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The Wonderful Women Of LSSI


The Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI) team is a fantastic example of women’s achievements.  International Women’s Day 2022 is an opportunity to spotlight the work of the team! 

Our Academics


LSSI is headed by Professor Louise Waite, who is a Professor of Human Geography as well as the Director of the LSSI.  Working in the School of Geography, Louise’s research interests span migration and slavery; with a particular focus on discourses of ‘modern slavery’, unfree/forced labour and exploitative work among asylum seekers and refugees. Through this research focus, she has come to work with, and know, an inspiring range of colleagues working on migration issues, and broader social inequalities, from across our five social science leaning Faculties. In her LSSI Director role, she works to foster interdisciplinary research excellence and to enhance the reputation and impact of the social sciences at Leeds. She loves the opportunities this role affords her to work more closely with the community of social scientists at Leeds, together with LSSI’s fantastic Deputy Directors and professional team.   

Professor Louise Waite - My research highlights the extent of modern slavery and forced labour in the UK, and seeks to find ways of eradicating it by influencing policy makers #IWD2022

Our three Deputy Directors at the LSSI add a variety of academic research areas to the team.   

Dr Sahla Aroussi is Associate Professor Global Security Challenges in the School of Politics and International Studies.  Sahla is a feminist scholar undertaking innovative, interdisciplinary research using participatory and arts methods and underpinned by real world impact.  Sahla has conducted extensive research in Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA regions funded by prestigious funders such as UKRI, the Global Challenges Research Fund and The British Academy and NATO. Sahla is the co-director of the UKRI funded Global Network on Gender and Responding to violent extremism. Her other recent projects include Gender and Resistance to Violent Extremism in Kenya; and Performing Violence Engendering Change . Sahla has also conducted a number of research consultancies for various UN agencies and international organisations. 

Dr Sahla Aroussi I am a feminist scholar, research focused on ‘women, peace & security’.  I am currently working on the United Nations Women’s Consultancy on Women #IWD2022

Professor Gehan Selim is a Professor of Architecture in the School of Civil Engineering.  As well as her architectural experience, Gehan was a Fellow of the George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice (2016/17). Her interdisciplinary research bridges between Architecture, Urban Politics and Digital Heritage. She joined the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College in 2022. Gehan is leading several funded research projects with an extensive portfolio of empirical research in the global south.  She is currently leading The Living Museum and the CERAC flagship projects in Jordan funded by the AHRC. The Architects Registration Board published figures in 2020 show that of all registered architects (42,547) 71% at the end of 2019 were male and 29% female.  However the gender split of registered architects under 30, was 50/50, so with the influence of females in the profession such as Professor Selim, equality is being achieved!  

Professor Gehan Selim recipient of @UoL Women of Achievement Award, recognising the significant contributions and impact made across the university and beyond #IWD2022

Dr Kate Pangbourne is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Transport Studies.  Kate’s areas of interest include transport governance, transport policy, sustainable travel behaviour, persuasive technology, transport geography and smart cities and mobility. 

Having spent around a decade working for Scottish Natural Heritage, the governance body for the conservation of nature in Scotland, Kate has developed a distinctive personal research agenda in innovative research in travel behaviour and persuasive technology for behaviour change.  Adopting highly interdisciplinary approaches, drawing on concepts and methods used in sociology, political and transport geography and computing science, Kate adds another interesting strand to the team within the LSSI. 

Dr Kate Pangbourne I will use my public role as an expert to amplify the great work of women working in transport, where we are still under-represented #IWD2022

Our Professional Team 

The rest of our team are non-academic professionals who support and facilitate the activities of the Director and Deputy Directors of the Leeds Institute of Social Sciences.   


Cheryl Harris is our Institute Manager who oversees LSSI’s activities including administration and financial matters, Cheryl is involved with the management of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) which supports University of Leeds researchers in the social sciences to maximise the impact of their research on non-academic beneficiaries and to foster non-academic stakeholder engagement.  Cheryl also manages our PGR placement opportunities. 

Cheryl Harris I will challenge gender stereotypes, discrimination and bias #IWD2022

Alison Lundbeck is our Research & Innovation Development Manager.  In this role, Alison supports development of strategic research and innovation proposals and builds research capability by bringing together different expertise and perspectives.  Working with researchers across specialisms, Alison supports interdisciplinary collaborations across the university and with external partners to address complex challenges, securing investment to create new knowledge and translate research into societal and economic benefits.

Alison Lundbeck I understand the importance of inclusion and challenging biases if we are to address the problems our society faces #IWD2022

Our Engagement Officer, Camilla McCartney, aims to maximise the impact of social science research at the University of Leeds by supporting the development of policy, public and third sector-research and engagement activities.

On a day to day basis, this looks like connecting academics with and promoting various policy, third sector and public engagement opportunities, developing training and resources to build knowledge and skills around engaging with different stakeholders, and organising events to bring academic and non-academic communities together to raise the profile of social science and its significant role in framing novel interdisciplinary and cross-organisational research collaborations.

Camilla also plays a central role in facilitating and supporting institutional partnerships. Examples of work on a local level include: working with senior colleagues across University and Leeds City Council to develop and deliver a institution-wide plan to support research/policy collaborations and challenge the things that can make this difficult to do.  Camilla, has also co-led the development and delivery of a strategic plan to coordinate and enhance academic engagement across the universities in Leeds with the third sector, via Leeds ACTS.  On a regional level, Camilla has helped to connect academics with West Yorkshire Combined Authority to support development of research-informed policy activity. Additionally, she leads the organisation of Linking Leeds webinars which look to connect social science and interdisciplinary social science research with research priorities of national government departments.

Camilla McCartney - On International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate the achievement and contributions of women around the world, who have played a role in shaping history through policy and practice. #IDW2022

Our Communications and Graduate Co-ordinator, Gina Hardcastle, is currently on maternity leave, and so this role is being temporarily covered by Natalie Jackson.  A dual role, comprising the communications contact for LSSI, responsible for the social media, website and promotion of the activities being undertaken by the team.  We produce a monthly internal bulletin to promote opportunities and news, and a quarterly newsletter for an external audience. 

Natalie Jackson – I choose to celebrate the achievements of women, and empower my daughters to choose to be anything they want to in life! #IWD2022

The Graduate Co-ordinator area of this role involves management of the work between the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP), and The University of Leeds (UoL).  The WRDTP is a partnership, comprising of 7 universities that are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion; interdisciplinarity; and collaboration, and is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).    We have PhD students and Post-Doctoral Fellows at The University of Leeds, who are funded by the WRDTP.  There is also a unique one year MA Social Sciences (Interdisciplinary) and Natalie is the point of contact between the students/researchers, their academic leads and the WRDTP.   

Both Camilla and Natalie are involved in arranging events to promote the opportunities, research and initiatives being undertaken at the University of Leeds.