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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a social psychologist whose research focuses broadly on understanding how to improve intergroup relations in diverse and conflict settings. I have expertise in quantitative methods and am particularly interested in applying social psychological theories to shape policy and practice in education and beyond. Influenced by my time spent growing up in Northern Ireland, my research centres around a number of key areas:

  • Segregation: Examining how and why individuals from different religious, racial and ethnic groups interact in everyday life spaces.
  • Reducing prejudice: Understanding how various forms of intergroup contact can be used to reduce prejudice towards stigmatised groups.
  • Pro-social behaviour and empathy: Understanding under what conditions conflict affected youth engage in pro-social behaviours, and to what extent empathy plays a role in promoting peace.
  • Social identity: Investigating how identity strength and identity processes influence intergroup atttiudes and intergroup relations.

Research Grants (selected)

  • 2021-2023: BA/Leverhulme Small grants award (£9,964.76). Understanding participation in 'non-normative' collective action: a case study of the destruction of a public statue associated with historical racism. PI: John Dixon, Co-Is: Shelley McKeown, Sofia Stathi. 
  • 2021-2024: ESRC Standard Grant (£634,748). Shared Spaces: The How, When, and Why of Adolescent Intergroup Interactions. PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-Is: Laura K. Taylor, David Manley.
  • 2020-2021: BA/Leverhulme Small grants award (£9,810). Felt understanding: promoting intergroup relations in Northern Ireland. PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-I: Andrew Livingstone.
  • 2018-2019: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Award (£13,996). Shared space: changing teacher practice, children’s attitudes and influencing policy nationally and internationally through the use of a teacher toolkit. PI: Amanda Williams, Co-PIs Janet Orchard and Shelley McKeown.
  • 2017-2020: ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (£155,152). The changing landscape: diverse friendships and the effects of contextual diversity on youth outcomes. PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-I's: Amanda Williams, Liz Washbrook and David Manley.
  • 2017-2018: ESRC Future Research Leaders award (£150,036). The diversity effect: intergroup interactions and the impact of diversity on young people's attitudes and academics. PI: Shelley McKeown. 
  • 2016-2017: ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Award (£19,991). Shared Space: teachers and researchers sharing space to improve their knowledge and understanding of how to promote inter-religious and cultural dialogue in classrooms” PI: Janet Orchard, Co-PI’s Shelley McKeown and Amanda Williams.
  • 2015-2017: BA/Leverhulme Small grants award (£9935). Altrusim Born of Suffering: Positive Development in a Post-Accord Setting. PI: Laura K. Taylor, Co-I: Shelley McKeown
  • 2015-2016: Richard Benjamin Trust (£9915). Altrusim Born of Suffering: Positive Development in a Post-Accord Setting. PI: Laura K. Taylor, Co-PI: Shelley McKeown


  • 2018: American Psychological Association: Division 48 Ed Cairns Early Career award for substantial contributions to peace psychology
  • 2014: British Psychological Society: Social Psychology Section Ph.D award for contributions to social psychology
  • 2011: British Psychological Society: Northern Ireland Branch Postgraduate presentation prize

Areas of Research Supervision

I am particularly interested in supervising quantitative or mixed methods Master's and PhD projects with a focus on evaluating diversity, segergation in everyday spaces, intergroup contact, intergroup relations, altrusim and empathy, intergroup conflict, prejudice, peace education and social identity. 

External positions

Chair, British Psychological Society, Social Psychology Section


Governing Council Member, International Society of Political Psychology


Co-Chair, International Network for Peace Psychology

External examiner, University of Edinburgh


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