Professor Katherine Runswick-Cole

BSc(Hons) Open (Psych), MA (Hons), PGCE, PhD

School of Education

Chair in Education

Director of Research and Innovation

Photograph of Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole
Profile picture of Photograph of Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole
+44 114 222 8101

Full contact details

Professor Katherine Runswick-Cole
School of Education
Edgar Allen House
241 Glossop Rd
S10 2GW
Research interests

Katherine’s research is located in the field of critical disability studies. Critical disability studies aim to understand and challenge exclusionary and oppressive practices associated with disablism and consider the ways these intersect with other forms of marginalisation including hetero/sexism, racism, poverty and imperialism.

Much of her research has been carried out alongside disabled children and young people and their families and allies, and more recently, with people labelled with learning disabilities in a time of austerity.

She is also interested in the developing field of critical autism studies that seek to explore the ways in autism is produced and consumed in contemporary society and the effects this has on the lives of people who attract the label.

Her research draws on qualitative methods including narrative, arts-based methods and participatory approaches.

  • Life, Death, Disability and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest, Economic and Social Research Council (ES/P001041/1)  Dan Goodley (The University of Sheffield); Kirsty Liddiard; Katherine Runswick-Cole, The University of Sheffield (April, 2017 – April 2020).

    • This project uses arts-based methods to explore the hopes, dreams and aspirations of children and young people who are described as having life-limiting conditions.
  • Enacting Critical Disability Communities in Education, Social Science and Humanities Research Council Canada (SSHRC) Patty Douglas, University of Guelph (Canada); Carla Rice, University of Guelph (Canada); Katherine Runswick-Cole; Estee Klar, York University (Canada); Anne McGuire, University of Toronto (Canada); Gillian Parekh, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (Canada) (June, 2016-2018).
    • This project uses digital story-telling methods to explore meaning making in relation to ‘autism’ and ‘inclusion’ 
  • The meaning(s) of value: Measuring the Impact of Creative Activities upon children and young people with learning disabilities, BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants Katherine Runswick-Cole,. (May, 2016 – May, 2017).

    • This project explores the meanings of the value of art-based education for children with learning disabilities.

  • Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society, Economic and Social Research Council (June, 2013-June 2015) Goodley (Sheffield);Lawthom (MMU); Brandon (Northumbria) Johnson (Bristol); Katherine Runswick-Cole (June, 2013 – June, 2015)

    • This project works alongside people with learning disabilities to examine how their lives have been affected by on-going austerity in England.
  • Does Every Child Matter, post-Blair? The interconnections of disabled childhoods, Economic and Social Research Council (September, 2010 – Jan, 2012) PI: Goodley (MMU) Research Associate: Katherine Runswick-Cole (£255,000).
    • This project explored the impact of the changes in policy for children in health, education and social care during the New Labour government.

Journal articles

Teaching interests

Katherine teaches on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood; the MA Education, the MA Education and Psychology and the MSc Education and Psychology (Conversion) programmes as well as supervising students on the EdD and PhD programmes. She particularly welcomes doctoral supervisions in the areas of: critical disability studies; inclusive education and disabled children's childhood studies.

Professional activities and memberships
  • Katherine is a Visiting Research Fellow at London Southbank University.
  • She is a member of Learning Disability England Academics