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Dr Rhiannon Firth
Dr Rhiannon Firth profile picture
  • Lecturer (Teaching) Sociology of Education
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

I am a Lecturer in Sociology at IoE in the Department of Education, Practice and Society. I gained a First Class BA (hons) interdisciplinary degree in Combined Studies (Politics, English and Economic and Social History) from the University of Leicester. I went on to undertake an ESRC-funded MA in Political Science, in which I gained a Distinction, and a PhD, both at the University of Nottingham. I was then awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Studies at the University of Nottingham where I developed the methodology used in my PhD in interdisciplinary dialogue with the field of Education, and I have since established myself in the Sociology of Education.

Research Themes
Research Summary

My research is at the intersection of Sociology, Education and Politics, with a focus on the pedagogical and prefigurative practices of social and ecological movements. I have conducted funded research with self-managed sustainable communities including housing co-operatives and eco-villages; with grassroots disaster relief movements including Occupy Sandy and COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK; and with organisations using automation technology in experimental and artisanal ways (including an automotive manufacturer, a worker co-operative and a hackspace). I have also conducted historical and theoretical research on feminist consciousness-raising, utopian literature and communities, critical pedagogy and critical cartography. She is the author of three books: Utopian Politics (Routledge, 2012); Coronavirus, Class and Mutual Aid in the UK (Palgrave, 2020); and Disaster Anarchy (Pluto, forthcoming 2022) alongside several articles and book chapters.

Teaching Summary

I joined the IoE in 2021 and will co-lead the Sociology of Education (MA) module and lead Gender, Sexuality and Education (MA) and Global Issues (BSc) modules for the 2021-2 academic year. I have a track record spanning over 13 years of teaching, lecturing, contributing to pedagogical developments and to the development of my own and others’ professional practice. In 2017 I earned the status of Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). Before coming to the IoE, I worked in research and lecturing roles at the University of Essex, the University of East London, Brunel University, and the University of Nottingham.

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