Professor Karen Henwood BSc, PhD (Bristol)

Professor of Social Sciences

+44(0) 29 2087 4678
+44(0) 29 2087 4175
2.29, Glamorgan Building

I am a social psychologist by training and have worked at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences since 2006. My main research areas span the social science of risk (environment and personal lives) and identity studies. I am a qualitative research specialist.


I am interested in supervising doctoral students who have a keen interest in contemporary life practices, how they are imbued with cultural meanings and values, and have implications for identity, social and personal relationships and everyday ways of living with risk.

I encourage the use of biographical, generational and historical lenses as these can help to create more dynamic, temporal understandings of how people live with socio-cultural and environmental change. Students will approach their inquiries as social scientists with particular strengths in qualitative research methodologies and methods – established and novel.

Professional memberships

British Psychology Society (Associate Member)

Previous academic positions

  • University of East Anglia (1999-2005,
  • Bangor University (1995-1999),
  • Brunel University (1989-1995),
  • Bristol University (RA position, 1984-1989)

Social Science Research Methods (masters level) - qualitative methods (SIT700)

In my research I investigate ways of living in a changing world, in particular, how environmental and socio-cultural change has implications for understanding questions of identity and risk in late modernity. I also have extensive interests in interpretive social research methodologies, methods and practices, and in qualitative longitudinal and temporal methods for studying changes in and through time. Recently, I have been in developing a number of arts-social science collaborations in the sustainability, climate change, and risk fields. My work has involved using visual and narrative methods to generate intriguing research encounters, and I have led on developing and showing a three day public exhibition "A Sense of Energy". The latter used multimodal and multisensory social science data, materials, artefacts, ideas and methods to create unique public-science engagement opportunities. The policy relevance of my work is in the domains of : family policy, public understandings of nuclear risk, and low carbon energy transitions.