Our People

  • A pile of pronoun badges indicating diversity
  • A meeting of staff showing diversity of cultural backgrounds
  • Teal-coloured lanyards from the Eleanor Glanville Centre
  • A close up of a pronoun badge saying she, her, hers

The Institute hosts an interdisciplinary mix of academics, practitioners and professional services staff. We have a growing membership of affiliated researchers and professional services staff from across the University, increasing collaboration and impact across all Colleges and professional services areas

Prof Belinda Colston, University Strategic Lead for EDI and Founding Director, Eleanor Glanville Institute

Prof Belinda Colston

University Strategic Lead for EDI and Founding Director, Eleanor Glanville Institute

Belinda is the University's Strategic Lead for EDI and the Founding Director of the Eleanor Glanville Institute. She specialises in the development and evaluation of EDI strategies and interventions, and their impact across the sector. Belinda was appointed the strategic lead for gender equality at the University in 2012, assessing best practice, and developing a range of sector-leading initiatives for the support and sustained career development of female academics in STEMM disciplines. She led the University to its first Athena Swan award in 2014, and to its Race Equality Charter award in 2019. Her strategic leadership role now extends across a full EDI remit.

With a background in nuclear chemistry/physics and materials, Belinda is an established research leader, facilitator of large multi-centre and multi-disciplinary collaborative research projects, and an experienced team builder. She is the Director of the EPSRC ASPIRE programme, which is delivering a web-based platform for building effective EDI strategies towards inclusive environments, and measuring the success (impact) of inclusion initiatives in terms of changing attitudes and behaviours. 

Pronouns: She/Her

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Prof Abigail Powell, Director of Research

Prof Abigail Powell

Director of Research

Abigail is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Lincoln (UK), and Director of Research within the Eleanor Glanville Institute.

Abigail’s research is underpinned by her passion for social justice and equality. Abigail is an expert in the gender division of labour (in the home and workplace), with a particular focus on gender in male dominated occupations; youth studies; financial wellbeing and complex evaluation and impact measurement.

Abigail has published widely in sociology, social policy, management and industrial relations journals, as well as translating research findings for a range of audiences, including academics, policy-makers and the public. Abigail has attracted research income over AUD$5million working with, and delivering research for government, not-for-profits and industry, including for example National Australia Bank (NAB), Macquarie Group Foundation, Homelessness NSW, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, Good Shepherd Microfinance, the Paul Ramsay Foundation and yourtown. Abigail has strong leadership and relationship management skills and is an experienced project manager and mentor. Abigail is a mixed method researcher with expertise in quantitative and qualitative research methods and analysis.

Abigail is also an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) UNSW Sydney and has previously held positions at UNSW Sydney and Loughborough University. 

Pronouns: She/Her

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Alison Mitchell, Director of Inclusive Development

Alison Mitchell

Director of Inclusive Development

Alison is an internationally recognised consultant working with senior executives, funders and research leaders in organisational capacity building, transformational change and talent development with a focus on equality, diversity and inclusion in different research cultural contexts. She holds professional qualifications in management and executive coaching and enjoys developing leaders, individuals and teams, encouraging a systems approach to cultural change. Throughout her career, she has worked at senior level with a wide spectrum of education, business and government agencies, maintaining a strong commitment to enhancing opportunities for all in education, research, science and innovation.

Following a successful career in different universities, recognised as a Fellow of the Association of University Administrators, Alison became Director of Development for Vitae/CRAC, a non-profit educational charity, leading major national programmes for UK Research Councils and Funders.  The programmes involved accelerating the rise of researcher developers as a professional group, building networks for collaboration, and co-creating innovative training approaches and resources. The outcomes established researcher development in UK universities and positioned the UK as world leading in progressive professional development for researchers at all career stages.  Taking an international perspective on developing the next generation of researchers to meet global challenges, Alison has facilitated institutional capacity building in Africa, Australasia, South East Asia, North America, and Europe, working with research leaders and institutional champions, regional and national bodies, and research funders. 

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Prof Hanya Pielichaty, Director of Student Inclusion

Prof Hanya Pielichaty

Director of Student Inclusion

Hanya is Professor of Sport, Gender and Inclusive Education within College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Lincoln, and holds subject specialisms in sports business management, project management and the sociology of sport. Hanya has utilised her background as a former footballer to shape and curate her research journey as an expert in gender and equality. Her research on girls’ and women’s football explores the complexities of family relationships and gender identities formed, consolidated and challenged within the patriarchal boundaries of British football. A focus on gender justice features heavily in Hanya’s published work covering sport and higher education whereby research is used to frame and catalyse social change across organisations. In both scholarship and teaching, Hanya places particular emphasis on the importance of everyday experiences, voice and empowerment. The dismantling of power relations in research and educational practice is pioneered by Hanya who challenges conventional methodological approaches to knowledge acquisition.

