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Dr Sue TimmisB. Ed (CNAA), PhD (Bristol)

Reader in Education

Sue Timmis

Dr Sue TimmisB. Ed (CNAA), PhD (Bristol)

Reader in Education

Member of

Research interests

My research concerns students’ lived experiences of higher education, inequalities and social justice, which are all critical in a changing world. I reearch the connections between digital, spatial, social and historical inequalities in higher education and the importance of student agency in overcoming these. My research is also methodologically distinctive. 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 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 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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Postal address:
Helen Wodehouse Building
35 Berkeley Square
United Kingdom