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Liz Cunningham

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Lecturer in Health and Social Inequalities, BSc (Hons) Health, Wellbeing and Care in Society

I joined the University in 2018. I have worked in higher education for more than 20 years as a researcher and lecturer. I previously taught at the University of Brighton in the School of Applied Social Sciences and the University of Sussex in the School of Cultural and Community Studies where I completed my MA in Applied Policy Studies. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Authority.

My professional experience before joining academia was in the international development field. Previous to this I worked in the private and charitable sectors in the UK. My work overseas was primarily in South East Asia (Cambodia and Vietnam) helping to develop local non-governmental organisations and administering large bilateral aid projects. I also jointly coordinated a British Council-funded project to support the Royal University of Phnom Penh's development of its psychology provision at master's level and coordinated an Erasmus exchange programme with the University of Naples, Italy.

Teaching and supervision

I teach:

I am module leader for:

  • CHS301 – Work-Based Research Project
  • HSC309 – Community Level Interventions: Health, Wellbeing and Social Change
  • SSCM27 – Mind, Body and Health Inequalities

I also supervise undergraduate students on the Dissertation module and postgraduate students on the SSCM26 Inequality and Society Dissertation module.

I am a Personal Academic Tutor for students on Health, Wellbeing and Care in Society.

I was the External Examiner on the BA (Hons) Community, Public Health and Social Care top-up degree at Calderdale College (2021–2022).


I have researched and published on the following:

  • The role of psychology in Cambodia
  • Building participation in squatter communities in Cambodia
  • Problematic personal debt in the UK
  • Young people's experiences, views and preferences regarding school-based sexual health
  • The teaching of activism and social justice to students in higher education

    I started a Professional Doctorate in the School of Nursing and Health Studies here at the University of Sunderland in 2023. My focus for this work is researcher identity in relation to participatory and collaborative research practice. 


Number of items: 8.


Aranda, Kay, Coleman, Lester, Sherriff, Nigel S, Cocking, Chris, Zeeman, Laetitia and Cunningham, Liz (2018) Listening for commissioning: A participatory study exploring young people's experiences, views and preferences of school-based sexual health and school nursing. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27 (1-2). pp. 375-385. ISSN 0962-1067

Walker, Carl, Hanna, Paul, Cunningham, Liz and Ambrose, Peter (2015) Parasitic encounters in debt: The UK mainstream credit industry. Theory & Psychology, 25 (2). pp. 239-256. ISSN 0959-3543

Walker, Carl, Hanna, Paul, Cunningham, Liz and Ambrose, Peter (2014) ‘A Kind of mental warfare’: An economy of affect in the UK debt collection industry. The Australian Community Psychologist, 26 (2). pp. 54-67. ISSN 1835-7393

Cunningham, Liz (2011) Promuovere la partecipazione: esperienza in una comunita Squatter in Phnom Penh. Psicologia di Comunita, VII (2). pp. 69-79. ISSN 1827-5249

Book Section

Johnson, Helen and Cunningham, Liz (2022) The Day of Social Justice: A Creative Approach to Teaching Activism in Higher Education. In: Creative Activism Research, Pedagogy and Practice. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, pp. 199-223. ISBN 978-1-5275-8104-3

Hanna, Paul, Cunningham, Liz and Walker, Carl (2015) The Indebted Individual: Dominant Discourses and Alternative Understandings of Personal Debt in the UK. In: Social and Psychological Dimensions of Personal Debt and the Debt Industry. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 203-221. ISBN 9781137407795

Cunningham, Liz (2012) Developing a Cambodian psychology. In: Community Psychology and the Socio-economics of Mental Distress. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 124-140. ISBN 9780230275416

Reports, briefing/ working papers

Walker, Carl, Cunningham, Liz, Hanna, Paul and Ambrose, Peter (2013) Responsible individuals and irresponsible institutions: a report into mental health and the UK credit industry. Project Report. UNSPECIFIED.

This list was generated on Sat Jul 20 06:20:28 2024 BST.
  • Applied Social Science research with methodological specialisms in qualitative, participatory, and community-based research methods
  • Development of community-based evaluation processes, eg designed and developed the community-based evaluation element of the National Evaluation of the Neighbourhood Wardens scheme (Social Development Direct, for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister)
  • Development of community-based research training and engagement within a university-community partnership framework
  • Working with a social justice/community psychology focus on health and social inequalities
  • President of the European Community Psychology Association (2015-2017)
  • Trustee of the Trust for Developing Communities (2010-2013)
  • Visiting Professor, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Psychology Dept. (2009-2010)

My Orcid ID is: 0000-0002-7215-5381.

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. My work contributes towards the following SDGs:  

SDG1 –  No Poverty
SDG3 –  Good Health and Wellbeing
SDG4 –  Quality Education
SDG5 –  Gender Equality
SDG10 – Reduced Inequalities

Last updated 17 June 2024