Hanya champions inclusivity through academic leadership and has managed several student-led projects that have engaged with wider members of the community. Her research, as Director of Student Inclusion, seeks to platform student voice and lead an agenda to deconstruct the meaning and praxis of ‘othering’ in higher education. Gender polarised educational spaces and practices will be of particular significance in tackling inequalities. 

Pronouns: She/Her

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Dr Xiaotong Zhu, Senior Lecturer

Dr Xiaotong Zhu

Senior Lecturer

Xiaotong’s research interests include assessment and feedback in HE, the experience and success of international students in UK HE, and student self-regulation. She is currently leading the cross-institution, interdisciplinary Lincoln Equality of Attainment Project (LEAP). LEAP seeks to use a research-informed, evidence-based approach to addressing equality gaps in the student experience and student success in Higher Education (HE) with a primary focus on teaching and learning contexts. As part of her leadership role for LEAP, Xiaotong established, and is Chair of, the Student Success Champion Network, consisting of academic representatives from all Schools in the institution, and a student advisory group with an aim to empowering the student voice.  With expertise in evidence production and evaluation, Xiaotong has a track record of playing strong management and leadership roles in several external research projects and has exemplary use of mixed methods. She has supervised a number of undergraduate student-led research projects on understanding degree attainment gaps from the HE transitions and assessment perspectives. She has been supervising PhD research since 2021. 

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Dr Victoria Araj, Lecturer in EDI

Dr Victoria Araj

Lecturer in EDI

Victoria is a lecturer in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) here at the Eleanor Glanville Institute. She is currently part of a team developing Micro-credentials in EDI at the Institute. Previously, she was a full-time Post-doctoral Researcher with the Reimagining Lincolnshire project at the University of Lincoln, which is led by Professor Heather Hughes. This public history project was initiated at the University in late 2020 and seeks to uncover diverse and marginalised histories from Lincolnshire. Victoria continues to contribute to the Reimagining Lincolnshire project.  

Prior to her role at the University of Lincoln, she was a visiting Marie Curie Fellow in Sustainable Peacebuilding at Sabanci University in Istanbul and with the European Commission. She also spent time as a career mentor with the Women in International Affairs Network. Outside academia Victoria has consulted for Carnegie Middle East Center, Cambridge Centre for Palestine Studies, Lincolnshire County Council’s Working Group in Anti-Racist Practice and also with a number of UK and Turkey-based refugee and peace-education charities. 

Victoria holds a PhD in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford and a Masters and BA in Economics and International Development with a specialism in Poverty, Conflict, and Reconstruction from the University of Manchester. 

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Dr Nicole Fielding, Equalities Project Manager

Dr Nicole Fielding

Equalities Project Manager

Nicole has been at the University since 2007, initially as a postgraduate student, and then joining the University as a member of staff in 2012. She is responsible for managing many of the equality initiatives run through the Centre, including coordinating our Athena Swan activities, and developing a series of EDI-related microcredentials. With a PhD in heritage science, Nicole is a co-founder of the Newton Academy – the Science Club for Girls, and is a keen advocate of promoting early science engagement through hands-on activities that are both challenging and fun. 

Pronouns: She/Her

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Sue Liburd MBE, Consulting Partner

Sue Liburd MBE

Consulting Partner

Sue champions diversity and inclusion in all that she does, promoting the importance and understanding of intersectionality and equality as a driver for business success. She was awarded an MBE in 2016 in recognition for her services to Business, Charities and Voluntary organisations. This year, she was named among the HERoes 100 Women Executives 2020.

Sue is Deputy Chair and BAME Lead for the NHS England Armed Forces Public Patient Voice (PPV) Advisory Group, Member of the Seacole Group (national BAME NHSE NEDs Group), Council Member of the Memorial Gates, Founding member of the Black Leaders Forum, and Chair of the Black Inclusion Week Task Force. 

Pronouns: She/Her

Dr Robert Bolton, Research Associate

Dr Robert Bolton

Research Associate

Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) in 2014 and a PhD in Applied Social Studies in 2018 from University College Cork, Ireland. In 2022 he completed a Certificate in Counselling Skills from Munster Technological University, Ireland.

Robert’s research interests and expertise lie in the area of masculinities and gender-based violence and has published in well regarded and international journals in these areas. From 2019 to 2023 Robert worked on the multicountry PositivMasc project which explored how violence against women can be addressed in the context of men and masculinities.

Robert’s sociological approach lies within the C. Wright Mills tradition, aiming to understand the subjective experiences of those effected by the topic at hand, honouring individual’s unique biographies in the context of a larger sociological framework. Yet Robert also crosses disciplinary boundaries for example, he co-guest edited the October 2022 issue of Social Policy and Society on welfare stigma.

