Professor Joanne Hughes

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Dr Joanne Hughes

Professor Joanne Hughes

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

My main research interest is in the role of education in societies divided along ethno/religious lines. My work is concerned with exploring the nature of intergroup relations and the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote social cohesion. Current research projects examine the impact of shared education in societies where parallel school systems exist for different groups.

This research has particular relevance to wider debates on separate education, and on the contribution that education can make to promoting local and global citizenship. The objective of the research activity is to maximise the potential for education to contribute towards the development of more peaceful societies.

Research Interests

Open to PhD applications in:

  • Intergroup relations in divided societies

  • The role of schools in promoting intergroup relations in divided societies

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Public outreach & key achievements

UNESCO Chair on Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Intergroup Relations in Divided Societies

Research in NI informed the Shared Education Act (2016), and in the Republic of Macedonia, the establishment of a state-wide Interethnic Integration in Education Programme.

Recent (2016-present) expert advisor roles include, British Academy, ‘Education in Conflict and Protracted Crises’; Academy of Social Sciences, ‘Making the Case for Education in the UK’- subsequently launched in the House of Lords (2017); Salzburg Global Session 605, ‘Climate Change, Conflict, Health and Education’; Research Review of mid-Sweden University - Chair of the Education Panel.

Research students

Name Asma Alblooshi  
Years of study 2018-2021 
Country UAE 
Name Abbie Leigh Kewley 
Years of study 2016-2020 
Country Northern Ireland 




Alumni: Where are they now

PhD area Citizenship Education in Northern Ireland and Israel within an Education Rights Framework 
Name Dr Helen Hanna  
Years of study 2010-2014 
Country  China 
Quote Getting the opportunity to do a PhD with Joanne opened up a new world of opportunity to me. I had never considered academia as a career before, but very soon after I started I realised that research was my passion. Joanne cultivated this sense of passion but also allowed me a great deal of independence to pursue my interests and to grow as a researcher. She set an example as a woman in academia, and as someone pursuing impactful research and being active on an international scale, that I wish to follow. 
Current Position  Associate Research Fellow, Institute of International and Comparative Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai (2019-Ongoing). Formerly Lecturer in Education Studies, Institute of Childhood and Education, Leeds Trinity University (2014-2019). 


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