Elizabeth Ackerley

Elizabeth Ackerley


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Personal profile


I have recently completed a CASE PhD studentship exploring young people’s activism in times of austerity. My research was carried out in collaboration with RECLAIM, a Manchester-based youth engagement organisation committed to amplifying the voices of working class young people. Using online and offline ethnographic and participatory methods such as activity booklets and biographical mapping, my research looked at: how young people understand, describe and engage in activism; the impact early political education has on young people across the life-course; and how a small youth charity navigates a challenging and changeable socio-economic context.

I am currently continuing to think about austerity and young people's lives in my role as a research associate on the Austerity and Altered Life-Courses project. This project seeks to explore the socio-political ruptures young people have experienced as a result of austerity policies (including interconnected impacts on family life, employment opportunities, and housing arrangements). This work is focussed on three European devolved or autonomous regions: Greater Manchester (UK), Barcelona Province (Catalonia, Spain) and Sardinia (Italy). I lead on the fieldwork in Sardinia, working in partnership with the Università degli Studi di Cagliari, and youth engagement voluntary organisation Associazione TDM 2000 ODV (Organizzazione Di Volontariato).

Prior to joining the University of Manchester I worked as an administrative and communications intern at the MsUnderstood Partnership and as a Research Assistant at the Safer Young Lives Research Centre at the University of Bedfordshire. Throughout this time my work focussed on developing creative, meaningful and ethical ways of involving children and young people in research into sexual violence and related forms of harm. 

Further information

I am a member of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives, and the Cities, Politics, Economies Research Group, both at the University of Manchester. 

I am an Ordinary Committee Member for the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (RGS-IBG).

Supervision information

PhD title: 'Young people's activism in times of austerity: an ethnographic and participatory study'

Supervised by Drs. Sarah Marie Hall, Kevin Ward, Laura Pottinger (University of Manchester), and Dr Bethan Evans (University of Liverpool)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Young people’s activism in times of austerity: an ethnographic and participatory study

20 Sep 201811 Aug 2022

Award Date: 11 Aug 2022

Master of Science, Sociological Research, The University of Manchester

Sep 2017Sep 2018

Award Date: 11 Dec 2018

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy , Higher Education Academy (Formerly Known As Learning & Teaching Support Network)

Award Date: 9 Aug 2017

Bachelor of Arts, French and Italian, University of Exeter

Sep 2010Jul 2014

Award Date: 14 Jul 2014


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