 639583