I am Director of Social Research & Practice and Education Ltd. and Associate Professor at University College London. I am currently Head of Research Ethics and Integrity at IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society, I lead the module “Disabilities, Chronic Illnesses and Neurodivergences in Contemporary Society” and I am a member of the UCL Academic Board, the board’s Education Committee and the UCL Library Committee. Most recently, I worked as academic head of learning and teaching in my department, as module leader for the modules “Literacy, Language and Communication” and “Researching Education and Society: Qualitative Methods”, and as programme leader, lecturer and tutor on a secondary teacher education programme.
I was awarded my PhD in Sociology at the University of Kent for my thesis “The ‘I’ in fibromyalgia: the construction of academic identity under the influence of fibromyalgia”. I hold the Master of Teaching from the Institute of Education, and a Magister der Philosophie in Anglistics & Americanistics and French from the University of Vienna, Austria. I also hold the Postgraduate Certifcate in Higher Education and Master in High Education from the University of Kent and the postgraduate IoLET Diploma in Translation. I am a Fellow as well as Senior Fellow of Advance HE (formerly HEA), a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor and in 2022 I was inducted as a Fellow to the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).
After my first degree I worked as a secondary teacher of modern foreign languages and taught English and French in Austria and German and French in the UK. Having gained several years of practical experience in the classroom I made the move from secondary to higher education.
I am a social researcher and author with special expertise in social research practice. I focus on the development and pragmatics of research methods and approaches for data analysis as well as dissemination. I conceptualise my work as sitting on the cusp of practice/teaching/research, thereby emphasising that each area of expertise intersects with and impacts on another. My exploration of research paradigms, data collection methods, and data analysis therefore recognises the researchers’ interactions with the field of study, the research participants, the research contexts, and settings, as well as the variety of practices involved in developing understanding and generating knowledge through thinking-doing-being.
In that sense, my creative practices as a fiction writer and poet as well as my activist work in response to, on the back of and as research represent an extension of my conceptualisation of research practice that interweaves practice/teaching/research.
One constant in the narrative of my work is to give voice to the unheard and empower the marginalised. I therefore focus on:
- Participatory, multi-sensory and immersive research, in particular through arts-based approaches, material and physical representations and metaphors
- Student experiences and learning
- Teacher education and development in the primary, secondary and tertiary sector
- Identity and identity construction in general, but more specifically in higher education including the identities of those in precarious positions and with disabilities and/or chronic conditions
- The performative and communicative role of the body
My most notable publications
Brown, N. (to be published in 2023). Photovoice Reimagined. Bristol: Policy Press.
Brown, N. (2021). Making the Most of Your Research Journal. Bristol: Policy Press.
Leigh, J. S. & Brown, N. (2021). Embodied Inquiry: Research Methods. London: Bloomsbury.
Brown, N., Ince, A., & Ramlackhan K. (to be published in 2024). Creativity in Education: International Perspectives. London: UCL Press.
Brown, N. (ed.) (2021). Lived Experiences of Ableism in Academia: Strategies for Inclusion in Higher Education. Bristol: Policy Press.
Brown, N. (2022). Research ethics in a changing social sciences landscape. Research Ethics. DOI: 10.1177/17470161221141011.
Brown, N. & Ramlackhan, K. (2021). Experiences of ableism in academia: A constructivist inquiry. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education Research. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-021-00739-y.
Brown, N. (2021). Scope and Continuum of Participatory Research. International Journal of Research and Method in Education. DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2021.1902980.
Brown, N. (2019). Identity boxes: using materials and metaphors to elicit experiences. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 22(5), 487-501. DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2019.1590894.
Brown, N. (2019). Partnership in learning: how staff-student collaboration can innovate teaching. European Journal of Teacher Education, 42(5), 608-620. DOI: 10.1080/02619768.2019.1652905.
Selected book chapters
Brown, N. (2022). “It is…, it stands for…, it shows…”: arts-based representations in data generation and analysis. In: Hinsliff-Smith, K., McGarry, J., & Ali, P. (eds.). SmitArts Based Health Care Research: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. SpringerNature.
Brown, N., & Morgan, C. (2021). Rhythmanalysis as a method to account for time in qualitative research. In: Clift, B.C., Gore, J., Gustafsson, S., Bekker, S., & Batlle, I. C. (eds.). Temporality in Qualitative Inquiry: Theories, Methods, and Practices. Routledge. 111-126.
Selected open educational resources
Brown, N. (2022). Doing “fieldwork” in the virtual space. SAGE research methods. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781529605853
Brown, N. (2021). Introduction to qualitative research. Moodle materials: https://open-education-repository.ucl.ac.uk/581/
Brown, N. & Janssen, R. (2019). Workshop materials for the preventing plagiarism workshop: https://open-education-repository.ucl.ac.uk//567/