About

Dr Carin Tunåker is a lecturer in Social Work, specialising in homelessness and inequalities. She is a Social Anthropologist and ethnographer, with experience in working with local communities and disadvantaged populations. Following her PhD in Social Anthropology she worked as an area manager in supported housing for homeless youth, before returning to academia for a role as post-doctoral researcher for the University of Kent’s institutional Athena Swan team. She has taught modules in Social Anthropology, Social Work, Law and Criminology. 

Research interests

Dr Tunåker’s current research focusses on intersectional disadvantages in homelessness in the UK. She collaborates with homelessness scholars internationally, particularly leading and progressing research in the field of LGBTQ+ homelessness. She is currently editor and contributor to a forthcoming special issue in Housing Studies on this topic, which will be the first international collaboration of its kind for this subject. Currently, she is working on a project on rural homelessness (with Professor Helen Carr), funded by major UK homelessness charities, where an intersectional lens will be applied to causation and experiences of homelessness in the countryside.

Dr Tunåker is an experienced ethnographer, with interests in virtual ethnography, urban sketching and visual methodologies, including film and photography. She recently completed a project with the Centre for Ethnographic Research (with Dr Dawn Lyon and Prof Dimitrios Theodossopoulos) regarding power and decision-making in disadvantaged local communities. This project utilised virtual ethnography and produced a graphic comic  (in collaboration with Charlotte Bailey) as one of the project outcomes.  

Previously, Dr Tunåker has completed research regarding gender inequalities in Higher Education (Athena Swan), as well as examining gender in religious practice in Cuba (MA). She is a member of the Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster, Centre for Studies of Social and Political Movements, Centre for Ethnographic Research and Civil Society Research Cluster. She was also founder and director of the Home and Sexuality Research Network (2013-2017). 

Teaching

Previously Dr Tunåker led seminars in Social Anthropology, Violence and Conflict in the Contemporary World, Visual Anthropology, the Anthropology of Business and Crime and Society. She has also taught the VALUE programme in Social Anthropology and been a guest lecturer in the Anthropology of Relations as well as for Kent and Medway Medical School on the topic of ‘care’.

Current modules:

Undergraduate

  • Social Work with Adults – SOCI7240 and SWKX5005
  • Critical and Reflective Practice – SWKX6002
  • Sociological Perspectives for Social Work – SWKX4007
  • Lifespan Development – SWKX4003
  • Making Sense of Mental Health – SWKX5004
  • Values, Ethics and Diversity – SWKX4008
  • Homelessness Policy and Law – LAWS6460  

Postgraduate

  • Social Work with Adults and Mental Health Issues – SOCI8970 
  • Supervision of MA dissertation students for the MA Social Work programme

Professional

Dr Tunåker is highly invested in public engagement in the local area. Following her doctoral research into LGBTQ+ youth homelessness in Kent, she spent years advocating for a building a new service for LGBTQ+ young people together with local charity Porchlight, resulting in the NHS funded Kent-wide service The BeYou Project. She now acts as consultant for the project. She is also an elected chair of the local charity The Rising Sun Domestic Violence and Abuse service, and a member of the NHS Sexual Health advisory group.

At the University of Kent, Dr Tunåker has been actively involved in promoting EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion). She was a part of the Task and Finish group for restructure of EDI at institutional level and currently sits on the EDI strategy group. She is also a co-chair for the LGBTQ+ Staff Network and founder and chair of the Women’s Researcher Network (WReN). 

She has presented her work at numerous national and international conferences, including the American Anthropological Association (AAA), European Association for Social Anthropologist (EASA), Homeless Link and National Housing Federation (NHF) as well as organised conferences, such as a local webinar on ‘Ending Homelessness in Kent and Medway’, for the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) and for the LGBTQ+ staff network. She isa peer reviewer for the journal ‘Social Inclusion’, ‘Housing Studies’, and ‘Qualitative Methods’. She has carried out various consultancy work regarding LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, for example for BBC, NHF and Children and Young People Now.

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