Professor Karen Henwood

External partner

Co-Investigator, Cardiff University

A photo of Karen Henwood
Profile picture of A photo of Karen Henwood

Karen is a Professor in the School of Social Sciences and Member of the Understanding Risk Research Group Cardiff University. She has a First Class Honours Degree (BSc) and PhD in Social Psychology (Bristol) and has previously held academic posts at Brunel University, Bangor University, and the University of East Anglia.

She has expertise in interpretive social science, specialising in experiential (qualitative longitudinal/temporal and psycho-social) approaches to environmental/landscape/infrastructure change and living with risk in changing times. Published work includes multimodal, innovative methodologies for narrative elicitation; analysis of societal, ecological and psychosocial narratives; deliberative, participatory and reflective methods for elucidating socio-technical transitions and transformative interventions. 

She was Cardiff lead for ESRC ‘Changing Lives and Times: Relationships and Identities Across the Life-course’ (2007- 2012), led the ESRC/EPSRC ‘Energy Biographies’ project (2010-2016) under the Energy and Communities joint venture, and was P-I for the AHRC network ‘Homing in: Sensing, sense-making and sustainable place-making’ - an arts/social sciences collaboration (2013- 2014). 

Recently (with Nick Pidgeon) she completed two major multimethod/multimodal qualitative case studies on the Welsh coast investigating saltmarshes as valuable, vulnerable habitats, within NERC’s Valuing Nature Programme (2016-2020).

Currently, her externally funded projects include social sciences work packages within Flexis (Flexible, Integrated Energy Systems - a consortium researching public responses to energy system change) and Idric (UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre: studying public responses to industrial strategy in insecure times). She is also Co-I on the EPSRC project ‘Network headroom, engineering upgrades and public acceptance (NEUPA): Connecting engineering for heat system change to consumers and citizens’. These studies provide a broad-based socio-technical platform for working as part of the GGR-ERW Demonstrator project. 

Her peer review publications span disciplinary scholarship (eg British Journal of Social Psychology); specialist methodology journals (eg International Journal of Social Research Methodologies), multi-disciplinary journals e.g. Health, Risk and Society, Environmental Values, Science, Technology and Human Values); policy research (Environmental Policy, Environmental Science and Policy); and policy advisory reports (Foresight strategy).

She was consultant to the ESRC’s strategic initiative ‘Qualitative Resources for Social Research’ (2003) and editor of the journal ‘Qualitative Research’ (2014-2019).