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Culture and Social Psychology Research Collaboration

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Culture and Social Psychology Research Collaboration (CuSP)

Culture and Social Psychology Research Collaboration (CuSP) is a new academic grouping based in the membership of the Social Psychology Research Group (SPRG) and the former CCIG Psychosocial Research Programme. The acronym was chosen because the word ‘cusp’ designates a point of transition between two states (and hence also, geometrically, the pointed end where two curves meet). As such, it expresses the idea of a process of becoming in which something new is emerging, but has not yet become fully determinate or recognised. Our research in CuSP takes forward this idea in two senses.

First, in terms of our substantive interests we focus our social psychological research upon occasions of social transition, personal transformation and emergent and contested cultural and political issues. CuSP research provides new empirical insight into real-world issues in a changing society, including changing gendered, religious, sexual and political subjectivities in concrete contexts (such as changing work environments, movement across national boundaries, everyday responses to political issues like Brexit, practices of self-governance in the health sphere, and many more).

Second, we think of social psychology itself as ‘on the cusp’ of emergence rather than as an already settled discipline. We explore emergent forms of social psychological practice, including novel methods and theoretical perspectives that can grapple with embodied and socially embedded realities-in-process. We engage with social psychology beyond the classic experimental model, grappling with discursive psychology, social identities and representations, critical psychology, socio-cultural psychology, phenomenological and feminist psychology, each of which gives a new centrality to the concept of culture as core to human experience, interaction, power and development.

Research projects we have been working on

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Children Caring on the Move (Sarah Crafter)

The Children Caring on the Move (CCoM) project explores separated child migrants’ experiences of care, and caring for others, as they navigate the complexities of the immigration-welfare nexus in England. The project sits against the backdrop of rising numbers of children who have been separated from primary carers during migration and conflicting state rhetoric: protecting children on the one hand and immigration control on the other. ‘Care’ is ambiguous in this context because children may receive care because of their ‘child’ status or be excluded from provision because of their ‘migrant’ status. CCoM starts from the premise that care is not necessarily limited to that provided by an adult or the state, but can be provided by separated children themselves.

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Empowering Young Language Brokers for Inclusion in Diversity (Sarah Crafter)

EYLBID (2020-2021) is a strategic partnership of 5 higher education institutions and one social enterprise. It focuses on one of the European horizontal priorities: social inclusion. Particularly, it focuses on linguistic and intercultural mediation and interpreting performed by teenagers. In the UK, Professor Crafter will be working with local schools to developing tools and resources to help young child language brokers (young interpreters) and those educators who work with them, through the use of an interactive video game.


This project began when a group of CuSP researchers received British Psychological Society (BPS) funding for a seminar series on the social psychology of Brexit. In this project we approach both Brexit and a social psychology of Brexit as emergent forms. We combine analyses of everyday political understandings with theoretical and methodological suggestions about how a future social psychology might better engage with such questions of emergence, and with a focus on contemporary ‘affective politics’.

Networking Families (Lisa Lazard and Rose.Capdevila)

This project takes a critical psychological perspective to examining the phenomenon of social media practices through the lens of gender and relationships.

Creative Work and the Digital Economy: Enabling EU Integration via Cross-national Creative Working between the EU, UK, Russia and Australia (Stephanie Taylor)

This project is funded by an Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Project grant awarded to the Hawke EU Centre at the University of South Australia. As part of the project, Susan Luckman and Stephanie Taylor co-organised a workshop in Dublin in April 2019 and are now preparing an edited collection ‘Hope, uncertainty and creative aspiration: pathways into work in a global sector’ with chapters contributed by academics in Australia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the UK. The particular research interest in this project is in what it means for people to ‘become workers’ in circumstances in which many of the traditional features of work have disappeared: employment is uncertain, people often work freelance or running their own businesses, digital innovation is producing new jobs and new ways of doing them, and the old 9-5 routines which separated work and private time have largely disappeared.

Narratives of ADHD (Paul Stenner)

This project is funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Grant award. It is a one-year project that began in April 2015. Taking a qualitative, discursive approach to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder the focus is on the narratives of women in the UK who have either a formal, or self defined, diagnosis of ADHD. The most recent publication from this project is Adult Women and ADHD: on the temporal dimensions of ADHD identities on Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour.

Young adults and religion (YARG) (Paul Stenner)

The YARG project is looking at how religion appears to young adults in a global context.

The Art of Relationships (Darren Langdridge)

The Art of Relationships has been designed to explore the power of art (in the form of a film series) to engage members of the public with social science research. It brings together cutting-edge OU research on relationships with digital art in an innovative manner.

The Belfast Mobility Project (John Dixon)

This project used a unique, mixed methods approach to describing and explaining patterns of activity space segregation in the historically divided city of Belfast

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Child Language Brokering (Sarah Crafter)

The ‘Child Language Brokering: Spaces of identity belonging and mediators of cultural knowledge’ project investigates the practices of young interpreters.