photo of Fidelma Hanrahan

Dr Fidelma Hanrahan

Post:Associate (School of Education and Social Work)
Location:ESSEX HOUSE EH 116

Telephone numbers
Internal:7698 or 7210
UK:01273 877698 or 01273 877210
International:+44 1273 877698 or +44 1273 877210
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Originally from Dublin, Fidelma moved to Brighton in 2009 to pursue a masters in Foundations of Clinical Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Sussex (2009-2010), following the completion of a HDip in Psychology at University College Dublin (2007-2009).

In 2014 she completed a three year programme of research as a DPhil student under the supervision of Prof Robin Banerjee and Prof Rupert Brown. Since 2014 she has held Research Fellow roles on two University of Sussex CIRCY projects: Beating the Odds — a project based in the CRESS Lab in the School of Psychology  and Against All Odds? a project based in the School of Education and Social Work.


Fidelma is Research Fellow on an international research project - Against All Odds? - which is funded by the Norwegian Research Council. In this role she works with Prof Janet Boddy from the Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY) at the University of Sussex, as well as with researchers from NOVA in Norway - a research institute focusing on studies in childhood, social policy and the welfare state, and VIVE in Denmark - the Danish national centre for social research. This research aims to challenge negative perceptions of the lives of young people and adults who have been in care, and build positive understandings of their experiences. A particular focus of the research is to find out what 'doing well' means to young people and adults who are, or have previously been, in care, and who are also in either education, training or employment.

From May 2014 to August 2018 Fidelma was also Research Fellow on Beating the Odds  a research project co-funded by The Hollick Family Charitable Trust and an alumnus of the University of Sussex. This project was based in the CRESS Lab in the School of Psychology and was led by Prof Robin Banerjee. This research aimed to explore, understand, and evaluate the impact of involvement in creative arts projects for young people across the South East, including those who are vulnerable or socially excluded, using mixed methods. The project involved close work with multiple arts organisations and creative arts projects including those using dance, drama, music, photography, and multiple-arts approaches. Our partners so far include GlyndebourneMiss Represented (Brighton Dome); Modelling Change (Thames Valley Partnership); AudioActive; Towner Gallery; and Act On It

As part of this role with Beating the Odds, Fidelma also collaborated with Brighton & Hove City Council's Early Help services to identify psychosocial needs and track progress of young people over a period of 18 months.

Beating the Odds built on a successful pilot phase of work in 2014 (funded by Brighton & Hove City Council and Artswork). Central to this pilot phase was an investigation of the psychosocial processes involved in interventions to support at-risk youths in Brighton & Hove, with a particular focus on the Stronger Families Stronger Communities work of the Council and creative arts interventions run by the Brighton Dome and AudioActive.

Fidelma completed her doctoral research with the School of Psychology, at the University of Sussex in December 2013. This research was part-funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and examined the socio-motivational factors underpinning the experiences of young people described as ‘disaffected’, as well as the potential role these factors play in the success of arts-based programmes that support such youths. 


2010 - 2013           DPhil Psychology, University of Sussex 

2009 - 2010           MSc (with Distinction) Foundations of Clinical Psychology and Mental Health, University of Sussex

2007 - 2009           HDip (with First Class Honours) in Psychology, University College Dublin, Ireland

2001 - 2005           BA English Studies (with 2:1 Hons), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland