British Academy and Nuffield Foundation Collaboration on Understanding Communities awards 2021-22

Funded by

Dr Mona Sakr, Middlesex University

Dr Lorien Jasny, University of Exeter

Dr Lindsey Cameron, University of Kent

Dr Jocelyn Dautel, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr Emily Murphy, Newcastle University

Dr Charlotte Haberstroh, London School of Economics and Political Science


Beyond School Gates: Children’s Contribution to Community Integration


Community integration is a central part of the British government’s levelling up agenda, but the role of children and schools remains underexplored. This project investigates how children’s perceptions, experiences and attitudes contribute to community integration. The research team focuses on nine state primary schools across three large, ethnically diverse towns in Northwest England. The team aim to inform local and national policymakers on how children’s social cognition, experiences of integration and friendship networks impact community integration.

Dr Danielle Hutcheon, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Sarah Nason, Bangor University

Dr Margaret Currie, The James Hutton Institute

Dr Davide Natalini, Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Bobby Macaulay, University of the Highlands and Islands

John Hallett, ACE: Action in Caerau & Ely


Rural Assets: Policy and Practice Insights from the Devolved Nations


Rural communities face long-standing challenges, such as out-migration of young people and geographic isolation, that affect local socio-economic development and threaten community resilience and well-being. Across the UK, the acquisition of local assets, such as land and buildings, is promoted as a means of strengthening local networks and community empowerment. The research explores divergence in policy application and local level practice in each nation to compare the impacts of the different processes on rural communities’ empowerment, resilience, and well-being.

The direction of the research is informed by knowledge exchange events across all four nations attended by people from policy, practice and rural communities, including those directly or indirectly involved with asset acquisition processes.

Professor Lasana Harris, University College London

Dr Saffron Woodcraft, University College London

Dr Nonso Nnamoko, Edge Hill University

Dr Saite Lu, University of Cambridge


Using Administrative Data to Understand Community Wellbeing


This project explores whether administrative data about behaviour, already gathered by local authorities, can be ethically used to provide insights into community well-being and to inform policy. A behavioural data algorithm will be developed using simulated data to test its efficacy as a measurement tool and to evaluate the effectiveness of administrative data to predict wellbeing.

Dr Sarah Nason, Bangor University

Dr Lorien Jasny, University of Exeter

Dr Sara Closs-Davies, Bangor University

Lindsey Poole, Advice Services Alliance

Ned Sharpe, Ministry of Justice


The Role of Communities and Connections in Social Welfare Legal Advice


Social welfare law includes benefits, debt, employment, housing, immigration, education, and community care. People seeking social welfare legal advice often have very low incomes and limited access to legal aid.

This project examines the social welfare legal advice-seeking behaviours of people through the lens of four local case study areas, their community characteristics and social networks. The research team analyses the role of locality and identity-based organisations in helping people access advice and explore how access to advice services interacts with community connectedness, equality, and well-being. The project provides evidence for policymakers and practitioners to respond to local needs and overcome barriers to access.

Dr Tirion Havard, London South Bank University

Dr Sarah Bartley, University of Reading

Dr Ian Mahoney, Nottingham Trent University

Ned Sharpe, Ministry of Justice

Dr Chris Magill, University of Brighton

Professor Chris Flood, London South Bank University


Transformative Justice, Women with Convictions and Uniting Communities


Women with convictions have complex needs. They account for 13% of deaths of people on post-release supervision (MoJ 2021), but under 5% of the prison population. This research aims to establish whether Transformative Justice supports women with convictions to reintegrate into communities and if it facilitates social connections and promotes equality. The findings will be used to develop a toolkit which will form the basis of a training programme for interested organisations.

Dr Azadeh Fatehrad, Kingston University

Dr Caitlin Nunn, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr Davide Natalini, Anglia Ruskin University


Nature-based Integration: Connecting Communities with/in Nature


With an estimated 14% of UK residents born overseas, migrants and migrant-background communities play a crucial role in society. However, the UK continues to face challenges in promoting and supporting inclusion and connection in diverse communities. This project explores the effect of different types of integration practices in a variety of natural environments, including green spaces. By considering the challenges and barriers to nature-based integration strategies, the research team will create a framework for local and national integration initiatives.

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