 Robert’s methodological background lies in qualitative research, using an ethnographic method in his PhD to explore how young men (aged 12-18) performed and negotiated masculinities. Robert also has experience in discourse analysis and more recently has developed expertise in Group Concept Mapping methodology, which is a mixed methods participatory approach to developing concrete strategies to address problems. In this regard, Robert is particularly interested in connecting theory and research to practice and policy.

Pronouns: He/Him

Dr Víctor Ávila Torres, Research Associate

Dr Víctor Ávila Torres

Research Associate

Víctor's main research focuses on digital technologies and cultural consumption, from the user’s perspective. He has over 10 years of experience of teaching in diverse environments on diverse topics on media studies, STS and Sociology. He has also worked as a practitioner – administrator of public universities in Mexico coordinating activities to promote health, culture, and sports with an inclusive approach. In his practice, he has contributed to starting numerous initiatives to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

Before joining the EGI, Víctor was lecturer in Social Media and Sociology at the University of York, in which he promoted strategies to support International Students, where he also got his PhD in 2020. He has also worked as Research Intern for the project Voices in Partnership–Interactional practices of decision-making during childbirth, led by Professor Ellen Annandale, and for the Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU) as convenor for events, seminars and PhD students.

Víctor has worked professionally for media production, as well as public relations for public institutions in Mexico. He also participated twice as a senior analyst in one of the biggest media monitoring projects conducted around local elections in Mexico City with the purpose of ensuring equality in coverage for all the candidates and parties. The project was commissioned by Mexico City’s Electoral Council (IEDF) to Universidad Iberoamericana, led by Professor Manuel Alejandro Guerrero.

Alongside his work at the EGI, Víctor is currently associate editor and book review editor for the journal Information, Communication and Society.

Pronouns: He/Him/Él

Megan Walker, Research Associate

Megan Walker

Research Associate

Megan joined the EGI in 2022 as a Research Associate. She is currently completing her PhD in the College of Arts. Her research project is a medical humanities thesis on the subject of narrative representations of intersex individuals. Megan explores intersex narratives in a range of texts including medical texts, patient case histories, fiction, life-writing, televisual series and the media with the aim of establishing how intersex representations and cultural in/visibility has changed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Megan has a keen interest in public engagement, interdisciplinary research and collaboration to further develop intersex knowledge, visibility and acceptance in academia and beyond.  

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Rhianne-Ebony Sterling-Morris, Research Assistant

Rhianne-Ebony Sterling-Morris

Research Assistant

Rhianne obtained both her BSc and MSc at the University of Lincoln in Psychology and Psychological research methods before becoming a member of staff in 2019. Her main focus has been social research investigating areas of equality diversity and inclusion with a specific focus on ethnicity and intersectionality. Since joining the university, Rhianne has been involved in a number of high-profile projects focussing on student engagement and equality, diversity and inclusion. Rhianne also co-chairs the People of Colour (POC) staff support network. Rhianne is the Senior LEAP Research Officer and provides operational support on the Lincoln Equality of Attainment Project (LEAP) working alongside Xiaotong Zhu to develop and introduce the Lincoln Education Toolkit for Student Success (LETSS). 

Pronouns: She/Her

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Tilly Varrall, Research Assistant

Tilly Varrall

Research Assistant

Tilly joined the team in May 2023. She has a BA in History and Politics from The University of Sheffield and is currently studying for her MA in Political Theory. Her research so far has centred mainly around gender and queer theory, focusing on the importance of visual politics and especially popular culture in shaping the perception and lived experience of the queer community. Her undergraduate politics dissertation researched lesbophobia and lesbian erasure in RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Having an interdisciplinary background, Tilly has also conducted research on the history of emotions and completed an undergraduate history dissertation looking at the importance of the mother-son bond in maintaining soldiers’ emotional wellbeing during World War One. From this she has experience in content analysis and archival research. She is currently completing her postgraduate thesis, which will look at the politics of queer coded villains in Disney movies aimed at young audiences.

Pronouns: she/her

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Joy Knight, Senior Administrator / PA

Joy Knight

Senior Administrator / PA

01522 886340

Joy has worked at the University since 2008. She has previously worked in Secretariat and the College of Arts (now CoASHH), before joining EGI in November 2022.  Joy completed her undergraduate degree and MA in English Studies at the university.  Joy has a keen interest in EDI and is the UNISON Branch Chair. 

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Dr Claire Pike, Academic Subject Librarian

Dr Claire Pike

Academic Subject Librarian

Claire is an Academic Subject Librarian who, alongside the Eleanor Glanville Institute, supports staff and students in the Lincoln Medical School and the School of Health and Social Care. She has worked at the University of Lincoln Library since 2018, having previously worked within academic publishing and education.

Claire holds a PhD in Historical Museology from Newcastle University and a PGDE from the University of Glasgow. She is currently studying for an MA in Library and Information Studies Management at the University of Sheffield.

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