Our research

Concrete tunnel with light coming in

We have a vibrant research community of academic staff, postdoctoral and postgraduate researchers within the School of Politics and International Studies. We also regularly collaborate with colleagues across the University and work with external partners in NGOs, in policy-making, and in the arts.

Our research community meets frequently for informal pitch-to-peer lunches to support the development of new research ideas, and for reading groups focusing on topics and fields that we are currently working on. You can find out more about our members’ research interests here for staff and here for postgraduate researchers.

We host a long-standing programme of research seminars attracting both emerging and established international scholars. Find our current schedule here.


Ordinary Citizenship

We often ask what makes a good citizen, but rarely what makes an ordinary citizen. We think of ordinary citizens only as ‘not-so-good citizens’ and spend a lot of time trying to ‘improve’ them. The Ordinary Citizenship project led by Dr Derek Edyvane suggests that, instead of disparaging them (or romanticising them), we must find ways of accommodating ordinary citizens within the democratic framework and learn how to foster the distinctive qualities their role demands. 

Theorising Solidarity

What kind of normative relation is solidarity in a globalised and fragmented world? What does it mean to speak of, or to theorise, global solidarity? Despite renewed academic interest in solidarity and frequent public affirmations of solidarity in activist networks, solidarity is largely under-theorised; it has often been both supported and dismissed without close interrogation of what historically, conceptually, and normatively solidarity means. Led by Dr Kerri Woods, the main output will be a special issue of papers responding to these challenges and provocations in the journal Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric.

Arts engagement and storytelling as pathways to solidarity with people who have refugee and asylum seeker experiences

This project – a collaboration with Opera North – led by Hope Bachmann, looks at how arts engagement facilitates solidarity with people who have refugee and asylum seeker experiences. In 2019, Opera North were awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status in recognition of the work they have done in engaging with refugees and asylum seekers. The project looks to compare and critique the practices of Opera North with the literature on political theory of solidarity, and to see what the two worlds can learn from one another.

Reconceptualising global justice: introducing a critical cosmopolitanism

This project, led by Declan Kenny, seeks to redress to the tendency within cosmopolitan thought to defend symptomatic global principles of justice that fail to meaningfully examine and challenge global structural injustices. The project will argue that in order to provide a meaningful account of global structural injustices we must reflect upon neoliberal rules and norms and how they act as an ontological framework within which agential action takes place.