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Personal profile

Research interests

My research concerns students’ lived experiences of higher education, inequalities and social justice, which are all critical in a changing world. I research the connections between digital, spatial, social and historical inequalities in higher education and the importance of student agency in overcoming these.  I have pioneered working with students as co-researchers to research their own learning lives across many different contexts nationally and internationally..

I was the  Principal Investigator on a three year  (2016 - 19) ESRC/NRF/Newton funded project based in South Africa called SARiHE (Southern African Rurality in Higher Education – see http://sarihe.org.za) with partners from the Universities of Johannesburg, Rhodes and Fort Hare and in the UK, University of Brighton. The research is about inequalities in access and participation in higher education. We investigated how students from rural areas in South Africa negotiate the transition to higher education foregrounding the social and cultural capital they bring and how they are shaped by their home, school and community.

Other recent work includes an  EU funded widening participation project called Access4All (see http://access4allproject.eu) on access and inclusion and  which acts as a laboratory for the creation of innovative and flexible strategies to support universities across Europe. From 2013 – 2016, I led a study funded by the University of Bristol’s Widening Participation Research Fund called ‘DD-lab’ or Digital Diversity, learning and belonging, investigating the role of digital media in fostering a culture of belonging amongst undergraduate students from non-traditional backgrounds. 

I am interested in supervising PhD students in areas related to the above interests - in particular widening participation, social justice, students’ lived experiences and identities, digital inequalities, cultures and practices in higher education.

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  • DD-lab: Digital Diversity, Learning and Belonging

    Timmis, S., Yee, W. C. & Munoz Chereau, B. M. L.


    Project: Research

    Research Output

    Encounters with coloniality: Students’ experiences of transitions from rural contexts into higher education in South Africa

    Timmis, S., Mgqwashu, E. M., Naidoo, K., Muhuro, P., Trahar, S. M., Lucas, L., Wisker, G. & de Wet, T., 19 Oct 2019, In : Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning . 7, Special Issue, p. 76 -101 25 p., 5.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    26 Downloads (Pure)

    De-coding or de-colonising the technocratic university? Rural students’ digital transitions to South African higher education.

    Timmis, S. & Muhuro, P., 10 Jun 2019, In : Learning, Media and Technology. 44, 3, p. 252 -266 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • 5 Citations (Scopus)
  • 2 Citations (Scopus)


    • 13 Invited talk
    • 4 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
    • 2 Membership of external research organisation
    • 1 External Examination and Supervision

    Learning analytics and technology based assessments

    Sue Timmis (Invited speaker)

    2 May 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

    Worldwide Universities Network (External organisation)

    Sue Timmis (Chair)

    24 Oct 2019 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of external research organisation

    Worldwide Universities Conference 2019

    Sue Timmis (Invited speaker)

    20 May 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

    Supervised Work

    "I'd would die without it" : A study of Chilean teenagers' mobile phone use in school

    Author: Ruiz Cabello, P. A., 1 Oct 2019

    Supervisor: Timmis, S. (Supervisor) & Barnes, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


    Technology-enhanced Professional Development of School Teachers in Chile: An Action Research Exploration

    Author: Cerna, M., 28 Nov 2019

    Supervisor: Timmis, S. (Supervisor) & Barnes, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)