Personal profile


Gillian studied social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies before completing her Master's and PhD degree in the Social Anthropology of Children and Child Development in the Centre for Child-Focused Anthropological Research (CFAR) at Brunel University. In 2006, Gillian published an ethnographic monograph, entitled Educational Failure and Working Class White Children in Britain, based on her PhD research about the post-industrial docklands of Southeast London. The book generated national debate about the position of the white working classes in Britain, and Gillian went on to publish further work about the relationship between social class, race, ethnicity and multiculturalism in Britain. 

Gillian held a Research Council UK Fellowship from 2007-2012 in the Centre for the Study of Social and Economic Change (CRESC), at Manchester, and undertook a long-term ethnographic study of the planning and delivery of the Olympic Legacy in the post-industrial East End of London. Gillian has now published a new ethnographic monograph based on this research.

Research interests

Specific research interests:

Keywords: Post-industrial Britain; social class and gender; education and learning; children, childhood and youth; cities and regeneration; multiculturalism; race; personhood; embodiment and phenomenology.

London's Olympic Legacy.

Gillian's most recent research project explored the planning and delivery of London's Olympic legacy. She was the first researcher to ever gain behind-the-secenes access to an Olympic planning operation. In 2016, Gillian published an ethnograhic monograph about this research entitled London's Olympic Legacy: the inside track. The book provides a critical analysis of the planning process, which transformed the heart of the post-industrial East End of London through the growth of a new piece of city in the Lower Lea Valley, on the land of the Olympic Park. 


Further information

PhD Students:

Marisol Verdugo Paiva - Imagining the Future: youth, class and sexuality in Conception, Chile

Rodrigo Calvet - Becoming a Subject in the Favelas of Rio de Janiero, Brazil

Alexandra Albert - Citizen Social Science and the Mass Observation Survey

Alexander Parkinson - Sustainable Investments in the Financial Services Sector

Sofia Druker - Education and Aymara Identity in Chile 

Ana Paul Silva - Brazilian Cleaners in London

Camilla Morelli - Indigenous Childhood in Peruvian Amazonia - completed 2014

Ana Raissa Trinidad - Indigenous Education in the Philippines - completed January 2013

Laura Luna – Multicultural Education in Moss Side, Manchester - completed July 2010



Current Teaching: 2016/17

SOAN 30371 The Anthropology of Childhood and Education

SOAN 20822 Political and Economic Anthropology







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 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute
  • Manchester Environmental Research Institute
  • Creative Manchester


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