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Institute for Social Justice

Who we are

The Institute brings together expertise from right across our academic community and beyond, working alongside our students, external partners and the wider community.

Tote bag with York St John logo and #WeAreYSJ

York St John University was founded by the Church of England in 1841, with the express purpose of giving people from a wider range of families and backgrounds the opportunity to transform their lives through education.

Originally a teacher training college before becoming a thriving and diverse university, we have shared this ethos of opportunity and inclusion with thousands of graduates over the years.

That spirit of using education to create better opportunities for everyone remains integral to our mission and focus today. Much of our work already reflects this, by partnering directly with people and organisations that can benefit from our support or share our values. We are also located in York, a designated City of Sanctuary with a rich history of progressiveness and social justice engagement. 

The Institute for Social Justice is a natural progression of those efforts. It brings together a variety of work and expertise dispersed across our University and our wider partnerships, under a single banner and with a shared focus. We recognise that injustice across society is a cause or consequence of many of the most significant challenges facing the world today. Our 2026 University Strategy makes rising to these challenges a collective priority. The Institute for Social Justice will help us make a step change, so that social justice is at the heart of our research, partnerships, and impact.

In 2021 the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, became patron of the Institute for Social Justice at York St John University. This patronage recognises our shared values and objectives as we work together to combat inequalities and actively strive for ever greater social justice.

Our people

Core team

The Institute for Social Justice works with staff across the whole University as well as a core team and cross-school steering group.

Postgraduate researchers

Our community of postgraduate researchers are engaged in interdisciplinary research across all five schools in the University.

Research groups

The Institute for Social Justice hosts and works with research groups and partners across the University.