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Prof. Shelley McKeown Jones


Research Summary

Our research focuses on how to improve relations between groups in socially divided societies. We explore how interactions between members of different social groups are experienced, their effects on individuals and societies, and how they might be best facilitated through intervention in the field. We also consider how social relations are understood 'on the ground' and the conditions under which individuals engage in pro-social and collective behaviours to promote stronger relations. We work primarily, but not exclusively, with youth samples in ethnically divided and conflict contexts. We are passionate about research-informed practice and much of our work is designed and implemented in partnership with key organisations in the field. 

research questions 

We use a range of methodological approaches including surveys (cross-sectional and longitudinal), experiments (field and online), GPS tracking, diaries, focus groups, interviews, and participatory techniques (e.g., photo elicitation) to answer questions such as:

  1. How are interactions between different social groups experienced in everyday life settings?
  2. What are the factors that influence engagement in interactions with people from different social groups?
  3. To what extent can interactions between different social groups have beneficial effects beyond prejudice reduction?
  4. What are the factors that influence whether individuals engage in pro-social and collective behaviours to promote stronger societal relations?
  5. What strategies might organisations such as schools use to promote better relations between social groups?

Ongoing funded projects

ESRC Standard Grant

Shared Spaces: The How, When, and Why of Adolescent Intergroup Interactions. PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-Is: Laura K. Taylor (University College Dublin), David Manley (University of Bristol).

BA/Leverhulme Small Grants Award

Understanding participation in ‘non-normative’ collective action: A case study of the destruction of a public statue associated with historical racism. PI: John Dixon (Open University), Co-Is: Shelley McKeown, Sofia Stathi (University of Greenwich).

BA/Leverhulme Small Grants Award

Felt understanding: promoting intergroup relations in Northern Ireland: PI: Shelley McKeown, Co-I: Andrew Livingstone (University of Exeter).


Diversity Effects Project Teacher Toolkit

Classroom resources to support teaching about difference in the school classroom. Developed as part of an ESRC funded project.

RE Shared Spaces Project Teacher Toolkit

Information about the Shared Space project and the RE teacher toolkit developed for primary and secondary school teachers.

Our team

Recent publications

Related research themes