A view of the Ellen Terry building.

Dr Ashley Cole

Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

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Ashley's work includes themes of:

  • Race & Racism
  • #PoliticalActivism
  • Power and Resistance

Career overview

Ashley received her PhD in 2021. Her thesis focused on leadership in social movement organisations with a case study on Black Lives Matter. Her thesis explored how leadership was seen through previous movement organisations such as the Civil Rights organisations, the Black Power organisations, and Black Feminists organisations.

Prior to her PhD, Ashley is an American native who received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in the USA. After taking a study abroad trip to the United Kingdom, Ashley continued her academic career by gaining a Master’s degree in International Relations and a Masters of Research in Sociology in the UK.

Ashley has given several speaking engagements on her research of Black Lives Matter in the USA and the UK. Ashley has also worked as a TA for Kimberlé Crenshaw's African American Policy Forum in 2021.


Ashley research focuses on social movements and political activism. She is currently working on publishing articles within her field including criminology, sociology, social movements, and black studies. Her main goal is to turn her thesis into a book.

Publications and press

  • January 2022 Black Lives Matter: Redefiniendo las libertades negras en la era de la cultura #Hashtag (Book Chapter in Spanish)
  • October 2021 Social Movement Organisation Structures, the Development of Organic Intellectuals, and the Future of Activism (Special edition of Social Movements Sage Publishing)
  • July 2020 Discover Society: #WESTANDINSOLIDARITY: The Organisational Complexities of the Black Lives Matter Movement
  • July 2020 The Conversation: Black Lives Matter: Decentralised Leadership and the Problems of Online Organising
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023