Dr Alison Body
Director of Philanthropic Studies
Dr Alison Body is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, and a member of the Centre for Philanthropy. Dr Body started her career in 2001 working in children and youth charities, specialising in early intervention services and advocating for children’s participation rights. Her experience includes leading a large children’s charity, strategic development of the third sector, fundraising and volunteer management. In 2008, she joined Kent County Council as a senior Commissioner of early intervention services. Driven by these experiences, she completed her PhD at Kent in 2016, exploring the relationship between children’s charities and the State. After working at Canterbury Christ Church University between 2015-2017 as a Faculty Director in the School of Childhood and Education Sciences, Alison joined the University of Kent in January 2019.
Dr Body has written numerous research articles and reports exploring philanthropy and the third sector, particularly in relation to children, young people and education. Interested in the intersection between the third sector and state, publications cover topics such as youth participation, voluntary action in primary education, fundraising in schools, co-production of public services and most recently children’s perceptions and experiences of charity and charitable giving. Her first book, ‘Children and Charities: A Decade of Change’, explored the impact of austerity on children’s charities, whilst her forthcoming book, due in 2024, ‘Children as Change Makers: Unleashing Children's Philanthropic Power’, explores the role of civil society in cultivating children’s philanthropic behaviours.
Dr Body has formerly held multiple trustee positions within children’s charities and as a school governor. She is currently a director of the voluntary organisation Led by the Wild CiC, a trustee of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network and primary school governor.
Dr Body strongly believes in bringing together research and practice, and regularly speaks at charity sector, education and public-sector events. She contributes to discussions around state funding, philanthropy in public sector services and charitable giving, in a range of media outlets.
Dr Body’s research interests focus on philanthropy and the third sector, mostly in relation to children, young people and education. She is particularly interested in participative research methods, children’s rights and the coproduction of research of research with children, young people and communities. She is currently leading a three year Economic and Social Research Council project (2022 – 2025) titled ‘Educating for Public Good’.
She works within the Centre for Philanthropy, which explores philanthropic activities, social patterns of giving and the redistributive impact of transfers from private wealth to the public good. She has a particular interest in the impact of philanthropy on education and children’s services, and how children and young people ‘learn to give’.
Dr Body teaches on the MA in Philanthropy, covering all topics relating to philanthropy, fundraising, volunteering and social research methods.
Dr Body also teaches undergraduate student philanthropy modules and supervises undergraduate and Master's dissertations on a range of topics, often related to charities, philanthropy, education and the voluntary sector.
Dr Body is particularly interested in PhD candidates who wish to explore the intersection between the state and third sector, philanthropy in public services, philanthropy in education and/or those who wish to research with children and young people.
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