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About us


The Birkbeck Institute for Social Research (BISR) aims to support and connect social researchers at Birkbeck to amplify interdisciplinary, innovative, and publicly engaged social research at Birkbeck and to engage with scholars and the public on issues of significant public interest.

The Institute plays an active role in promoting social research to a wide range of publics within London; encouraging cross-disciplinary debate, critical thinking and the stimulation of new research agendas on important social issues.

Our activities include seminars, conferences, symposia, thematic groups and other academic events related to members' core interests. We invite many distinguished visiting speakers to the College each year, and we also organise workshops and seminars that contribute to extending and enhancing methodological expertise and innovation in social research. Recordings of many of our events are available as podcasts, ensuring that many thousands of people who are not able to attend can experience some of the vibrancy of academic life at Birkbeck.

We work within and across the disciplines of sociology, geography, politics, history, law, applied linguistics, communication and media studies, anthropology, education and social policy, and we have particularly strong commitments to the transdisciplinary fields of psychosocial studies, gender, sexuality and queer studies, development and post-colonial studies.

While the BISR is committed to supporting critically engaged research and practice, it does not impose an overarching research agenda or particular themes that drive its activity. It aims, rather, to identify and amplify interdisciplinary and collaborative research priorities and trajectories that emerge from the academic community across the College.


  • Director, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research: Professor Karen Wells, Geography
  • Manager, Birkbeck Institute for Social Research: Lou Miller