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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Dr Cristina Costa, Ph.D

Personal web page

Assistant Professor in the School of Education

Contact Dr Cristina Costa (email at


I am an academic with a strong interest in educational and digital practices and inequalities. I am particularly interested in exploring – both in my research and in my teaching - the intersection of education and emergent social phenomena through different social theory lenses. I have conducted research on widening participation, digital literacies and digital inequalities, curriculum innovation and digital scholarship practices in the last few years. For example, I was the UK co-coordinator of the ERASMUS+ project Digital Literacy and Inclusion of Learners from Disadvantaged Background. (2015-2017). I also worked on different projects regarding Estranged Students’ Experiences of Higher Education with Professor Yvette Taylor.

I am currently working on a project entitled From on-campus to online: International students returning to academia in the context of COVID-19 with Dr Huaping Li (Shanghai Normal University), funded by BA/Leverhulme Small Grants.

I have also started a research project with Dr Ana Lúcia Pereira that aims to explore students' and academics' digital pedagogical practices and wellbeing in Brazil: Higher Education interrupted: exploring the challenges covid-19 poses to students and academic staff in Brazil . 

I have supervised PGR students in a wide range of areas, including digital literacies and digital practices, internationalisation of curriculum, estranged students, gendered practices, etc.

I currently convene the PGT modules Digital Technologies and Education and Critical perspectives in Education. I also teach on the UG module Higher Education: Issues of Exclusion and Inclusion.

I serve as Programme Director (student experience) for the Master's in Education programme (2020 - ).

I am co-editor of the Social Theory Applied blog/website and act as co-convenor of both the BSA study group ‘Digital Sociology’ and BERA Social Theory and Education SIG

You can find me on Twitter as @cristinacost

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Information for Prospective Doctoral Research Student Supervisions

I would be pleased to work with students interested in pursuing research in areas of inquiry related to student experience, widening participation, educational and/or digital inequalities, curriculum innovation, critical digital practices and literacies, internationalisation and globalisation of education. I also have a strong interest in working with students wishing to engage with social theories as part of their research projects.

Indicators of Esteem

  • External Examining:

    I often examine Ph.D and Ed.D theses at different British universities. I have also served as an examiner for Ph.D theses and Master’s dissertations in mainland Europe (Portugal and Spain) and Brazil.

  • Invited Talks:



    • Guest Speaker: Addressing the policy issues surrounding estranged students in higher education. Stand Alone Event on Estranged Students for the Scottish Parliament.(September 2019)

    • Guest Speaker: Hybrid social theory and education research: working with conceptual interdisciplinary. BERA Social Theory SIG (July 2019)

    • Keynote Speaker: The impact and influence of digital cultures on curriculum design. Congresso Internacional de Ensino – CONIEN. State University of the North of Parana, Brazil. (May, 2019)

    • Keynote Speaker: Curriculum Innovation and Digital Participatory Practices. Aula Magna. State University of Ponta Grosssa, Brazil. (May 2019)

    • Invited Workshop: The application of social theory to educational research. State University of Ponta Grosssa, Brazil. (May 2019)

    • Guest Speaker: The experiences of estranged students in the strange space of academia. University of Bristol, UK. (March 2019)

    • Guest Speaker: Digital scholars: A feeling for the academic game. University of Strathclyde – Research Seminar Sessions (March 2019)

  • Peer reviewing:
    • Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
    • Critical Studies in Education
    • International Journal of Lifelong Education

    Editorial Board Member of The Curriculum Journal; International Studies in Sociology of Education; International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education (ETHE)

    Editorial Board Member Book Series Social Theory and Methodology in Education Research, Bloomsbury Publishing

    Co-Covenor of the BERA Social Theory and Education SIG and the BSA study group ‘Digital Sociology


Research Interests

  • Critical Digital Literacies
  • Digital Practices
  • Digital Scholarship Practices
  • Educational and Digital Inequalities
  • Higher Education
  • Social Theory
  • Student/ Family Estrangement
  • Widening Participation

Research Groups

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Edited book

Chapter in book

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


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