Dr Katy Wright

Dr Katy Wright


I have worked in the School of Sociology & Social Policy at Leeds since 2012. Prior to taking up a lectureship in 2017, I worked as a Research Associate in the Centre for International Research into Care, Labour and Equalities (CIRCLE) and subsequently was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Bauman Institute. 

Research interests

My research expertise is in the role of the public and communities in policy agendas, in particular urban planning, climate adaptation, societal transformations and emergency planning and response. I am particularly interested in how people think about different types of risk and adversity and the different ways in which they respond. My recent work has focused on the concept of community resilience, and aims to provide a critical sociologically informed understanding of this contested concept. I regularly work across disciplines in collaboration with colleagues from across the arts, humanities and natural sciences both at Leeds and beyond. I have extensive experience of working with non-academic partners, including with local authorities, voluntary sector organisations, government departments, sector skills councils and the private sector. This includes working with partners to develop applied research projects for our undergraduate and postgraduate students. 

I am currently co-lead of the new Horizons Institute ‘Remaking Places’ interdisciplinary research network based at the University of Leeds. This network brings together academics with practitioners, entrepreneurs and activists to support and drive transformative projects, and involves international as well as national and local partners. I am also part of the interdisciplinary Leverhulme Doctoral Training Programme on Extinction Studies at Leeds for which I act as supervisor and also lead the Digital Resources working group team.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Sociology & Social Policy
  • MA Conflict Resolution
  • MA Educational Research
  • BA(Hons) Theology & Religious Studies

Professional memberships

  • European Sociological Association

Student education

I teach across undergraduate and postgraduate modules, focusing primarily on the sociological and social policy dimensions of climate change and environmental issues as well as research methods.

I am very happy to receive applications from prospective PhD students, particularly those interested in studying topics relevant to my interests in resilience, including planning, preparation, response, adaptation and transformation. I have supervised a number of interdisciplinary PhD projects with colleagues from Transport Studies, Geography, Earth & Environment and Religious Studies and welcome proposals from prospective students who are interested in developing interdisciplinary projects. 

Completed students
Awadh Alotaibi “Youth perspectives on political and economic participation in Saudi Arabia”
Ibtisam Alamri “The hijab between men and women in Saudi society”
Kathryn Gudmunson “The impact of drug policy reforms on drug offences and organised crime: A case study of the Czech Republic from 1990-2016”
Ian Sullivan “Climate and Community – Building back better”

Current students
Asila Al Zari “Understanding community resilience in Oman: Enhancing health security through the National Emergency Management Committee system”
Rehab Alotaibi “Women driving in Saudi Arabia: Women's experience of using Twitter to demand women’s right to drive”
Sebastian Castellanos “Governing for sustainability in an era of shared mobility”
Yanze Dong “The governance of natural disasters in rural areas of China: Case study of a village in Henan province”
Dorota Kordecka “From solidarity to fluidarity: Elements activating ethically charged collective actions within the organization of the Extinction Rebellion structures in the North of England”
Marie-Therese Talensby “Surviving extinction: Experiences of eco-anxiety and environmental grief in climate change activism”

Research groups and institutes

  • The Bauman Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>