Dr Katy Wright

Dr Katy Wright


I have worked in the School of Sociology & Social Policy since completing my PhD in 2012, having previously worked as a researcher at the University of Sheffield and at the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster (Coleraine) and for several years outside of academia in public, private and third sector roles.


  • Programme Manager MA in Social & Public Policy

Research interests

With an interdisciplinary background incorporating humanities, politics and the social sciences, much of my recent work has focused on communities - particularly participation and engagement - and on policy targeted at localities.  This has included studying community consultation in Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects using the TIdal Lagoon Swansea Bay project as a case study.  I am also interested in the social role of infrastructure, and how different claims and uses of infrastructure and public space play out in everyday life.

More recently, I have been exploring the concept of community resilience from a critical perspective, and am currently under contract with Routledge to produce a book on this topic.  The concept of resilience links into my ongoing interest in participation and engagement, whilst introducing a more explicit temporal dimension into my work. This has led to a new strand of interest which focuses on various strategies taken by citizens, government and other organisations to prepare for different futures, and the different ways in which potential futures are discursively and analytically framed and understood.

My previous research has involved working with a range of public, private and third sector organisations, including UNESCO; Tidal Lagoon Power; the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP); local and national voluntary sector organisations; local authorities in Wales and England; the Royal College of General Practitioners; and sector skills councils. I am committed not only to disseminating findings and insights through traditional academic routes, but also through direct engagement with different non-academic audiences.

PhD supervision

I currently supervise the following PhD students:

Ibtisam Alamri   "Hijab in Saudi Society"

Awadh Alotaibi  "Saudi Arabian Youth Participation"

Sebastian Castellanos  "The role of regulation in shared mobility modes" (based in Institute for Transport Studies)

Kathryn Gudmunson  "The impact of drug policy reforms on drug offences and organised crime: A case study of the Czech Republic from 1990-2016"

Public engagement activities

I am always keen to get involved in public engagement activities, for example in in 2017 I presented at the Hope not Hate activist conference "A Future for Post-Industrial Communities".  In 2018, I contributed an article to the art project These Northern Types led by Split Design Leeds which was focused on the topic of Northern identity in the UK.  Also during 2018, I led a workshop on community engagement at the Leeds Climathon event.  After the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017, I contributed an article to The Conversation "There needs to be more than just community spirit in times of crisis" which can be accessed here

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

Student education

I am currently Programme Director of the MA in Social & Public Policy and co-convenor of the State Crime and Immorality undergraduate module. I also teach on the Beyond the University module, and and convene the Project Labs module for the Masters in Public Administration.

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>