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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Research Projects

Dr Mandy Powell, PhD (Communication, Media & Culture), BA (English Studies) PG Diploma (Professional Education)

Research Associate in the Department of Sociology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41486
Room number: Room 101, 30 Old Elvet

Contact Dr Mandy Powell (email at

Affiliate of the Durham University Evidence Centre for Education


The main focus of my work is social inequalities and attainment in education and work. I've taught and researched in the fields of education, media, communications and culture. Prior to joining Durham Sociology, I was a Research Fellow in Media, Communications and Performing Arts at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

I've worked on several externally funded research projects including two on media literacy funded by large ESRC grants and led by Professor David Buckingham at the Institute Education, UCL in London from 2009-2012 (RES-062-23-1292) and in the School of Social, Geographical and Political Science at the University of Loughborough in 2012 (ES/J010308/1). Since joining Durham Sociology I've completed two research projects on contextualised admissions in universities in Scotland and England with Professor Vikki Boliver funded by the Scottish Funding Council and the Sutton Trust respectively.

I'm currently working as a Co-Investigator with Professor Vikki Boliver on fair admissions policies and practices in universities in England funded by the Nuffield Foundation.

Research Projects

  • Mapping and evaluating the use of contextual data in undergraduate admissions in Scotland

Research Interests

  • Social inequalities
  • Admissions systems in Higher Education
  • Recognising merit and potential in education
  • Diversity in the creative industries
  • Policy sociology
  • Professional knowledges and practices
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Mixed methods research


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • L'Etang, J. & Powell, M. (2013). Wanted: A Community of Practice for Senior Public Relations Practitioners. Thought Leadership Series


Working Paper

  • L'Etang, J. & Powell, M. (2013). Accessing PR expertise: methodological considerations.

Selected Grants

  • 2017: Fair admission to universities in England: Understanding and improving policy and practice (£169245.00 from Nuffield Foundation)
  • 2017: Fair admission to universities in England: understanding and improving policy and practice. Nuffield Foundation. EDU/42852. £169,245
  • 2017: The use of contextual data by Sutton Trust Universities. Sutton Trust. £14,932
  • 2015: Mapping and evaluating the use of contextual data in undergraduate admissions in Scotland. Scottish Funding Council: Impact for Access. £158,282
  • 2013: Understanding 'senior' professional identity in public relations practices. Chartered Institute for Public Relations. £14,000
  • 2012: Developing media literacy: from research to practice. ESRC. ES/J010308/1. £99,363.42
  • 2009: Developing media literacy: towards a model of learning progression. ESRC. RES-062-23-1292. £645,012.65