Professor Angharad Beckett FRSA

Professor Angharad Beckett FRSA


I am also Affiliate Professor at the Department of Disability Studies, University of Malta.

A Sociologist with a keen interest in the politics of oppression and the resistance practices of the oppressed, most of my work focuses on disability politics and human rights (UK and internationally). My interest in and commitment to work in the area of disability and social justice began when I was an undergraduate student and I became involved with supporting the People First movement (self-advocacy movement). I learnt then what it means to be an 'ally' (a lesson I still work very hard to remember and apply in my actions today). I have undertaken work on varied topics in the field of disability research including Citizenship and Disability, the Disabled People's Movement as a Social Movement, Disability Equality in English Primary Schools, Anti-Ableist Pedagogy and most recently, Inclusive Play. In the below video I discuss disability politics, the role of allies (need for self-reflexivity), the social model, ableism, ability-expectations, oppression and what brought me into this field.

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Live Stories - Professor Angharad Beckett 'Disability Rights, Activism And Me'

Theoretically, I am drawn to various 'post-conventional' perspectives: Feminist, Post-Colonial, Foucauldian and Deleuzo-Guattarian/new materialist (especially the latter). Methodologically, I am an experienced qualitative researcher, but often employ mixed methods approaches. I have particular expertise in undertaking participatory research and research with children, including the use of creative and co-design methodologies.

Over the years I have been honoured to give Keynotes and Plenaries at many events - academic and non-academic. It is important to me that my research has positive societal impact and international relevance and reach, so it was with great pleasure that I have, for example, addressed the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), given the Keynote at the Annual Conference of the campaigning charity Communication Matters, been invited to give a Public Lecture at the University of Malta and be a Visiting Professor at L'Universita della Valle d'Aosta, Italy. I have given invited seminars around the UK, in Sweden and Australia and I was the Keynote at the East Asia Disability Forum, Taiwan, October 2018.

I have also been delighted to take part in many different types of training for academic researchers and for disability activists and allies. As such I have, for example, been Guest Lecturer at the Hong Kong University Summer School on Disability Rights, helped design the COST Action LUDI Training School (for professionals working with disabled children) and been Guest Lecturer at a Council of Europe and ENIL Training Event for young disability activists.

For many years I was the co-Director of the Centre for Disability Studies and it was a privilege to lead one of the longest-established and best known Centres in its field, internationally. I am still an active member of this Centre. We are an interdisciplinary network of researchers united in our commitment to undertaking work that challenges disabling barriers and helps build a more inclusive society. I am a founding member of the White Rose Studies in Ableism collaboration with colleagues at the universities of Sheffield and York and am a member of the Editorial Board for the leading US journal in Disability Studies 'Disability Studies Quarterly'. I am the Founder and co-Chair (Editor-in-Chief) of the Editorial Executive of the International Journal of Disability and Social Justice and one of the Founding Editors of the international 'Journal of Disability Studies in Education'.

I am an experienced reviewer/assessor for various research funding bodies, having been a member of the Grant Assessment Panel for the ESRC and Norwegian Research Council.


  • Director of Research and Innovation

Research interests

My research has been funded by the ESRC, Leverhulme Foundation, various charities (including Cambridge House, London, JRF and the Open Society) and Sports England. Between 2015-18 I was a member of the Core Group (Executive) for an EU-funded COST Action Network: Play for Children with Disabilities (LUDI). The LUDI Network was awarded the International Play Association's 'Right to Play' Award, 2017 in recognition of its work to promote disabled children's right to play.

My current research is focused in four areas:

(1) Theorising disabled people's resistance practices (understanding the 'big ideas' of the disabled people's movement as oppositional devices)

(2) Anti-ableist Pedagogy

(3) Human Rights for disabled children and young people

(4) Impact of cancer (and where this occurs, long-term resulting impairment) on the lives and subjective wellbeing of young people

Current funded research projects include:

- ESRC-funded ‘Impact of cancer diagnosis on social (re)integration of young adults’ 

- U-Lead East Asia Disability Rights Forum

PhD Examination and Supervision

I am an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner. I have examined 10+ PhDs (UK and international). I have supervised 8 students to successful completion (100% success rate) of their PhDs, as follows:

2020: Julia Daniels: Exploring the Psychological and Emotional Impacts of Ableism in Education and Motherhood. ESRC funded.

2018: Vickie Gauci. Thesis: Enabling Technology in the Workplace: exploring the dis/ability-assemblage’. Funded by Maltese Government.

2017: Emily Webb. Thesis: ‘We are a Roma Nation’: Support for Romani Nationalism amongst Britain’s Romani Populations. ESRC funded.

2017: Anne-Marie Moore. Thesis: ‘Together Through Play Project: Facilitating Meaningful Play Between Disabled and Non-disabled Children.’ Leverhulme Funded.

2016: Tiffany Boulton. Thesis: Understanding "Contested" Chronic Illness: A Case Study of the In/Visibility of Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) in the UK and Canada. SSHRC Canada funded.

2015: Natasha Hardicre. Thesis: Love: A Frame Analysis. Exploring the Organisation of Emotion. University of Leeds Teaching Bursary.

2015: Deborah Fenney. Thesis: ‘Disabled people and pro-environmental behaviour: sustainability and accessibility.’ ESRC funded.

2014: Nicola Horsley. Thesis: ‘Citizenship Education, Equality and Diversity: exploring responses to citizenship education in English state secondary schools.’ ESRC CASE Studentship in collaboration with The Citizenship Foundation, London.

2013: Rob Rhodes-Kubaik. Thesis: ‘The history and development of human rights movements in south-east Europe: a case study of LGBT social movements in Serbia.’

I am very proud of all of their achievements.

I am currently supervising (please click to read their profiles): Shirley Barrett, Georgette Bajada (based at the University of Malta), Gemma Carr, Rados Keravica, Tomas Puentes Leon, Veronica Montanaro, Amy Redhead, Josephine Sirotkin and Sarah Troke.

I welcome applications from passionate students, committed to social justice and interested in: resistance politics; disability studies - any area, but particularly disability politics, studies in ableism, disabled childhoods, inclusive education and/or inclusive play. I also welcome students interested in theorising human rights and ‘vulnerability’.

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


  • BA (Hons) Sociology & Social Policy (Durham)
  • PhD Sociology (Sheffield)

Professional memberships

  • Member of the British Sociological Association
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Student education

At postgraduate level I teach in the area of Disability Studies, in particular Disability Theory and Politics. I also teach Qualitative Research Methods and Research Ethics.

At undergraduate level I contribute to team-taught modules, where I introduce students to Disability Studies and Studies in Ableism. I also teach in the areas of Politics and Social Transformation, Social Theory and Citizenship Studies.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Disability Studies

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="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>