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Heather Mew

Project title

Resistance, Protest, and Austerity: How do Working Class People ‘Fight Back’, and Against What?


About you

I am a final year PhD student working across Geography and Sociology. My research is in collaboration with Thrive Teesside, and is funded by the ESRC. 

Project description

My PhD is funded by the ESRC, and conducted in collaboration with Thrive Teesside, an anti-poverty campaigning charity based in the North East of England.

My PhD examines the effectiveness of anti-poverty campaigning as a form of resistance, focusing on Thrive as a case study.

My research is concerned with:

  • the practicalities of anti-poverty campaigning, including strategies used, successes and limitations
  • knowledge production and ownership, and collaborative methods.

I am focussing on three broad themes:

  • Advancing definitions of lived experience. Drawing upon critical pedagogy and decolonial studies, I develop a theoretical framework. This is useful for understanding and examining how lived experience is used as a campaigning tool within the context of Thrive.
  • Relationships between academics and the charitable sector. This includes a focus on extractive research and the usefulness of collaborative and participatory methods. I also reflect on my own methodological practices and failings as part of this PhD.
  • Examining how class and gender impact upon the perceived legitimacy of anti-poverty campaigning and the strategies utilised to gain respectability.

Academic qualifications

  • MA Geographical Research Methods, Durham University 2014-15
  • BA Geography (hons), Queen Mary University of London, 2011-2014


I have presented my PhD research at the following conferences:

  • RGS-IBG Annual Conference, August 2022
  • Working Class Studies Association Annual Conference, 2019
  • The Sociological Review’s Undisciplining Conference, 2018


Eastwood, D. and Mew, H. (2018) ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us, Is For Us’: Reflections on an Undisciplining Workshop. The Sociological Review Blog.

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