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Institute for Social Justice

Steering group

Indicative of our multi-disciplinary approach to our social justice research, the direction and focus of the Institute for Social Justice is led by a Steering Group with representatives from each of the five schools.

Staff profile

Professor Matthew Reason

Director, Institute for Social Justice

Matthew’s background is in theatre, performance and community arts where he has conducted research in a diversity of contexts including with children and with people with disabilities. He is particularly interested in participatory research that gives people agency and personal insight in research processes and of the role of the arts in social justice. He is currently working with Mind the Gap Theatre Company on an AHRC-funded project delivering inclusive community arts practice during social distancing.

Olalekan Adekola

Dr Olalekan Adekola

School of Humanities

Olalekan is a geographer with interest in using interdisciplinary approaches and mixed methods for understanding how the costs and benefits from environmental degradation are distributed across socio-economic groups. He has worked on research projects using participatory interdisciplinary approaches for improving understanding and communication amongst stakeholders on topics including adaptation of urban infrastructure to enhance climate resilience; co-designing sustainable aquaculture practices, promoting sustainable ship breaking process, stakeholder engagement to reduce flood risks and facilitating social learning in the management of ecosystem services.

Rachel Conlon

Rachel Conlon

School of the Arts

Rachel is Director of the YSJ Prison Partnership Project and Senior Lecturer in Theatre, specialising in socially engaged arts practice, with a particular interest in theatre in the criminal justice system. Her practice investigates women’s personal and collective narratives and explores the relationship women navigate between the inside and outside of prison. With a professional career that spans over the last 20 years, Rachel is an active practitioner in the field of drama with young people at risk and makes theatre work with, for and by diverse youth communities. Her work is driven by a social justice and feminist agenda.

Dr Mark Mierzwinski

Learning and Teaching Lead in Science, Technology and Health

Mark is a sociologist whose research focuses on how people socially construct social justice and social health in sport and education. He recently published a funded (£600) partnership report evaluating a community project aimed at combatting loneliness. He is particularly interested in notions of children’s ‘right to play’ and practices surrounding a ‘duty of care’. He co-authored a ‘Bullying in School Sport’ funded (£5,200) report for the Ben Cohen Stand-Up Foundation. His publications draw on ethnographic research to provide young people a voice and gain their interpretations and experiences of gender, banter and bullying within Physical Education settings. This topic area is being further pursued by Matthew Green, a PhD student within the Institute of Social Justice.

Dr Tyson Mitman

York Business School

Tyson Mitman is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology, studying public aesthetics and graffiti culture. Specifically, his work explores how individuals who make public art think about themselves and their subculture, and how what they do gives them a voice within a system that might prefer they remain quiet. Tyson’s research looks at how craft producers navigate complex marketplaces and build a clientele, while dealing with the tensions between craft ideals and capitalist profit motivations. His other research includes social justice, politics of resistance, theories of democracy, political agency, and terrorism.

Nathalie Noret

Dr Nathalie Noret

School of Education, Language and Psychology

Nathalie’s background is in developmental psychology. Her current projects examine the impact of interpersonal violence (bullying, and sexual harassment) on poor mental health in adolescence and early adulthood. Nathalie is one of the co-ordinators of the University’s All About respect project a collaborative project involving students, charity partners, and the university wellbeing team, and which aims to tackle sexual harm on campus.

Katy Harris

Institute for Social Justice Student Intern, BA Law

Katy is a third year BA Law student at York St John University. She has a passion for social justice and her role within the Institute is to widen the participation and understanding of the student community in social justice.

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