Muna Abdi

Supervisor: Professor Tom Billington, School of Education, University of Sheffield


2010: BA Educational Research (with TESOL), First Class, Sheffield Hallam University
2012: MA Educational Research, Distinction, University of Sheffield



Thesis Title: ‘Changing identities in turbulent times: Exploring four young Somali men's experiences of identity and belonging’


This ESRC funded research seeks to explore politics of identity and belonging through the use of self- representing narratives. It provides an account of the everyday lived experiences of four young Somali men in Sheffield and the ways in which they (re)construct and (re)negotiate their multiple identities in different social, cultural and educational spaces. A participatory research approach was adopted and the participants were invited to create self- representing artefacts that were not only data within themselves but also acted as tools to facilitate reflective conversations. The artefacts and reflective conversations created the structure of the narratives. This innovative methodology was adopted to align with the cultural and religious values of participants and myself as well as to disturb the power balance in favour of the participants to ensure that the research was done with and not on them. The research adopts a decolonising approach that seeks to blur disciplinary lines in order to highlight the interconnectedness of all we do and all we are.

The research has since been disseminated through community workshops, training workshops for staff in a local FE college and publication through a journal paper.

Teaching and Other academic activities

I am currently a graduate teaching associate at the School of Education and have lectured on the BA, MA and EdD level courses. I have also been a seminar tutor on the BA and MA and have supervised and marked assignments and MA dissertations.

I also:

  • Set up the Critical Race and Ethnicities Network (CREN)
  • Set up and coordinate the PGR critical writing group
  • Part of the steering group for ‘Collaborative writing in the Academy’ a sub- group of the Centre for the study of Literacies
  • A member of the Centre for the Study of the Human, Centre for the study of Literacies, and Centre for Childhood and Youth (CSCY)


  • North of England Education conference (16-18th January 2013) – Presented and helped organise
  • ‘Exploring Somali fatherhood: A focus group with six Somali fathers in Sheffield’

  • ‘Exploring Fatherhood’ conference (27th March 2013) - Organised/Presented
  • ‘Changing concepts of Somali fatherhood: A study into the experiences of Somali fathers in Sheffield’

  • Departmental Student conference (19-20th June 2013) - Presented
  • ‘Doing postcolonial narrative research: the research design’

  • [Huddersfield] Troubling Narratives: Identity Troubles (19-20th June 2014) - Presented
  • ‘Exploring the identity related experiences of young Somali men in Sheffield’

  • Departmental Student conference (2nd-3rd June 2014) - Presented
  • ‘Narrative research: challenges and triumphs’

  • Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth (CSCY) International conference: Researching children’s everyday lives (1st-3rd July, 2014) - Presented
  • ‘Telling stories and sharing lives: researched into the everyday lived experience of young Somali men in Sheffield’

  • Normalcy Conference (7-8th July 2014) - Presented
  • ‘Double- consciousness: Identities through self - represented narratives’

  • Critical Methodologies Symposium (13th February 2015) - Organised
  • Departmental Student conference (3rd June 2015) - Presented
  • ‘Whose story is it to tell? The challenge of re-presenting narratives of self’

  • Academia and Affect conference (4th June 2015) - Presented
  • ‘“I did not know it would leave me changed”: The discomfort of writing and reflecting upon participant narratives’

  • Critical Race and Ethnicities (CREN) conference (19th June 2015) - Organised
  • Blackness in Britain conference (30th-31st October 2015) - Presented
  • ‘Interpellated Blackness and imposed identities: learning to be invisible’

  • Departmental ‘Methodologies in practice’ symposium (4th March 2016) - Organised


Abdi. M (2014) Exploring understandings of ‘Fatherhood’ as a concept: Focus group with six Somali fathers: Chapter in SAGE Research Methods Cases.

Abdi, M.A. (2015) Performing Blackness: Disrupting 'race' in the classroom. Educational and Child Psychology, 32 (2). ISSN 0267-1611

Book reviews:

Rugg, G., Petre, M. (2015) ‘The unwritten rules of PhD research (second edition). London: Open University Press

Kuby, C. R. (2015) Critical literacy in the early childhood classroom: unpacking histories, unlearning privilege

Links to other web profiles

Twitter: @Muna_Abdi_PhD