Helen Hanna
  • Manchester Institute of Education, Room A6.8, Ellen Wilkinson Building, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I am a Lecturer specialising in International Education at the University of Manchester, with over 10 years of professional experience in higher education in the UK and internationally.

I am passionate about primary and secondary school citizenship education, education rights, and educational inclusion, particularly of migrant learners and those from racial, ethnic and cultural minorities, and in contexts affected by conflict and social unrest. I am also passionate about using creative research methods, such as picturebooks, photography and film-making. I am especially interested in how we can make learning environments inclusive of a range of identities and perspectives, including those that are considered to be sensitive or controversial, and how students and teachers can be involved in creating such environments.

Research and Scholarship

I have completed funded research in England, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Israel, Canada, Kenya, Hong Kong and Thailand. I have worked as an academic in the UK, Hong Kong, Mainland China and Thailand, and as a teacher in Russia. I regularly present at international conferences and I have written and peer reviewed for publications including Compare, Children’s Geographies, Literacy and BERA Research Intelligence. I have strong research networks internationally, as the Co-convenor for the British Education Research Association Special Interest Group on Comparative and International Education and a founding member of the International Association for Human Rights Education. Finally, I am an editor of the Human Rights Education Review and a Editorial Board Member of Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education.

Teaching and Supervision

I also love teaching and student supervision. I am committed to inclusive, student-centred and rights-respecting teaching and supervision in universities internationally. I have extensive experience as a programme leader and a module leader and designer, and a student research supervisor, as well as a personal tutor/academic advisor to students from a diverse range of backgrounds. I have taught across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the field of education in the UK and overseas. At University of Manchester, I co-teach large modules on the MA International Education that focus on research methods, concepts and practices in international education, and equality, diversity and inclusion, largely designing my own materials and drawing on my own research. I am also an external examiner for PhD and Masters programmes in the UK and overseas.

I very much welcome doctoral students who are interested in taking a critical and politically-aware approach to my research interests. If you would like to study towards a PhD with me, please email me directly and also consult the Faculty of Humanities website for information on how to write a PhD proposal and apply to Manchester, and where to look for funding for your studies.


Additionally, I work as an education research and training consultant. This work has included commissions to design and deliver training in writing for publication for displaced scholars, and for displaced women in accessing the UK job market for the non-profit London Institute of Social Studies. It has also involved designing and delivering training in publishing and presenting at international conferences for early career researchers in South-east Asia, and research consultancy on English language teaching projects for British Council Thailand. Please contact me for more information on how to hire me as a consultant through University of Manchester.


I can offer the following expertise in research, PhD supervision, and consultancy/training:

Expertise in topics: citizenship education, political/national education, migration and education, primary education, secondary education, education rights, human rights education, educational activism/protest, education in countries affected by conflict or social unrest.

Expertise in methods: qualitative methods, creative methods, participatory methods, picturebooks/graphic novels, photography, film-making

Expertise in training: writing for publication, presenting at conferences, early career researcher training, designing research grant proposals, inclusive teaching in higher education, accessing the academic job market, employability in the UK, teacher training for working with migrant learners and their parents

Expertise in countries and contexts: Thailand, Hong Kong, China, South Africa, Kenya, Israel, England, Northern Ireland


Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Sub-theme Co-convenor ('Education, conflict and displacement within and across borders'), British Association for International and Comparative Education Conference 2024. 2023—ongoing.

Founding Member and Steering Committee Member, International Association of Human Rights Education. 2023—ongoing.

Co-convenor of Special Interest Group on Comparative and International Education, British Education Research Association. 2022—ongoing.

Editorial Board Member, Compare. 2022—ongoing.

Editor, Human Rights Education Review. 2021—ongoing.

International Development Peer Review College member, UK Research and Innovation. 2018—ongoing.

Churchill Fellow. 2017—ongoing.

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy: 2015—ongoing.

Social responsibility

Member of the Board of Governors, Little London Community Primary School, Leeds: 2022-present

Supervision information

I currently supervise the following PhD researchers:

Yaqiao Liu, Thesis title: Exploring Global Citizenship Education in Study Abroad Programs in the Internationalization of Higher Education in China (University of Manchester)

Ruirui Liu, Thesis title: Developing Global Citizen Identity in the Context of Higher Education Internationalization: An Empirical Study of International
Students’ Experience of Global Citizenship Education in China (University of Manchester)

Elif Erguvan, Thesis title: Career Development Strategies: A Conceptual Framework for Lifelong Learning Policies at Georgian Universities (International Black Sea University, Georgia)


Completed PhD research projects:

Sizhuo Yang, Thesis title: Cultural Responsiveness in Postgraduate Students of an English Teacher Education Program in China (Mahidol University, Thailand)

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 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, Leeds Trinity University

Award Date: 1 Sept 2017

Doctor of Education, Citizenship education in Northern Ireland and Israel within an educational rights framework, Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 4 Jul 2014

Master of Divinity, Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 1 Dec 2010

Master of Arts, Languages (Interpreting and Translating) - French and Russian, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

Award Date: 1 Jul 2004

External positions

External examiner (PhD thesis), The University of Sheffield

Feb 2024 → …

External Examiner (MA Education), University of Greenwich

2024 → …

External Examiner (MA Education), University of Teesside

2024 → …

External PhD supervisor, International Black Sea University

External PhD supervisor, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University

External PhD examiner, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Mahidol University

Areas of expertise

  • L Education (General)
  • citizenship education
  • migration
  • education rights
  • freedom of speech
  • creative research methods
  • activism
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Hong Kong
  • England
  • China
  • Israel-Palestine conflict
  • Protest
  • Kenya
  • Northern Ireland
  • Social Studies
  • Primary education
  • Secondary education
  • Controversial issues


Dive into the research topics where Helen Hanna is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or