Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Dr Katy Wright

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

My research interests focus primarily on ways in which the responsibilities of the public to participate in civic, civil and political life are shaped, and on various strategies used to ‘activate’ and ‘responsibilise’ citizens to act in particular ways.  I am also interested in how forms of social solidarity emerge and change over time and how this relates to broader patterns of formal and informal engagement, and processes of socioeconomic change. My research has used a qualitatively driven mixed methods approach to critically engage with policy and practice across a range of substantive areas including community engagement, disability and employment, human rights education, Corporate Social Responsibility, and unpaid care. 

Currently, I am involved in research which critically engages with the concept of community resilience, and looks at how resilience is used in policy and practice.  Using a proposed £1billion tidal lagoon development in South Wales (Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay) as a case study, the research is using resilience as a way to conceptually frame the impact of large-scale infrastructure developments on localities, and to explore the role of local communities, both in terms of consultation and community benefit activities.  A key aim is to explore the potential role of the private sector in contributing to, or undermining, local forms of resilience, and to develop insights into good practice for community involvement and community benefit. 

My previous research has involved working with a range of public, private and third sector organisations, including UNESCO; 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 organisations.  I am a member of the Leadership Board for Care Connect, the HEIF-funded Social Care Innovation Hub, and of the Realism Leeds network.  I am committed not only to disseminating findings and insights through traditional academic routes, but also through direct engagement with public, private and third sector organisations.  For example, in 2013 I was a guest speaker at the Manchester City Council Management Conference on Community Engagement and Empowerment, and am currently involved in developing workshops on community engagement with Tidal Lagoon Power (a private sector renewable energy company).  I have also participated in several public events and debates, and acted as a judge in the regional finals of the Institute of Ideas ‘Debating Matters’ competition in 2015.

I am involved in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the School of Sociology & Social Policy, including supervision of undergraduate dissertations, and have delivered research training for PhD students across the Faculties of Arts and Humanities.  I developed materials for the Community Research Academy established by Care Connect, and act as supervisor for research interns for the Care Connect hub.     

Key Publications

Journal articles


  • Wright K, Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay: Community consultation and local perceptions of the proposed development, (Bauman Institute, University of Leeds, 2013)

  • Wigfield A, Wright KJ, Supporting Carers in General Practice: An evaluation, (CIRCLE, University of Leeds, 2012)

  • Wright K, Corporate Social Responsibility: A Review of the Literature, (Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Philosophy & Religious Studies, 2010)

  • Marsh J, Brooks G, Wright K, Hughes J, Ritchie L, Roberts S, Digital beginnings: Young children’s use of popular culture, media and new technologies, (Literacy Research Centre, University of Sheffield, 2005)

Thesis / Dissertations

  • Wright KJ, ‘Participant Perspectives on Participation: A case study of a low-income neighbourhood in Leeds’

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