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

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Ann-Marie Nienaber, Professor (Research group leader)

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

Gavin Sullivan, Professor 

Social and political psychology, collective memory and emotions

Joel Busher, Associate Professor

Anti-minority mobilisation, gang violence, gender

Hazel Barrett, Professor

FGM and communities, human geography, health and rural development

Durukan Kuzu, Assistant Professor

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

Marisa McGlinchey, Assistant Professor

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

Matt Qvortrup, Professor

Political Science, referendums; peace and governance; terrorism
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Imogen Baylis, Research Assistant

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

Mateja Celestina, Assistant Professor

Displacement, Belonging, Place, Memory, Identity and identification
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Catherine Harris, Assistant Professor

Labour Migration, EU Migration, Social Diversity, Integration, Ethnic Entrepreneurship

EJ Milne, Associate Professor

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

Charis Rice, Assistant Professor

Political communication, journalism, trust, divided societies, insider threat
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Kindy Sandhu, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Austerity, Intersectionality, Domestic Abuse, Race, Gender
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Susanne Wessendorf, Professor

Migration, diversity, urban ethnography, social inclusion, exclusion
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Mike Hardy, Professor

Intercultural dialogue, Development of European Index of Social Integration, Foreign Policy Interventions
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Helen Liebling, Assistant Professor

Survivors of conflict, post-conflict sexual and gender-based violence in Africa and the UK, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
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Sebastian Hicks, Assistant Professor

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.



SUITS is a four-year research and innovation action to increase the capacity building of Local Authorities and transport stakeholders and to transfer learning to smaller sized cities.



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.

Empire Windrush

The Windrush Scandal

This study aims to critically evaluate the Windrush victims’ and their families’ experiences of disruption to their support networks and how they negotiated their identity and sense of British belonging as a consequence of the scandal.

For us by us

For Us by Us

Children's Picture Books to Promote Solidarity and Acceptance in the Age of Refugees. The goal of the project is to connect children with refugee experiences (or those whose parents were refugees) through the creation and dissemination of their own picture books.

Past events

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. 

Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021