Sue Heath

Sue Heath


  • Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research, Sociology
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Personal profile


Sue Heath is a Professor of Sociology and, since September 2020, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research in the Faculty of Humanities. She is a former co-director of the Morgan Centre for Research into Everyday Lives and was Deputy Associate Dean for Postgraduate Research between 2018 and 2020. Sue joined the University of Manchester in September 2010, having previously worked at the University of Southampton since 1998, where she was co-director of two ESRC Research Centres: the National Centre for Research Methods and the Centre for Population Change. Sue started her lecturing career in the Sociology Department at Manchester in the mid-1990s, and before that she worked as a researcher in various posts around the North West. Sue was an undergraduate at the University of Bristol, and studied for her PhD at Lancaster University. She is an Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and served on the Board of Trustees of the National Centre for Social Research between November 2017 and November 2022.

Research interests

Sue Heath’s main research interests revolve around the themes of housing, home and everyday domesticity, with a particular focus on practices of home-making and cultures of everyday life in shared living arrangements, and the housing pathways and intergenerational dependencies of ‘Generation Rent'.

Sue led the ESRC-funded project 'Under the same roof: the everyday relational practices of contemporary communal living', along with Gemma Edwards, Katherine Davies and Rachel Scicluna. Focusing on sharers of all ages living in a wide variety of shared domestic contexts, the research demonstrated how personal relationships provide the key to whether such arrangements flourish or falter. In turn, issues such as the organisation of household consumption, considerations of tenure, perceptions of the cultural significance of sharing at different points in the lifecourse, the use of domestic spaces and an appreciation of their sensory atmospheres, as well as the daily temporal routines of co-residents, all have a profound impact upon personal relationships and wider understandings of home and privacy. These themes are discussed in our book 'Shared Housing, Shared Lives: Everyday Experiences across the Lifecourse' (Routledge, 2018), as well as in other project publications.

Sue's interest in these issues have recently taken a historical turn, as in 2021 she was awarded pilot funding from the John Rylands Research Institute and Library to explore the University's own archival materials relating to student lodging arrangements ('digs') from the 1930s to the late 1960s. The archives are providing some fascinating insights into concerns during this period about the suitability of different living arrangements for students, and are particularly revealing of anxieties linked to students' gender and nationality.

Throughout her career, Sue has also had strong methodological interests, with a particular focus on research ethics and creative qualitative methods. In 2015/16, Sue was the academic lead in a year-long collaboration between the Morgan Centre and Lynne Chapman, a Sheffield-based artist and 'Urban Sketcher'. As a Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence, Lynne created a visual record of everyday life in the Morgan Centre, whilst together Lynne, Sue and other Morgan Centre members explored the potential of observational sketching as a social science research tool. A journal article on the lessons we learnt from the residency is located here, and Sue and Lynne also have a chapter on sketching in the edited collection 'Mundane Methods'.

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 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Applied Social Science and Educational Research, Lancaster University


Award Date: 1 Nov 1994

Bachelor of Science, Social Administration, University of Bristol


Award Date: 1 Jul 1987

External positions

Trustee, National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)



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