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Communities, Politics and Identities

Communities, Politics and Identities

Our research explores communities, in all their forms, geographical, virtual, interest groups, professional communities, at a variety of scales from the local and national to the international. Communities are challenged through: demographic change; economic and heath shocks; by strained social relations; living with social media and mis-information; political radicalization of various forms; political populism and polarization; natural hazards and climate change; and the relationship between civil society and the state. Such challenges are negotiated within the context of global events and narratives, and impact on the identities of individuals, their communities and other networks.

About us

To appreciate how communities deal with such challenges and indeed opportunities, the Communities, Politics and Identities Research Group is committed to research rooted in local knowledge, collaboration, and the lived experience of residents. Communities may be defined by interest, commonality, or spatial units. They are viewed as sites of conflict and accommodation. The group critically engages with concepts of community by providing space for the deconstruction of such commonly held definitions.

We employ established and emerging theoretical frameworks and multi-disciplinary person-centred approaches to analyse key thematic areas. This includes: identities and belonging; trust and security; democratic renewal, power and governance; coexistence and managing difference; radicalisation and extremist behaviours; resilience to and preparedness for disasters; intersectionality; creative, participatory and arts-based methods. In doing so we provide an evidence base which can assists communities in shaping, and successfully adapting, to change. Our challenge-led research is driven by a desire to provide excellent theoretical and empirical outputs with impact.

Our team

Hazel Barrett

Hazel Barrett, Professor

FGM and communities, human geography, health and rural development
Imogen Baylis

Imogen Baylis, Research Assistant

Community organising, community development, 'empowerment', social cohesion, structural inequality
Joel Busher

Joel Busher, Director of Research Excellence

Anti-minority mobilisation, gang violence, gender
Mateja Celestina

Mateja Celestina, Assistant Professor

Displacement, Belonging, Place, Memory, Identity and identification
Malte Gembus

Malte Gembus, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Youth Work, Intergenerationality, Migration, Diaspora, and Memory

Mike Hardy

Mike Hardy, Professor

Intercultural dialogue, Development of European Index of Social Integration, Foreign Policy Interventions
Sebastien Hicks

Sebastian Hicks, Assistant Professor

School of Arts and Design

Durukan Kuzu

Durukan Kuzu, Assistant Professor

Diversity governance, comparative politics, political behaviour and minority nationalism, ethnicity and race, human rights
Helen Liebling

Helen Liebling, Assistant Professor

Survivors of conflict, post-conflict sexual and gender-based violence in Africa and the UK, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Marisa McGlinchey

Marisa McGlinchey, Assistant Professor

UK devolution; Basque politics: Irish republicanism: political 'dissidence'
EJ Milne

EJ Milne, Associate Professor

Young people, Community development, Arts-based Inquiry, Creative Methods, Refugee and migrant backgrounds
Tamlyn Monson

Tamlyn Monson, Research Fellow

Migration, citizenship, politics of place, governance, stakeholder engagement, South Africa and the UK
Ann-Marie Nienaber

Ann-Marie Nienaber, Professor (Research group leader)

(Dis)trust, sustainability, human-computer interaction, organisational change
Matt Qvortrup

Matt Qvortrup, Professor

Political Science, referendums; peace and governance; terrorism
Charis Rice

Charis Rice, Assistant Professor

Political communication, journalism, trust, divided societies, insider threat
Kindy Sandhu

Kindy Sandhu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Austerity, Intersectionality, Domestic Abuse, Race, Gender
Gavin Sullivan

Gavin Sullivan, Professor 

Social and political psychology, collective memory and emotions
Susanne Wessendorf

Susanne Wessendorf, Professor

Migration, diversity, urban ethnography, social inclusion, exclusion


Project spotlight


‘Hot Periods’ Of Anti-Minority Activism

This project will generate new policy- and practice-relevant insight about the pathways towards and away from violence during ‘hot periods’ of anti-minority activism.



AIMEC investigates how newcomers in European cities find information about settlement, and how long-established residents, including those with a migration background, support newcomers.

Call the midwives

Call the Midwives

‘Call the Midwives’: This research was supported by the Coventry City of Culture Fund. Working with community partner Foleshill Women’s training, this oral history project unearths Coventry’s South Asian women’s ‘hidden histories’ of seeking health care including childbirth and antenatal care.



TInnGO is a 3 years research project aiming to create a framework and mechanisms for a sustainable game change in European transport through a transformative strategy of gender and diversity sensitive smart mobility.

South Sudanese Refugees in Northern Uganda

Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Torture Experiences of South Sudanese Refugees in Northern Uganda

This research investigated the health and justice service responses to the needs of South Sudanese refugees living in refugee settlements in Northern Uganda who had been subjected to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and torture.



Landscape Analysis of Barriers to inclusion faced by people with disabilities and older people in Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) humanitarian programming in Central Darfur State, Sudan.

Past events

Research as cultural practice; giving space and voice to the seldom heard

24th June 2021

Early findings from the 'Call the Midwives' project were presented at the AHRC Cities of Culture Coventry Cultural Policy and Evaluation Summit as part of the panel chaired by Professor Neil Forbes: Director Institute for Creative Cultures, Coventry University.

‘Arrival Infrastructures and Migrant Newcomers in European Cities’ (AIMEC) launch event

26th April 2021

As part of the launch of this ESRC funded project, the AIMEC team presented the project to a group of 40-50 international scholars and discussed, in workshop format, the advantages and disadvantages of investigating migrant arrival through the lens of arrival infrastructures.

Social exclusion, symbolic boundaries and convivial labour in East London’s context of
ongoing immigration

26th February 2021

Professor Susanne Wessendorf presented her work on ethnic minorities’ reactions to newcomers in East London to the University of British Columbia’s UBC Centre for Migration Studies' Mobilities Group.

Unfinished Business; the politics of ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism

14th December 2020

In the wake of the book winning the Brian Farrell Book Prize, Marisa McGlinchey was invited to participate in the Interdisciplinary Seminar Series by the Department of Political Science and the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at Trinity College Dublin.

The Impact of Covid-19 on FGM in the Arab States Region

23rd November 2020

Organised by UNFPA/UNICEF, Hazel Barrett attended and presented her research 'The FGM-Migration Matrix: The case of the Arab League Region' during this global webinar.

Geneva Peace Week 2020: Adaptive Leadership in Support of Sustaining Peace in a Pandemic Environment

5th November 2020

Professor Mike Hardy was invited to be a panel member for a session exploring essential adaptive leadership principles that are required to steer peacebuilding and peace operations through a major disruptive event like the COVID-19 experience.

Contributing to the social inclusion of refugees and migrants in Europe through interreligious and intercultural dialogue

3rd - 4th November 2020

Dr Helen Liebling was invited and participated in 2nd European Policy Dialogue Forum on Refugees and Migrants. This included assisting to draft three policy recommendations on improving support for refugees in the EU. She has also been invited to be part of a working group this year that will refine the three policy recommendations for dissemination and implementation in Europe and beyond.

The Implementation of Organisational Change in Local Authority to enhance their Resilience and Capacity to Cope with Future Challenges

30th June 2020

Keynote Prof Ann-Marie Nienaber at the Opening Event of the SUMP –Academy (Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning) in Germany. More than 500 people from politics and public sector (i.e. mayor, head of departments in the transport field) were participating. 

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023