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Dr Caroline Oliver
Dr Caroline Oliver profile picture
  • Associate Professor of Sociology
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

I joined UCL in May 2019 as Associate Professor in Sociology and the Deputy Programme Director for UCL's new BSc in Sociology. Prior to this, my career history is:

  • Reader, Department of Sociology, Roehampton University (2016-2019).
  • Senior Researcher, Centre on Migration, Policy & Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford (2012-2016). 
  • Research and Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge (2006-2012).
  • Lecturer in Sociology, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (2002-2005). 
  • PhD candidate in Sociology & Social Anthropology and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Hull (1998-2002).  
  • BA(hons) degree (first class) in Sociology & Social Anthropology with Development Studies, University of Hull (1994-1997).

Research Themes
Research Summary
I am a Sociologist, with interests in migration and identity. 

My early work explored international retirement migration, and used ethnographic research to understand how later-life migration enabled the re-imagining of ageing and social class identities. Over recent years, my research has focused on urban responses to migrants and their consequences for social justice. From 2016-2019, I led mixed-methods research into city-led innovation in asylum seeker reception, evaluating the Utrecht Refugee Launchpad in the Netherlands, funded by the EC’s Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) scheme. Our evaluation was selected as a good practice by the UIA, and drew out learning from the initiative’s use of co-housing and co-learning to address local hostility, and improve newcomers' wellbeing and labour market prospects. From 2012-2014 I led a four-country international study on rights and entitlements of Family Migrants across Europe, funded by the EU’s European Fund for the Integration of third country nationals (EIF). In 2015-2016, I worked with European urban governments to facilitate migrant parents' engagement with their children's schools (see here). 

Parental identities is a theme I am examining further following research with the families of autistic children and young people on the experiences of the COVID-19 lockdown. This was funded by the British Educational Research Association and inspired by my own experiences as a parent. 

I am a passionate sociologist who believes in using research to inform change, especially through partnerships with urban local governments, NGOs, and social enterprises. In 2016, I was part of a University of Oxford team that developed a prize-winning online tool to simplify assessment by local government and NGOs of migrant families’ eligibility for welfare and housing support. I am co-Editor in Chief of the journal Evidence & Policy, as well as Series Editor of the BSA Sociological Futures book series.

Teaching Summary

UCL Teaching:

  • Deputy Programme Director BSc Sociology. 
  • Module leader on two second year core BSc Sociology modules: 'Urban Sociology in a Global World' and 'Identities: Sociological Perspectives'. 
  • Lecture contributions and supervisions on MA Sociology of Education degree
  • Doctoral supervision: four PhD students and two EdD students.

Teaching qualifications: 

  • Postgraduate certificate in academic practice (PGCertAP) in 2005 (with distinction) University of Newcastle upon Tyne. 
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2018).

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